The Formerly Reluctant Entrepreneur
Almost a year ago, I wrote my first post for this blog, The Reluctant Entrepreneur. Since then, I have interacted with amazing guest authors for the blog, attended WBC Business Essentials and Jump Start trainings almost weekly, completed the Build Your Dream Company Course twice, worked with WBC Business Consultant Deb Bilbao to create an Online Jump Start course, toured Southeastern Utah for our rural Virtual WBC launch events, and actually started my own business, Valkyrie Studios LLC.
These experiences have taught me that you really don’t need to have an “entrepreneurial spirit” to be an entrepreneur. That matters most is hard work, dedication, and passion.
As I wrap up my time at the Women’s Business Center to move on to another job, I talked with my wonderful coworkers about what we thought were the most important things for women entrepreneurs to know as they start or grow their businesses. Here’s what we discussed:
Are you motivated enough to work alone? Your passion is what will drive your business and keep you going even when you run into rough patches. If you aren’t passionate and motivated about your business, it is much easier to go watch a show on tv than to sit down and review last quarter’s financials.
Don’t sit and stew when you run into a problem, go out and get the help you need. Too many women are afraid to reach out or don’t know who to ask. Start by surrounding yourself with people who believe in your ideas, who know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, and are willing to answer your questions when you run into a problem.
Ann Marie Wallace
Intimately understand your target audience. Know everything about them, their buying habits, their psychographics, where they will encounter your business, and what will motivate them to, not just purchase from you, but become a loyal customer.
Here are my thoughts: it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you start a business, but you don’t have to know everything. First, because there is so much to learn that, if you’re waiting until you know everything before you start your business, you’ll be waiting forever. And second, because most of what it takes to be a successful business owner, you learn by doing.
Above everything else, my coworkers and I all agree, the most important thing to remember is to always believe in you. Even if no one else does, you need to believe in you. You will run into critics, maybe even close friends or family members, who will try to dissuade you from following your business idea. We learned from Lisa Condie, who presented at our Step Away & Recharge: Business Owner’s ½ Day Retreat in September, that we shouldn’t listen to anyone who isn’t in the arena with us. She shared with us this quote by President Theodore Roosevelt:
The Man in the Arena, President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst,
if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”