Keys for Success for Entrepreneurs — 3 Roadblocks to Avoid!
As most of you know, Live It Forward LLC provides several services. First, I do a lot of keynote and seminar speaking, primarily in the youth and educators market. Even though these services are listed on a different website, they are technically part of my Live It Forward business. Second, we host a lot of teleseminars and live conferences like the Speak It Forward Boot Camp. Third, one of the primary services we provide is individual life and career coaching. Every few months, I work with 3-4 clients helping them discover their vocational calling, map out their life plan, and create a strategic, step-by-step implementation plan for making the move to the life and work they love.
Interestingly, during the past few years the number of clients that choose to pursue the entrepreneurial road continues to grow significantly. What’s more, every single one of these clients is hungry to discover the keys to success for entrepreneurs.
If you fall into this crowd, CONGRATS!!!! The entrepreneurial path is exciting, freeing, and an absolute blast! Additionally, if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know I’m passionate about being an entrepreneur myself, and that I’ve written quite a bit about the keys to success for entrepreneurs in past blogs like this one.
But don’t kid yourself, the entrepreneurial road is not only challenging, it can also be frustrating and downright scary. Therefore, if you are considering jumping onto the entrepreneurial path, here are 3 roadblocks you definitely want to avoid. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that one of the keys to success for entrepreneurs is avoiding each of these major roadblocks.
Roadblock #1: Living in a Fantasy Land
This might be the most common roadblock—dreaming, or should I say fantasizing, about what it is like to be your own boss. Sure, working for yourself gives you freedom and flexibility; but let’s get serious for a moment…freedom and flexibility are challenging. As my friend and nationally-known life and career coach Dan Miller says, “If you are going to work for yourself, you MUST be your own, best, task master.” As I’ve found out, “best” is the key word here. Yes, you have more freedom and flexibility, as well as more control of your time. At the same time, you also have to work harder and, at least for the first few years, longer. Even more, the “weight” of working for yourself feels light when things are going smoothly and the revenue is flowing. Yet, when things are challenging and revenue is dripping, the “weight” can feel overwhelming.
So, if you want to be a true entrepreneur, then you need to stop vacationing in “Fantasy Land.” Instead, take a trip to the real world and look at self-employment through crystal-clear lenses. Self-employment is awesome, but it’s also challenging…significantly so…and coming to grips with this reality is one of the keys to success for entrepreneurs.
Roadblock #2: Not Enough “Net” in Your “Work”
Networking is a smoking-hot business term right now. In fact, there are tons of slogans associated with networking, such as:
- “Your net worth is only as big as your network.”
- “Network your way to success!”
- “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”
I know, these sayings can be a bit cheesy, but don’t throw out the nuggets of truth with the Cheese Whiz. Networking is one of the keys to success for entrepreneurs. I’m not talking about attending meetings where the primary objective is to talk about yourself and pass out business cards; I’m talking about authentic, relational connections with other individuals you respect, value, and trust. For instance, how well are you connected with:
- Individuals in your field—experts, competitors, affiliates, and partners?
- People or vendors that provide services you need—IT support, accounting, and legal advise?
- Advisers and supportive friends?
You will need ALL these people if you plan to start your own business and still be in business 12 months later. So if you don’t have a strong “net” in your “work,” start sewing it today. Down the road, you will discover that a solid network is one of the keys to success for entrepreneurs.
Roadblock #3: Working “IN’ Your Business Instead of “ON” Your Business
When starting a small business, you will wear many hats. Let me be more realistic…you will likely wear ALL the hats! This means you’ll be establishing relationships with supplier, marketing and selling products and services, taking and fulfilling customer orders, answering phone calls, dealing with customer complaints, setting up websites, and much, much more. However, if you want to succeed as a small business owner, you have to eventually move from spending all your time working “IN” your business to spending significant chunks of time working “ON” your business. Here are two very practical things you can do from the start to help make this happen:
Write a Solid Business Plan. I am amazed by how many clients I work with that fight me on this step. Not only will writing a business plan help you know where to start and how to start, if done correctly, it will also enable you to forecast where you want your business to be at in a few years and how you plan to staff for growth. Even if you are like me and don’t want full-time employees, you can still forecast what jobs you will contract out.
Give Time Everyday to Growing Your Business. I try to give at least one hour a day, if not two, to what I call “revenue generating initiatives.” Even more, I try to do this first thing in the morning. Instead of answering emails or doing administrative tasks, I spend my most productive hours doing something to grow my business. It might be developing a new product, working on a marketing letter, or calling prospects. This small principle, applied everyday is one of the greatest keys to success for entrepreneurs and has created huge dividends for my business over the long-term.
Wrapping It Up
I hope you realize I could have listed more than 3 entrepreneurial roadblocks. For instance:
- Pricing your products and services too low
- Pricing your products and services too high
- Wrong location
- Taking on too much debt
The point here is not to write about every potential roadblock, but instead to write about 3 of the most common roadblocks with which I have seen many of the coaching clients struggle. What’s more, these roadblocks are more “big picture” than “specific.” What I mean is these are strategic, philosophical, mindset issues that all entrepreneurs must understanding before launching onto the “owning my own business” road. My hope is that if you are pursuing the entrepreneurial path, these thoughts help you succeed along the way!
Travel on, my friends!
If you are interested in finding out more about the life and career coaching Live It Forward provides, click here.