What 10 years of business have taught be about being a successful entrepreneur
I have been working for a bit over 10 years, and I can say for sure that it has been quite a ride. I have learned so many lessons and grown so much, it feels like a lifetime has gone by. Being a successful entrepreneur has is challenges, but it definitely has its rewards. Read on to learn what you need to become a better entrepreneur.
I started working in Advertising. That’s what I studied in college (University of Miami) and that’s were I begun; as an Art Director in one of the coolest ad agencies in the world, Leo Burnett. However, since the moment I began working, I was always pretty clear that it would only be about getting experience there. I knew that I wanted to have my own business and become an entrepreneur. You see, for me, being an entrepreneur meant that I could have it all: freedom to do what I wanted, time to balance my personal life and the opportunity to live my life on my own terms. That was reason enough for me.
So, after only 2 years working in advertising, I quit my job. The opportunity to start my own business sort of presented itself on its own. Since then it has been nonstop growth. I think that a lot of things about being a successful entrepreneur, you learn the hard way. You only know what you don’t want in a client when you go through it. You only learn to value your work when you don’t. You only learn to be brave enough to put yourself out there, when you actually need it for the first time.
There are some things that I wish someone had told be before I embarked on the journey. I was reading Melyssa Griffin’s list of 9 things she has learned from running her own business and got to thinking about what I have learned from mine. Melyssa mentions how important mindset is, and I totally agree with that! In fact, I wrote a whole article on how mindset is so important and has been essential to my success so far. She also mentions how important investing is to your business. That’s another big one for me as well and something I have been applying specially in the last year. Probably one of the most important things she mentions is the importance of bringing value to your clients or readers.
Anyways, I thought about it quite a bit and wanted to give you my own list. Originally I thought I could create a list of 10 things you can do to being a successful entrepreneur, but let’s just say I added 2 bonuses as well (it was hard keeping it down at 10!).
So, I share with you 10 of the best tips I know (because I have live them) for becoming a successful entrepreneur.
You can also download a free checklist that I created for you to follow and become an even better entrepreneur right here:
1. Remember your why
Whenever you lose focus on the craziness that sometimes is part of being an entrepreneur, you have to remember your why. Why did you decide to become a successful entrepreneur in the first place? Why this and not getting a job somewhere? You see, when you remember the reasons why you decided to pursue your passion, it all comes into clear perspective. Having a clear a purpose will drive you forward through the tough times and help you appreciate the great times even more.
2. Defining your brand is essential
One thing I have come to understand more and more over the years is that defining your brand is essential to your success as an entrepreneur. This means that the clearer you are on the value you’re providing and the direction you’re going, the easier it will be to make decisions along the way. It will also give you direction on the best way to communicate with your audience. Knowing your values will determine what you’re willing and not willing to do, and will go as far as defining the services you provide. I talked about defining your brand and how important it is to know your mission, values and understand your audience here.
3. So is understanding your audience
Speaking of your audience, knowing who your target market is, is probably one of the most important elements to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Spend as much time possible as you can getting to know them, understanding them and speaking the same language. This will get you far in business. It’s essential that you answer what their problems are and understanding what is keeping them up at night.
4. Done is better than perfect
There will be times when you will work tirelessly, waiting for when your work is perfect to release it. One thing I have learned over the years is that if you wait for things to be 100% perfect, they will never be launched. So stop that. Just go for it. Launch what you have and then make adjustments along the way. Nothing is ever perfect and if you wait for it to be until you do something, you will never get to it. Plus, it will become perfect as it evolves and improves along the way.
5. You need to teach others about why they need you
You might have the best service in the whole world. It might be absolutely obvious to you why people need to hire you. Unfortunately, it’s rarely the case that it’s so obvious to your target audience. This means that you need to teach them. You need to be super clear in making others understand why they need what you’re selling. I’m not talking about why they need you specifically, but why they need your services in their lives and how they will make their lives even better. Sometimes, you have to create a need for people.
6. Focus on solutions
This is probably one of the most important lessons I have learned in business. Nobody really cares about what you do. What they care about is themselves, and they will buy from you once they believe that you will he able to solve whatever problem they have. For you this means that you need to focus on solutions instead of on how incredible YOU are. It’s not about you, it’s about them. For me this meant that instead of constantly talking about my services and what I do, I started communicating what I did for others. So, instead of saying I design logos and websites, I now say that I create unique brands that attract. Notice the difference?
7. Never underestimate the power branding
This is something that I have learned through my business and my clients’ as well. Looking good in business will get you really far. Having a logo and website that look professional will give you credibility and build trust and it will no-doubtedly make you stand out. Remember that in the end, what’s important is being able to differentiate your brand so that you can build recognition. Branding, a great logo and an incredible website will do that. You want to know something that people remember me by? My business cards. Apart from being great quality material, my logo is clear and they’re super colorful and whenever I give them out it’s always a topic a conversation.
8. In order to win big you have to play big
This is a lesson I have learned especially this last year. Playing big means making the right investments. Being afraid and playing small will only keep you small. To become a successful entrepreneur you have to recognize the areas where you need to go for it. Have a bad website? Invest in one that will get you sales while you sleep. Need help in marketing? Hire I coach (I did this year). Feeling like fear is getting in the way of you achieving your goals? Change your mindset (I did by reading this amazing book) . This year only I have invested in 10 courses and 3 coaching programs, and I realize now that the more money I invest in my business, the more money I end up making!
9. Have a support system
I don’t know what your business looks like, but for me, I was a one-woman show (aka a solopreneur) for many, many years. And while it’s important that we know a bit of everything, I also think that what we’re not experts at, we can delegate. You see, your focus should only be at creating or doing what you do best. You don’t have to do your website, program social media, do your own Facebook ads and keep track of finances. There will come a point when you realize that having a support system to which you can delegate non-essential tasks will be one of the best decisions you can make. You see, being a successful entrepreneur is all about delegating and focusing on your passion, being more productive and staying in consistent creative action. In order to be in that action, you need time! This is why a team is so important!
10. There´s always room for improvement
I look back a few months ago when I felt like I was done with my website and I can’t help but laugh a little. You see, in the past 6 months my business has evolved like crazy. I mentioned before how I increased my income by 1000% in the last 6 months, and you can bet that for that to occur I was changing and trying new things. This means that my website and communication have changed quite a few times this year. You see, there’s always something new you can learn. If you’re not learning and growing in your business, it’s only a matter of time for you to become irrelevant. Our world moves incredibly fast, and you will be constantly tweaking and adjusting in order to setup strategies for your business. And when you think you’re done, you will find something else to tweak. It’s all about growth.
11. Being consistent goes a long way
Every Thursday for the past 3 months I do a Facebook live talking in detail about the article I wrote about that day. That means that yesterday I talked about tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur. Some Thursdays I get a lot of viewers. Other days it’s only 1 person seeing me live. No matter what, every Thursday I am there. And while it might seem ridiculous, it’s all about being consistent and building my brand. You see, being consistent doing what you have to do will get you really far. It means setting yourself up for success. It means standing out as an expert. You can bet that whenever that one person that saw me live a few Thursdays ago on Facebook needs help in terms of branding, whether they need to hire someone to design an amazing logo or build a beautiful website, they will think of me. That’s what consistency is all about.
12. Share the real you
Finally, one of the most important lessons I have learned over the years is that the more you you share, the more you will connect with others. You see, people in the end want to feel like you understand them and that you can describe their situation even better than them. I learned sort of the hard way that if you don’t share the real you, there’s only a limit to what you will attract. In the end, you are what’s going to stand out from the rest. You see, even though there are billions of people in the world, there’s only ONE you so you really want to make sure you’re using that in your favor. No matter if your brand is a corporate one or a personal one, bringing your story, values and expertise is great at helping you shine.