Home Advice For The Young At Heart Four Lessons To Remember As A New (Or Experienced) Entrepreneur

Four Lessons To Remember As A New (Or Experienced) Entrepreneur

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by Laura Dribin, CEO & Founder, Peritius Consulting, Inc.

What do you think of when you think of an entrepreneur?  Unless you are one or know one personally, you may jump to images of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.  Images of obscene wealth.  While that may be true for them, it is not the reality for most.

When you meet a “typical” entrepreneur, the reality is usually different.  Being an entrepreneur is an exciting and terrifying line of work. There are so many things that can go wrong (and often do), but at the same time those things could go so right! Yet, given that most entrepreneurs do not make the fame and fortune of a Jeff Bezos, why do so many entrepreneurs base their expectations of success on achieving a Bill Gates-type achievement? As a reminder … “comparison is the thief of joy.”

Therein lies the problem.

1. Know your goals

Entrepreneurs need to set expectations AND boundaries. From the beginning. While those expectations and boundaries may evolve through the years, make sure it occurs in a planned, thought-out process.

2. Live your goals.

Entrepreneurs are expected to do a lot to help their company succeed. Yet, it is easy to lose sight of your goals on a daily basis. Entrepreneurs need to stay focused on their goals and live them. Spend time examining your goals independently of a specific opportunity or ask. What’s changed? Will this opportunity take me down a rabbit hole or is this the direction I want to move forward in the future?

3. Taking stock.

So as a downturn in the economy has hit my company (we’ve been through many recessions over the years), I have been thinking about why I haven’t become as global as Bill Gates or as expansive as Elon Musk (we used to joke about becoming the “McKinsey of Delivery”)? Our firm does high-quality work every time and our clients are extremely happy, but we struggled to grow. What’s going on?

As I reflect on my career, here are some key points I try to remember (or wish I’d known before I started out).

Define, understand, and live your goals

When I started my business, I was trying to get back into consulting work, yet I wanted to avoid travel. I was about to be a new mom and wanted to make sure that I could focus on my family. I made all my business decisions around those goals. I said “No” often. That translated into lost opportunities and potential growth of my company—which was okay. I was meeting my (and my family’s) needs. I knew that because I had figured those needs out before I started.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that money is often a driver of entrepreneurs and if that’s your goal, great.  All of your decisions should relate to that goal.

Everyone needs time off

Often my best ideas come when I am on vacation—or at least when I come back. As an entrepreneur, you are often expected to “be on” all of the time. That can be exhausting. When you are in the midst of chaos (as you often are as an entrepreneur), you are forced to react to problems. From my experience, when I am stressed and overworked, I tend to make more emotional decisions. Pulling away for a weekend or taking vacation has always brought me back to a fresh mindset to take on all the other problems heading my way.

Love what you are doing

I always said that if I hated what I was doing for three months straight, I would move away from the business. It’s a guideline that helped me through some bad times. I knew that if I didn’t feel good about the work/company for that length of time, I probably wasn’t doing good by my company, employees, vendors, and most importantly, my clients. Who needs a sad entrepreneur that doesn’t want to be there?

Life is too short

I am a successful entrepreneur that can do something else when I get tired of my role. Make sure that you find time (not only for vacations) to do the “other things” you love to do. You know the saying: “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.” As I mentioned, I love to travel, so I decided that as I got older, if I continue working, I need to find a way to insert more travel. So, over the last four years, I have chosen international sites and decided to work remotely (I was a digital nomad before it was cool!). Don’t sacrifice your hobbies/interests on the altar of entrepreneurial success!

4. Set your priorities — Now.

Entrepreneurs may give their heart and soul to their company and that is perfectly fine (if that is what they want). Creating a company is not easy; it takes a lot of work, but still, not everyone is going to be Musk, Gates, or Bezos—and achieving that type of entrepreneurial success should not make one lose sight of the sacrifices that have to be made along the way. I am pretty confident that if I had prioritized the growth of my company as my No. 1 goal, my company would be bigger than it is now. Yet, that wasn’t my goal.

Mission accomplished!

I can say that I reached my goals that I had set all those years ago. While in my weak moment, I may ask why I’m not bigger, the truth is that wasn’t my lived goals along the way. In turn, I did in fact create a phenomenal company that allows me to remain proud of the work we do for our clients, enjoy the people (present and past) that have worked alongside me to get us here and the life it has allowed me to live while taking care of my family. I took care of my needs! This is something that most entrepreneurs need to remember so they can continue to love what they do and who they are.

 

Laura Dribin

Laura Dribin is CEO and founder of Peritius Consulting, Inc. Prior to founding the company, Laura worked as a Big Five management consultant and for Microsoft Corporation. With more than 25 years of experience, she brings the hands-on leadership necessary to guide project teams through complex initiatives and to help organizations develop and improve their project management competency.