There are many ways for women to find entrepreneurial success. You don’t have to have a “light bulb” idea for a new and unique product. You don’t have to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. You may not even need to have a boatload of money to plow into the business. But you do have to commit to being an entrepreneur.
Success begins with the right mindset.
Yes, it takes hard work, commitment, drive and a little bit of self-made luck. But it also takes believing in yourself enough to take action.
Like so many women, my own entrepreneurial journey started accidentally—without much forethought or planning. It was 1994 and I was a management consultant working with manufacturing companies who wanted to improve their product quality and gain efficiencies. When the American Management Association asked me to develop and deliver manufacturing/warehousing programs, I jumped at the offer. I knew it would give me an opportunity to use the knowledge I had gathered over the past several years.
I approached the work with an employee mindset rather than that of a business owner. Despite this, I was smart enough to know that to be marketable as an independent contractor I needed to find ways to bring ongoing value to my services and worked to broaden by program offerings—adding OSHA, HR, project management—and publishing related articles to help myself stand out.
All good. Except, I had given little thought to formally setting myself up as a business (and still considered myself an independent contractor/consultant). I was focused completely on staying busy and earning money. Since my brand was me, myself and I, if my calendar was booked, I lost the business. I had inadvertently limited the ability to grow my business because I was the business. My packed travel schedule also meant that I missed several important family events and milestones … as well as many little ones.
Then, at the encouragement of my husband, I took an entrepreneur course. It helped me to shake off the employee mindset and start looking at things through the eyes of a business owner. I learned how to recognize market opportunities, set financial goals, define the brand and align the business with my personal vision. I learned that I had been a business owner all along.
What about you? Do you have an idea for a business? Have you been filling your time with a side business or contract work? If you’re like many women, the answer is YES!
And there are lot of compelling reasons to move forward. Here are just a few:
- Having control over your destiny
- Having the ability to be in charge and make decisions
- Pursuing a passion
- Gaining the freedom and flexibility to best use your talents
- Having a flexible schedule (While this is technically true, entrepreneurs often put in long hours!)
- Achieving a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment
- Gaining financial security
If any of these reasons resonate with you, it’s time to throw off the “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve” mindset.
What’s really stopping you? Perhaps your idea is new or maybe you’re unsure of where to start—the steps necessary to actually launch and build a business. Maybe you’re like me and just never considered yourself an entrepreneur. And—if we’re being truthful—perhaps you hesitate because you’re a bit unsure of your abilities, skills and knowledge.
Wondering if you’ve really got what it takes? There are some traits common among successful entrepreneurs. Take a look at this list and consider how you measure up.
- Possess grit and a passion to succeed when you encounter unexpected challenges
- Have a clarity of vision that enables you to stay focused on customers, competitors and your business
- Think creatively and see novel solutions and find opportunities in problems
- Tolerate risk so you can thrive in an environment with many unknowns and no guarantees
- Have self-discipline and the ability to manage multiple priorities (including personal ones)
- Have an optimistic outlook and an ability to believe that things will work out
- Feel a responsibility to others
- Possess acumen and a desire to learn both through education and experience
- Be well networked with an ability to interact and rely on others
- Have negotiation skills and the ability to ask for what you need
Don’t have all the traits? Take heart. This is just the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey and knowing where you stand can help you focus on where to improve or develop.
The key to success is to act on your desires—to take one step at a time, gain the appropriate knowledge and move forward. And there are amazing resources available to help you along this journey.
This article is the second of a series written to help women entrepreneurs like you take a closer look at what’s keeping you from moving forward, overcome doubts and understand the fundamentals and the mindset needed to help make you successful. They are not designed to help you build your financials or create your marketing plan, but rather to prod you to think bigger … and begin thinking with the mindset of an entrepreneur. They will appear on our blog: https://insightsnationalseminarstraining.com/ and in our free monthly professional women’s newsletter which you can subscribe to: http://www.nationalseminarstraining.com/womenslink/index.cfm
Missed article 1? Read it now: Women Entrepreneurs: What’s Keeping You From Starting the Business of Your Dreams