As a life-long entrepreneur, people often share their ideas with me. I truly love hearing them, and it never gets old. I believe that when we all do what we love, the community is more harmonious and everyone thrives. When we cease to see a job as a means to a paycheck, but instead as an opportunity to be wildly fulfilled, we get to a place where we can experience joy every day -- not just when we’re on vacation. Entrepreneurship is a great way to create your own rules for your life while receiving an income. What could be better? However, freedom needs to be joined with discipline in order to thrive. Here are some guidelines I’ve noticed consistently within successful entrepreneurs I’ve met and gotten to know.
That thing you want -- whether it’s money, power, notoriety, revenge or to be in Forbes -- is not going to happen for a while. In fact, you’ll probably experience the opposite for a while. Less money, less free time, less partying and not much recognition will be in your future until a sequence of milestones are hit. You know when you don’t want to go to the gym, but you know you’ll feel awesome afterwards? It’s like the 3-year version of that.
Tattoo Rules Apply
Is your idea an inside joke, a trend or something that comes to mind ONLY when you’re having too much, um....fun on Saturday night? Then it’s probably not a great thing to get tattooed...or reason enough to quit your day job. Do you consistently think of it right when you wake up and just before you sleep and have been falling in love with the concept for the last six months? Do you find yourself sharing your concept with people and it prompting thought and conversation? Then maybe it would make a sweet tattoo and/or a great company.
You Don’t Require The Buddy System
Do you never make it to the gym without a buddy or trainer? Some people work best with cooperative or outside motivation and that’s ok. However, if self-discipline is an issue, you may find it hard to be a full-time entrepreneur. It takes constant diligence and, even if you have co-founders, they won’t be around all the time. While ADHD is a common founder trait, this needs to translate to multi-tasking, not procrastination. Being self-motivated is crucial.
You Think Balance Is For Seesaws
It was advised to me early on that investors don’t like founders that have balance.
I quickly learned why. It’s not that anyone is cracking the whip, it’s that doing something really, really great that other people are also trying to accomplish is extraordinarily hard. The competition is all in, so you have to be all in too. You get out of things what you put into them. Intense dedication will reap intense results.
Deserve Is A Dirty Word
Over the years I’ve heard a few startup founders and employees say things like well I “deserve” this or that. While that might be true, and best efforts are certainly reward-worthy, this type of thinking won’t help your startup. People don’t always get what they deserve. The drive and determination needed requires constant assessment of what is producing results and what is not. Try not to get stuck in a routine because that’s usually your “work,” and notice anything that begins to produce declining results. Notice everything, pivot fast and desired results will happen in due time as a result of actions that lead to them, not because we deserve it even though that may be the case.
Taking the First Steps
If this all sounds cool and you can’t wait to share your idea with the world, great. First, find a safe place to incubate your idea. This could be a colleague, mentor or trusted friend to bounce ideas off of. Start writing things down and identify the consumer or business that will be your customer. List ways your concept solves problems and why others mike enjoy it, and even better, exchange money for it. Writing a 50 page business plan can be intimidating, so just start with the who, what, why and how, along with some visuals and you’ll be surprised how fast things move once you’re in action mode.
This all may sound tough, but so is having a business. If all this sounds great to you and you have a dream no matter what size, by all means close your eyes and jump. We learn by doing and grow through learning. When we get that butterfly feeling that lights us up over and over it’s usually the universe giving us the green light to follow our dreams. When we’re doing exactly what we were meant to be doing we feel understood, satisfied and helpful to others and the planet. I guess that’s what they mean when they say all new businesses strive to make the world a better place….because that’s exactly what they do. You have a lot to give to the universe! Share your passion and dreams with the world and it will come back to you ten fold.
Rachael McCrary is a lingerie expert and the Founder and CEO of Jewel Toned. A certified Life Coach, Hindu philosopher, and a Fashion Design major from FIDM with 20 years of industry experience. She is passionate about making body-positive undies and inspiring women to follow their dreams.