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The life of an londonbusinessblog.com can be a roller coaster. After closing my first 7-figure business during the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, I made sure my future businesses were resilient. As much as this “crash” was a crisis, it was also an opportunity to create the life I really wanted. I had my company take over for my needs. I am grateful for the lessons learned and I use that experience not only in my own business, but also as a business mentor when I help clients create resilient businesses that support their needs and desires.
To be successful, you need guts, passion and confidence in the value of what you do. People think that doing business gives them the freedom to do what they want, but if you’re not careful, the business can take over your life. There is always a lot of testing and measurement and not everything immediately turns into gold. Consistent and sustained action to move forward, even when things don’t go according to plan, are needed.
Being persistent is different from just working hard. Take the time to get clear, align and follow the path from a place of clarity. When things don’t go according to plan, you need to be flexible and open to changes that fit the current business environment. Celebrate the highlights and enjoy the journey – that’s the sweet spot, even more than the end goal. In all my businesses, I attune to follow the joy. If you enjoy what you do every day and add value to others, then you are living the dream! Here are five key tips for successfully getting on the entrepreneurship rollercoaster:
Related: What I’ve Learned in 20 Years of Being an londonbusinessblog.com
1. Good base
These are systems and structures, but more importantly, this includes knowing how to support yourself, building a good support team around you, and using them by asking for help when you need it.
This was a big lesson for me in my first company. The African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” comes to mind. You may be able to do all the things in your business, but if you want to scale, you need to bring in team members. To bring in a team you need systems and procedures. I remember coming back from a business trip when I was about 6 months pregnant, and I was chatting with the person sitting next to me on the flight. We talked about my travel business and how I would manage once I had the baby. She encouraged me to read The E myth by Michael E. Gerber, who emphasizes that if you want a successful business, rather than just creating a job, you need the business to work without you. If you want to grow and scale, like any building, you need a strong foundation.
2. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is being able to perceive your emotions and understand why you are experiencing them, and use them to guide you on what to do next. Knowing how to support your own emotional needs is one of the keys to a happy life.
People think that ‘business’ and ‘personal’ are separate aspects of our career paths, and yes, sometimes they are – but one ‘light bulb’ moment for me was realizing that this is never quite true. Everything is personal because we are human. It was a big shock during the closure of my company (I was going through a divorce then too). I realized that there is strength in vulnerability. It’s okay to admit you’re not okay, and it’s okay to ask for help. It’s also okay to say “I need time” or to say “no” to things that drain your energy. The realization was that I had to trust myself and let go of fears around emotions, make decisions with an open heart, be guided by my intuition and prioritize my own needs.
Related: Entrepreneurship is all about overcoming obstacles
Empathy is being able to take into account someone else’s perspective, how they feel, and why they behave a certain way. Understanding this will be a great tool for you to troubleshoot and negotiate.
Developing a better understanding of the role empathy plays in your working life will help manage teams and grow your business. As a negotiating tool, I always look at what’s in it for the other side and how and why they formed their position. It will help you determine what their expectations are and help you put together an offer that is acceptable. It helps to build long lasting mutually beneficial relationships. It’s not always about an instant win or two opposing sides. It could be how you work through challenges and support each other in a common goal.
Here’s an example from one of my own companies, The Bubbles Review, which publishes articles and organizes events and tours about champagne and sparkling wine. When we went into lockdown due to the pandemic, events and the sparkling wine industry were hit hard. Restaurants were closed and wineries had to close their cellar doors. I’ve had to postpone our series The Bubbles Festivals indefinitely. Understanding how difficult this was, I wanted to do something to help.
We host a section on our website where we post Sparkling Cellar Doors reviews, so I decided to create a Virtual Sparkling Cellar Doors list of wineries and wine importers that had suddenly lost their usual distribution channels. I made it free for them to participate because it was more about giving back and helping. We promoted it in our database and social media, and I presented virtual tastings, interviewed some winemakers and shared them on our Facebook page. The relationships that have developed during this time have been long-lasting. When it came time to invite wineries and wine importers to be exhibitors for our 2021 events, it was an easy “yes” for them to apply as we had already negotiated to a point of confidence in our shared purpose to present these beautiful sparkling wines to our audience.
4. Manage your energy
One of the most important sources is your own energy. Knowing how to read your own energy, and that of others, is crucial. If you don’t, you’ll burn out. When you experience resistance, you reset and restore energy until you can move forward from a place of inspiration.
I didn’t always get this right and once I reached a burnout, it was very difficult to recover my energy from there. In some cases it can take years. I now protect my energy daily. I listen to my body. I regularly plan wellness activities and take the time when needed. I choose what and with whom I spend time based on what brings me joy. I don’t take on projects or clients that don’t fit who I am or what I want to do.
Related: Welcome to the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster. Here’s How To Ride It Forever
5. Know Your Value
This can be achieved by tuning in to your set of values and working from there. When you operate from a place of value, you eliminate self-doubt and align with your purpose – and are less likely to be affected by any negativity.
Tuning in to your values is also a useful way to restore energy. In my first company, it was a big transition from simply managing myself to motivating my entire team. This topic is now one of the most popular workshops I teach for organizations small and large, as it allows you to create a corporate culture that all your employees will engage with. You’ll find your entire team on the same page instead of giving top-down instructions, and you’ll have all your employees work as a team to achieve your shared goals.
Customers correspond to companies that have similar values. For you personally, when you work on things and work with people who align with your values, it feels like you’re following your joy. Our companies should work for us, not the other way around. My biggest takeaway is not to put off living your dream life and wait for something to happen in the future. It’s really about enjoying each of the steps along the way. When the business gets stressful, remind yourself that business and life should be fun.