5 Things I've Learned As An Aspiring Entrepreneur
It's been a long journey on this road towards entreprenuership, but I wanted to share a few key things I have learned along the way.
1. Accept constructive criticism.
My favorite thing to do with clients, and at interviews is to ask how well I am doing and if they have any advice for my future. It helps me stay on top of my game, gives me a new perspective and makes me aware of areas I can touch up on. Ask your clients, mentors, business partners, customers and so on if they like what you do and how you do it. There are always opportunities to improve, no matter how good you get with what you’re doing. Plus, it always feels good to hear how well you’re doing when you’ve been working hard. Criticism that comes with no solution is just that, criticism. If there is no solution or advice for improvement being offered ask for it. Know how to use your discernment and experience to weed out what you need, what you don’t, what’s good for you, and what does not work.
2. Ask for help, but give them something to work with.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. You might want to do it all, but sometimes you really do just need some assistance along the way. You may need some financial assistance, or mentorship for guidance on your journey to becoming the CEO of your own fortune 500 company someday. Whatever it is, you have to let there be some representation of your hard work to make it worth the assistance. Ask, have I tried to help myself? Am I putting in all the effort I can? Have I at least accomplished some of my smaller goals? You have no idea how much you can get done on your own if you just try. Save some of that pitching for when you really need it, and for a time when you can really show what you’re working with. It’ll give whoever your seeking out a little more incentive to give you a leg up.
3. When you go into an interview, don’t tell your potential employer your dreams.
That sounds a little harsh, and maybe I am being a little dramatic. However, this is something I had to learn that has proven true time and time again. I thought that by sharing my aspirations to one day own a business would show that I’m self-motived and driven to succeed, but I was kind of wrong. Employers want to know you’re in it for the long-haul, and by the long-haul I mean forever. They don’t want to know what your future goals are unless that involves you being with the company. They cannot be a stepping stone towards any other goals, except a promotion within that company. Will they be impressed? Yes! Will they let you know that your resume and representation of yourself is impeccable? Yes! But! They will also let you know they are not hiring you because you have million dollar dreams that does not involve you being a small fry in their big corporate world. Or you may not hear from them again because they have chosen a “more qualified” candidate. I’ve been lucky enough to have hiring managers be transparent with me, but some are not so honest. If you're looking for something to do so you can earn money to support yourself and your future dreams, it might be better to leave out what those dreams actually are.
4. Don’t quit your day job.
I mean that in a very literal sense. Unless you have a very supportive family member who is willing to give you some financial stability, it might be better to keep your day gig going. Make sure it’s at least something you enjoy enough to do for a while until you can bring enough income in to support yourself. If you have bills, your own place, a car to maintain and a laundry list of other things that need your financial attention; consider it. People love to glamourize the struggling artist archetype, but it truly is hard out here in these creative entrepreneurship streets. Feed yourself, keep the lights on, get your nails done and keep your day gig. Just don’t get complacent! Remember what your long-term goals are and keep striving for them.
5. Don’t slow down when your life speeds up.
Being an entrepreneur means you do not get to clock out, even when you clock out from your day job. Before you go to sleep and when you wake up, you should always be thinking of your pride and joy; your business. Guess what? If you aren’t thinking about it, no one else will. If you’re not talking about it, no one else will. No one else is going to rally around, believe and push your business forward if you don’t set the foundation for that kind of support. You may see other businesses flourishing, but you don’t get to see them when they are where you are right now. Keep up the momentum no matter what is going, because you’ll never get to see the fruits of your labor if you keep forgetting to water the roots.