As an independent woman, my entrepreneurial journey has been unpredictable, with many setbacks that have tested my resilience. Now I know why so many people decide to go back to their day jobs when they hit an obstacle. It isn’t easy, and most of us are not trained to be resilient. Business schools don’t teach this. Grit and strength have to come from within. This separated me from my peers who were planning to build startups but never got anywhere. Most of them were living their good lives and enjoying the weekends while I was outworking them. Many thought something was wrong with me. This is the entrepreneurial journey that most don’t understand.
You didn’t get funded? Keep going!
Someone told you they would take two weeks to do something? Do it yourself!
The hard truth is that you don’t wait for people as an entrepreneur. When they make you wait, just handle it yourself.
I am not saying you shouldn’t hire or trust people; I’m saying be your own show and know enough to be dangerous.
In 2020, I was robbed of over $260,000 that I lived very frugally to save to build this startup. I wasn’t going to let anyone get away with my hard-earned money. Many people told me to let it go and move on. This was not an option; I would show anyone who said that the door and keep going. Now, that was the entrepreneur in me determined to get to the bottom of it.
Here are a few lessons I learned along the way:
Don’t get advice from people who are not invested
When you are trying to build something, people will want to give you advice and be your mentor. They haven’t deeply observed you, but they want to advise you on your circumstances. Does something sound wrong with this? It does because it is wrong on so many levels. This is the reason I stopped taking advice from anyone not invested in my startup. They don’t have to invest dollars—it can be their time. If they haven’t spent the time to thoroughly understand me and my business but want to advise me on my direction and next steps, it will not work. Imagine someone gives you advice, and you move forward with it—then it puts you in a deeper hole than you were already in. When you think about it, the person has no liability and will probably carry on, not thinking twice about their advice. I wasted so much of my precious time seeking advice when the answers were within me because no one is as close to my business as I was. I was the only one truly invested.
Seek to connect the dots
The first thing I had to understand on this entrepreneurial journey is that a lot of things will go wrong. It is hard to be in those dark hallways trying to find answers, but don’t give up. I promise there is a silver lining to every failure. I have epically failed many times while building a business, and I learned something new each time. It has sharpened me and made me wiser. Today, I can pinpoint the people I want to work with and make wiser decisions about how to scale. Before, I was just hoping to bring the right people on board to help me get the job done. I put a lot of trust in people I met once, and this set me back every time. I would find out the person didn’t have great intentions, didn’t deliver what they promised, and the expectations were not always black and white. At first, I thought, why is it me that always gets into these situations that set me back—but each one was making me wiser. I was being sharpened to become the best leader I could be, and that was the gift I didn’t see. Sometimes, our hopelessness clouds the view of our gifts. Now, I always seek to understand the silver lining in every situation. It isn’t immediate and may take years to unravel. Once you see it, there will be more peace in your life.
You don’t need to buy more coaching
One of my deepest regrets on this journey was to hire coaches. They would charge me $10,000–$25,000 to “teach” me things I already knew. This goes back to not taking advice from people not invested in you or your business. This lesson can save you a lot of money. No matter who the person is and how successful they are, take all advice with a grain of salt. People can inspire your direction and give you ideas, but take them at surface level because they aren’t liable if it doesn’t work out. Many coaches in the space want you to invest in them, and then they want to give you little to no value. What is wrong with this? A lot! It almost sounds like a scam—they want to take your money and have you work for them for free. In this new world, we are diving into, I see many of these coaches losing their reputation for doing just that—scamming and not providing real value. Can you imagine being an entrepreneur and having your dreams shattered because you invested your last amount of cash into a coach? I had this happen to me twice. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
I hope this read saves you time and money on your entrepreneurial journey. This is the insight I wish I would have had when I started.