06 Jun

7 Tricks to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

I was so overwhelmed on the response to my last post ‘10 Things I Wished I Had Know Before I Started My Business’, (thank you guys) and therefore super excited to bring you the next one – ‘7 Tricks to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur’.

What I’ve learnt along the way is that unless you are fortunate to be born into a wealthy family or you’ve gotten in from the ground up with Mark Zuckerberg the path to success ain’t easy!

STOP SITTING ON THE FENCE

If you have an idea, go for it. Like NOW, go for it. There will never be that perfect time. The economy will never be just the way you want it, the products will never be tweaked or perfected enough for your liking, and the market will never finish being polled or analysed. You could spend months waiting for the right moment. It’s far better to take the plunge, get it out there, and then perfect it. Case in point, our best-selling ceramic dog lights: I pondered over the design of them forever, procrastinated, sat on the fence, then pondered some more. When we finally launched, I noticed on one quality check that some of the dogs were on the piss, leaning in all sorts of directions. It turned out the mould was wonky! All that talking, deliberating, and showing the pieces to what seemed like everyone, and no one had noticed. We reworked the mould and now it’s all fine, but if I hadn’t taken that first chance, I wouldn’t have my lamps today, wonky or otherwise. There is no perfect first step. If you don’t take action, you don’t move, it’s as simple as that.

FORGET ABOUT THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT

Your light bulb moment is unlikely to make you a billionaire. (Sorry!) I know we’ve all heard the rags-to-riches-dreamt-up-the idea-in-my-bedroom story but those cases are rare. You’re more likely to make money from business ventures you didn’t even think of initially, or got to gradually. This is totally from experience; true success for us hasn’t been about the one idea (a fabulous retail store). I mean I thought it would be but instead its been a whole host of other ideas complementing the existing idea. Does that make sense?

USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Social media is cheap. Yes, it’s super time-consuming, but for very little cash you can engage with your customers, attract new business, and build your brand and a fabulous community. If you’re just starting out and you have no followers, DO NOT BUY THEM. For the following reasons:

  1. It’s unethical.
  2. It’s deceptive (and transparently so).
  3. It’s ultimately sad.

It’s super obvious when a business has faked it – there is very little activity per number of likes. If your likers aren’t legitimate, they won’t be engaging, commenting, or driving traffic. Whilst it might seem like the best way to go in the beginning, the easy way out never pays. Facebook is gunning to shut down the fakers as data integrity is key to their business, just as it’s key to yours. Build your community from the ground up, where is the satisfaction in faking it – you’ll get an amazing group of loyal people following and interacting with you. That is a treasure that can’t be bought.

HAVE FAITH THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS

If you don’t have faith or passion, you’ll not be able to survive the tough times. It literally boils down to this: if you believe in yourself, you’ll win. I cannot tell you enough how for the first 3 years of running my business – in that store, every single day, getting despondent and frustrated at the lack of customers – I wanted to throw in the towel. Where was everybody? I didn’t get it. Some days I would take the long route home – anything to delay getting there and telling G how tough it was. What got me through was and is belief: plain, old-fashioned belief. Customers who came through the door were positive, I was positive, I just had to have faith. One day I knew it would be OK, I just had to keep moving forward, doing what I was doing! It really is nothing more than that. Something in your blood, almost circling around your body, telling every fibre of your being that one day it will work – this is what it takes. You must believe in yourself.

GET REAL AND ROLL UP THOSE SLEEVES

There are no flexible hours being an entrepreneur, no sick pay, holiday allowance, or overtime pay (hello). Not many weekends off, no finishing at 5 or ‘let’s have a picnic or dash away for the weekend’ type conversations. So the trick is loving what you do – otherwise you will resent it big time. Yes, you’re the boss, but you’re also the PA, the diplomat, therapist, accountant, and IT trouble-shooter (not!) – basically, you’re everything. Until you reach the very top and you can delegate all that down, you’ll be wearing many hats! The work life balance is a good goal to have but if you want to get ahead there really is nothing that substitutes working incredibly long hours. Also as cheesy as this sounds what comes with this is that inner satisfaction of knowing ‘you know what I’m giving it my best’!

KEEP SOME FACTS TO YOURSELF

Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they never give up. I remember years ago we had paid the wages, paid rent, paid the suppliers (and God knows who else) and we had literally nothing in the pot for us, barely enough to pay for food even. I got home, sat on the floor in the corner, wept for an hour, then though f*** this – lentils are cheap! I can drizzle them with lemon juice, crumble on some feta, roast a few beets – we can do this! Did I convey that to my employees? No. You can’t let them know – you’re the boss, you shoulder the problems. Don’t burden the people working for you with them. It’s your responsibility to figure a way out – no point in making more people worry about the future. That’s your bag!

DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILURE

You’ll only be a successful entrepreneur if you love what you do. There are no shortcuts across the playing fields. It’s hard, it’s tough, and you have to slog it out and have patience. You’ll fail at a few things, but my most pioneering ideas and the most successful ideas have come about because of those setbacks and hurdles.

Do all of that and one day you’ll look back and go ‘Did I build that?’ You – all on your own – built this thing that gets recognised around the world, a business that is financially stable and has enabled you to turn a dream into a reality!

It’s intoxicating, it’s addictive and the possibilities of where you can take it are endless!

Go be an entrepreneur I say!

7tricksb

 

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