I was recently chatting with someone who had a business close and the hurt, frustration and general feeling of being jaded by business emanated from her. I felt every ounce of grief, sadness, frustration and anger and my heart broke for her. I don’t like to see people fail. Even when my “competition” fails, my heart goes out to the business owner, because I know what goes into running a business. I know how much of yourself you commit to your business and watching it close must be devastating.
After I finished talking with the woman who closed her business, I took a few moments to reflect on myself, my brand, my company, my Hot Mamas. And, here’s what I came up with…
HOLY S**T…this year we celebrate 5 years in business…and I’m still here. I’m. Still. Here. And, I’m thriving.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve gone through some extremely low points over the years. I’ve doubted myself, my vision, my ability to execute. I’ve quit. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been scared, mad, frustrated, angry and I’ve never doubted myself so much in my life. Welcome to entrepreneurship. It’s quite a ride.
The best part? You can handle all of those emotions if you learn to ride the wave. If you can buckle down, forge ahead and believe in yourself, you can achieve. You will achieve. Now, it might not be in the business you initially intended because well, maybe that just wasn’t the right business for you, but once you find your place in the business world, you can succeed.
There are 1000’s of pieces to the puzzle that is entrepreneurship, but you need to build your business from the four corner pieces and work from there.
My corner pieces? It took me awhile to realize how essential these pieces are, but I now know that these are the pieces that have brought me to where I am today:
1) Passion. Now, this is a given and you probably know this one. But, I’m talking true passion. I’m talking “wake you up in the middle of the night with your heart racing and ideas slamming around your brain” type of passion. Whatever you decide to do you need to be LIT UP by it. Because, on the days when you want to quit (and there are a lot of those days), it’s this passion that will help you forge ahead. If it’s your true passion and you don’t work on it, you’ll feel like you are missing a big part of your life. If the thought of not working on your business breaks your heart and deflates you, you’ve got it right. When you think about your passion, you should be filled with drive, determination, and energy.
2) Belief. You need to fully believe in the success of your company. Your belief has to be unwavering. How you get there and the journey you have to take will make you question everything about yourself and others, but your belief in your company? Un-wav-er-ing.
If you go into business with the mindset of “I think this could be good”, you’re going to fail. You need the mindset of “This will succeed, there’s no other option”. Why? Because if you believe in what you’re working on, you can’t quit. You seriously, absolutely, 100% can’t quit.
I believe in what I do with Hot Mama and I know I make a difference. I also know that we will be successful. We may have rocky times, but in the end, we do a lot of good work and we help a lot of people. I believe in the goodness of my company and of all the women working with me…I can’t fail. There’s no way. I have never doubted the importance of Hot Mama or how much it is needed. So, I believe in my company. I believe in its success. Always.
3) Grit and perseverance. Like I said, business is hard and will make you question everything about yourself and about others. It’ll pick you up, throw you down, stomp on you, then pick you up again only to throw you down and stomp on you twice as hard. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to get through it.
You’re going to get knocked down. People are going to let you down. You’re going to let yourself down. You’re going to make mistakes. And, as your company grows, you’ll need more grit and more perseverance than ever before. People will question you more. People will doubt you more. People will plant more seeds of doubt in your mind than ever before.
Grind it out. Get through it. Stand your ground. Push, dig and drive your business. If you’re passionate about your business and you believe in your business…you constantly pick yourself up, adjust your ponytail, straighten your clothing and you get back to work. To do that…you need grit. You need that something inside you that says “No, you’re wrong…this is worth it. Let me show you just how far I can go”. That’s grit. That’s perseverance.
4) Solid support. Now, the above three points are incredibly important but most important is support. You need a cheering squad. You need a strong team forging the path with you. And, you need a soft place to land on the hard and brutal days.
Support comes in various ways and you need them all.
- Support within your company. You need support IN your company and you need to work with people who are passionate about what you are doing. You need the support of the people you get to work with every day. In your company you need people working with you who believe in what you are doing and in what you’re trying to do (because yes, they’re two different things). You need people who will walk through the fire with you because they believe in you and your business as much as you do, if not more so. That’s your team…and if you don’t have a supportive team, you’re hooped. Every now and then you need your team to say to you “I believe in you. You can do this”. Because let me tell you…if you don’t hear those words or you don’t have that support, your journey just got a whole lot harder.
- Support at home. It will be impossible to build your business if you don’t have support at home. Your partner, your family…they all need to be onboard. You’re going to take out a lot of frustration and anxiety on them and it’s often your family that will have the guts to tell you to knock it off and get back to work. If you don’t have that, you’ll fail. You need someone so fully in your corner that no amount of bitchiness and self-doubt causes them to waver. You need someone who pushes you to believe in yourself and who will knock some sense into you when you start to be ridiculous. You need unwavering support from your family because trust me, you’re going to doubt yourself enough for the entire world, you don’t need their doubt riding on your shoulders too. You have enough of that all on your own.
- Support from your friends. Now, support from your family is essential but equally important is support from your friends. They’re your soft place to land. They’re the ones who will pick you up off the floor (literally), give you a glass of wine and listen to your doubts and fears on repeat for years and years. You will sound like a broken record because your fears and doubts will always be your fears and doubts. Good friends, they listen, they hug, they let you cry, they let you doubt…then they also give you a kick in the ass and tell you to knock it off. Friends who support you allow you to be you, allow you to grow and change and become what you’re meant to be. Find the people who accept you as you are today and as you are as you grow and hang on tight to them. You’re going to need them, not only for support but for celebration…because nobody celebrates your success like your friends do…nobody.
There are so many more puzzle pieces you need to be a successful entrepreneur, but I feel like these are the four pillars that have helped me build a business and keep it running for five years. It’s not easy, being an entrepreneur, it’s not at all easy. If you think working for yourself will be fun and amazing, that you can make your own hours and work on your own time, you’re wrong. You’re going to be your worst boss ever because you’re going to be more demanding of yourself than anyone else. But, if you have passion, belief in your business, grit and perseverance and a support team in all aspects of your life…you can do this.
Make sure your business is right for you and get to work. It’s not easy, it takes patience. It takes determination. And, honestly…it takes a really bombass idea and an ability to work harder than you’ve ever worked to execute your dream. But I’ll tell you one thing: it’s worth it. It’s all worth it.
Good luck to any and all of you entrepreneurs out there. I’ll be here…grinding it out, doubting myself, and loving every single moment.