In today’s guest post, Patty Tanji shares lessons learned from pursuing her entrepreneurial passion.
I created Open Workplace LLC. In January 2011. I must admit, now when I look back one and half years later, I had no idea what I was doing. As the president of a professional association advocating for women in business and women business owners I encouraged other women to side step the glass ceiling and start their own companies. I was hooked by the idea of autonomy and freedom through business ownership. So, it was only fitting that I should begin walking the talk and start my own company. I set off to sell consulting services to companies who wanted to shift their cultures and become more employee centered. And, I was going to do this online only.
I wasn’t completely naive about the world of business having spent about 10 years, yes 10 years, obtaining a business degree on a very part time basis. But, working for someone else, who had already created a vision, a line of products or services, a marketing plan, and all the functional departments was not remotely similar to starting a company from scratch. All those case studies I researched in college were proving true right before my eyes. The roller coaster ride of creating a business is enough to make anyone nauseous but I’m not ready to get off the ride. I am self-funded, and self motivated.
So, for those curious souls, interested in learning more about the lessons from a woman of a certain age, who has just embarked on the entrepreneurial journey, and hasn’t quite landed the big client, I am honored to share.
Be clear about what you want. The book Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future, reminds us of the “overwhelming importance of desire.” What do you want? It is not necessary to love your product but what is your motivation for starting a company? For me, it was the challenge, a way to help people that is NOT just philanthropic, and an insatiable curiosity about how this entrepreneurial world works.
Set acceptable loss limits. From the same resource, our friend from Babson College, advises entrepreneurs to determine your acceptable loss limit. So to that end I dug through my investments and came up with a CD, cashed it, split it in half, and decided ‘that’s my acceptable loss limit’. I just did this recently (in April, 2012) and am nowhere near my limit yes.
Find people that are smarter than you. If I’m to make this company successful I must find a team of people who are brilliant! I’m still working it. My dream team of a virtual assistant coach, banker, web designer, bookkeeper, mentors is coming together nicely.
Listen to your intuition. I am learning that intuition doesn’t jump right out and kick me in the head. Instead, it is a very small voice that says, “maybe you should try this other thing?” I’m taking time and space to listen to it. For me, my intuition is clearly audible when I am NOT stressed. That means while jogging, walking my dog, and meditating (its not just for Buddhists anymore) I pay attention to ideas that come to mind.
Stay Focused. It’s easy to get distracted by all the gadgets and the ‘shoulds’ of owning your own business. Which shopping cart service or email service to use, or which guru do you follow for advice? There are so many products you could buy to make your business better. Don’t get distracted. Put a plan together, with lots of near and almost near term goals and stick to it. Unless of course the path is leading to “disasterville” or you have reached your acceptable loss limits.
I’ve switched niche’s 3 times already but am not giving up. To keep you motivated watch these inspiring short videos by fellow entrepreneurs!
- A New Beginning – Is Fear Holding You Back?
- Video Response – A New Beginning – Is Fear Holding You Back?
Patty Tanji blogs at Next Step Follies: An Imaginarium for Changes Agents and Visionaries. As an advocate for women in the workplace, Patty lobbies for strong gender pay equity laws. She currently coaches professional women, who fear salary negotiation, on how to unleash their confidence and power and ask for a pay raise.
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