“Success is a dish served only to the bold.”
Submitting my resignation was a time of ambition and anxiety. I thought about the decrease in money, I weighed the cost of start-up for my vision and I considered the time and effort required for my business to be successful. With all those “what-ifs” attempting to hinder me, I boldly badged out of the exit side automated corporate doors. I walked exactly 104 steps to my vehicle with a close friend and co-worker that repeatedly told me, “don’t look back,” and I officially became an entrepreneur.
The next day and a few months following, it was an amazing feeling. I applied for a business license, opened business accounts, made contacts and connections while putting my business plan in place. Everything was ok until the money I’d taken from my savings was beginning to dwindle faster than I was making deposits. The start-up costs were more than I factored. The exposure, media and business marketing was an ongoing expense. Not to mention the support I thought I could count on from those that said they would be the first to purchase from me, decreased drastically.
I began to doubt my decision to exit Corporate America. Lots of uncertainties invaded my mind. It was difficult to remove them. I quickly learned the importance of planning my days and the reward of keeping my calendar updated. “What gets written, gets accomplished,” is a quote I incorporated into my life and it has saved me many times. Making every effort to plan, prepare and pen your mission and goals, positions you for success. For me, seeing it in writing, gives me the push I need to get it done. I’m also utilizing my time and efforts more wisely in large part to it holding me accountable.
Learning to manage my time and be a good steward of it, helps me grow in the areas that I have deemed the three “B’s.” Believing, balance and business. Establishing constructive routines and behaviors are critical components in the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur. Giving, volunteering and advocating is necessary to foster connections and partnerships. During the early stages of building my brand, I had a false sense of standing alone. I wasn’t opposed to working with others, I just did not realize how important collaborating is to the structure of a successful business. The flip side to that is, sometimes its difficult convincing others to partner with you. Especially if the company visions are aligned.
Rejection, not-so-nice reactions and resistance are stumbling blocks that you must learn how to turn into stepping stones along the entrepreneur brick road. Over time, I’ve trained my brain to not take the answer “no” personally nor professionally. I’ve also stopped waiting on others to give me the tools and materials to build doors of opportunity that I should be constructing myself.
The customer is always right was a difficult motto for me to incorporate because, let’s face it, sometimes, they may be wrong. However, even if they are challenging, I strive to “always treat the client right.” My success rate of satisfied clients tilts toward a positive experience even if the results were not quite what they envisioned. I give more than what is expected using the self-imposed 100 plus 50 client module. That entails my best and then additional efforts to deliver more in the spirit of gratitude for their decision to patronize my company.
I believe when you are an entrepreneur, the tolerance, patience and appreciation you must exude, is at a different level. The goal is to deliver quality and exemplary results to ensure future word-of mouth potentials and repeat clients. It gives me a distinct feeling of accomplishment whenever a referral prospect request my services based on the feedback from past and current clients. A dynamic business-owner aspires to obtain a stellar reputation, sustain repeat customers and maintain a comfortable capital bottom-line.
Building my enterprise has been a series of mixed emotions at the boardroom table. Some days I contemplate if I deserve a seat. The battle for my place as a businesswoman is indeed a challenge. Even though every day is not great, I make it productive and proudly carry my seat to the table with committed, creative and capable ways for my company to succeed. It is important for velocity to match vision. Align business goals daily and assign a time-frame to complete each task.
Be consistent in promoting, pronouncing and publicizing your brand. Visibility creates opportunity to convert inquiries to income. It has been a traveled path of dirt, rocks, pavement and multiple crossroads enhanced with bridges, connectors and links. Every person I meet and each obstacle along this entrepreneur journey, was needed for my professional and personal growth. I have a compassionate respect for corporations, businesses and anyone trying to earn a living now that I’ve experienced all sides of entrepreneurial life. Understanding the consumer needs and the CEO role is crucial to attaining a piece of the entrepreneur pie.
When you put in the time, consistent efforts and dedication for your business and brand, I believe you can have the cake, pie, success and longevity you seek from being a proprietor. Even though it is still early stages for me and my business, I embrace every victory and challenge that I have been able to overcome. It’s a reminder of my destiny plus determination, divided by drive, equals desired results.
Another great bullet point to entrepreneur success is surrounding yourself with positive, persevering and phenomenal people. They are the key to sanity, support and strength when you have strenuous days. I have 3 mentors. Each one has the resilience, intensity and influence to help me succeed to the next level. I appreciate their dedication to me and my business. Being submissive to constructive critique has helped me tremendously. They say in order to do anything well, you must immerse yourself with knowledge and experiences from those that already do it successfully.
Do not internalize negative criticism, failures or set-backs personally or professionally. Ignore the naysayers, roadblocks and distractions. Defy the odds because every day they will attempt to stack up against you. After all, once you make your mind up to be an entrepreneur, there should only be two mental options; I will make it and I can make it.
To summarize the entrepreneur experience, it has been ups and downs, highs and lows but every facet of my business is worth the price of hard-work, sweat and a couple of tears. For all the nights I had to stay up a little longer and the events I could not attend, it taught me sacrifice, focus and priority. I’ve lost some friends, gained new connections and had my will-to-succeed tested numerous times. Overall, I’m devoted to reaching the entrepreneur mountain top. Things and people will undoubtedly attempt to hinder your entrepreneurial climb but just remember, “You can’t have the profit, without enduring the pain.”
Angela Marshall, also known as “Author Stone,” is an Augusta, Ga., native, entrepreneur and positive words powerhouse that utilizes her personal life experiences of struggle, strength and success to captivate audiences and readers abroad. Author Stone, is a motivational presenter, published bestselling author, columnist, ex-NFL wife and creative writing consultant. Having struggled through a lavish but sorely lacking lifestyle as a former NFL wife, that chapter in her life proved pivotal to her “wise words woman” nickname. It also produced the transparency in her inspiring inquiring minds want to know autobiography, “Reality to Rags to Riches; The Story and Life of an Ex-NFL Wife.” Angela has been featured on the world’s most influential platforms.