397 days… and counting…
I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve spent more than 36 days attempting to place my thoughts on paper to summarize the anniversary of this journey thus far. I’ve sat down several times, erased several drafts, and still find it extremely tough.
Whether or not you’re a believer of spiritual journeys like Vision Quest or Hajj, I would assume you can visualize such a pilgrimage. Granted, I’m spared from having to brave a long walk or roughing it through the great outdoors yet; I make a serious correlation when comparing the internalized journey of the soul. If a pilgrimage is supposed to ultimately connect you closer to the faith you believe and thus to yourself, I like to think entrepreneurship connects you closer to your passion(s) and purpose, and thus to yourself.
This entire post could simply be dedicated to sharing my introspective journey, but I would fail many of my readers. Instead, I will offer something of real value by sharing the five most impactful lessons I’ve learned this past year and a few resources that have helped me along the way. Here you go!
1. Every Penny Counts
I endured an entire calendar year without a paycheck, and in the most literal sense, I learned the underlining power of raw currency. Having physical coins and dollar bills at your disposal for an emergency is extremely critical, and a fundamental element to keeping your stress low. Cash is also really handy to have around when you’re going a duration without paystubs. America is based on a credit system that lives and breathes by very predictable rules. By learning the system and leveraging credit on your side to a degree that is strategic, you can proactively keep more physical cash at your disposal.
- Here’s a helpful video to help you better understand how to leverage credit to save on cash: Credit Card Rewards – Do’s and Don’ts by MissBeHelpful
2. Smart People Leverage Good Friends
My close circle of friends and mentors have become my backbone throughout this journey. Many times we overlook the value in having a couple of friends who always review press releases before they’re published and a couple of others who review your marketing materials before they’re launched. Having a small network of folks that you’re consistently sharing your progress with will sharpen your storytelling skills as well. And beyond covering my ample spelling and grammar errors, it has allowed my close friends to also become front row supporters and champions. Overtime they’ve been empowered to strategically promote my work and facilitate significantly beneficial connections.
3. Storytelling – Master the Art of Practicing it
Not only does the art of storytelling take practice, but also note that it comes in many forms and can be shared through various platforms. Storytelling is a lifeline tool to success, more specifically to galvanizing supporters, or helpers. A great storyteller leverages stories to empower others to help them and their cause willingly and through their self-identified strengths. Practice makes near perfection and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, newsletters, personal emails, websites, pitch decks, speaking engagements, etc. all deserve diligent practice.Suggestion, start with using your friends. See what I did there!
4. Tale of Two Selves
On a priority list, this would rank numero uno. Supporting a team, especially a start-up means you’re giving a lot of yourself to a lot of other people and a lot of other things. There inevitably exist the concept of two selves. As an entrepreneur, I am my investment. Yet, I am myself too, the investor. The investor is last to see the return on investment. When the business gets a win, the entrepreneur is a part of that win. When the company hits a milestone, the entrepreneur is along for that achievement. It is only later when time is found to step away from everything, does the investor get a moment to rest. While an entrepreneur is forced to analyze future vs. past consistently, the investor needs rest by staying in the present when the opportunity for rest arises.
- Learn about staying in the moment by reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
5. Schedule Balance, don’t Strive for it
This one seems more straightforward than reality may have it to be. If your entrepreneurship venture is a passion project and/or you’re passionate about being an entrepreneur, then the likelihood is you find work to be fun. There needs to not just be a balance of work and play, but work-work, play-work, work-play, and play-play. Play-work is time to explore your craft leisurely and in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Work-play is time at work with your team to learn areas related to the business casually and creatively. Work-work and play-play explain themselves. How much time to allocate to each may prove to be tricky at first, but I assure you the right balance is achievable.
- This TedTalk will help you further develop your balance: How to Gain Control of your Free Time by Laura Vanderkam
I truly hope this post has allowed you to take away something of value. And hope it may shed light on the road for any aspiring entrepreneur. If you’re a fellow entrepreneur and found that a certain article or resource really helped you, please share it below in the comments!