When I first went into business, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what I was in for. I grew up in a business environment, and I had been in the working world for over ten years. But something that nobody ever told me (and I wish they would) is this:
When You Go Into Business For Yourself You Are an Army. An Army of One
The following need to be done with vigilance, and without exception:
You need to train like hell all of the time to stay on top of your game. Knowing the latest trends, technology, direction of economy, books, articles, software and hardware are essential to your survival.
Hone Your Skills
Because you need to “know everything”, it will be important to zero in on your speciality, or niche, early on. You will be the leader in your area, and people will come to you for your help and advice.
Recognize Your Enemy
This is difficult. Because just like in the movies where there are moles or secret agents, people that you may originally trust could turn out to be your enemy. Be on guard at all times, and be ready to pull the plug if a client, employee, co-worker, or another colleague has it in for you. Always keep a watchful eye.
I am one of the nicest people, but I am not afraid to make enemies. Enemies try to take advantage of you, your time, your rates, your skills. People that want to take from you Are Your Enemies. Put them in their place and move on.
It may be that you are not up against an enemy, you just did not make yourself clear, and define your boundaries. Tell others what you want, and stand your ground. If you can compromise on an agreement, make sure some aspect of it still is of benefit for you, or it is not a negotiation. Get everything in writing and signed.
Your main job is to make quick decisions if people are going to help you or hurt you. Navigation is your full time job, you need to move to where the money is, keep a watch on opportunity, and always watch your own back.
Find Your Way Out of the Jungle
It is your job to get from start-up to a successful business. You have to find your way, every single day. Look for resources, other business owner friends, networking colleagues to form alliances with, and coaches or consultants to help you along. The conditions can be brutal, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Get Back to Base
Remember the reason you signed up for this. Keep that idea in mind Every Single Day. Get your mindset on getting back to base, or your base reason for starting this to begin with. Commit to the journey, focus on success, and don’t ever stop believing in yourself, even when the conditions look dire.
Business can feel like a battleground – Every – Single – Day. Make sure that you have a schedule, and a plan to keep you on track so that you don’t let the hangups get you down. People will be mean to you. They will backstab you. They will not pay your bill. They will lie. Men will downgrade you, disrespect you, or try to date you to get free advice.
Build a wall of warriors – other women that you know that put themselves at risk on a regular basis, and help each other out. Share business, referrals, and send each other good business clients. We all need to stick together, because, it’s a battlefield out there!
Share your war stories below: