Many mentors have told me I had to have “thick skin” as an entrepreneur, but that has a diluted interpretation. Thick skin can mean to keep going in the face of adversity or not taking offense at anything. Having thick skin is more than that; it’s about mental strength. Imagine you are on a fitness challenge, and you have to follow the protocol no matter what. This could mean having to sacrifice social outings and seeing friends and being on your own. You have to do these things anyway to become an entrepreneur. Mental strength grows through adversity, and you will be experiencing a ton of it. I remember being in the initial stages of starting a new business and getting rejected by partners, investors, and even new hires. I also realized that there was deception that I hadn’t considered when I was going through the hiring process. Somehow, I overcame these challenges through my mental strength. You have to be prepared for people ready to take advantage of an entrepreneur just starting out. I didn’t know this because I thought everyone would be supportive of my journey, which is not the case; many people will tell you things that detour you from your path.
Here are some quick tips for new entrepreneurs:
Think about community
Your venture’s end goal is to pursue your mission. To pursue your mission, you must think about building a community. You only want to include people you can provide value to through your venture. Many entrepreneurs build communities that don’t go anywhere because they aren’t able to monetize their business. You don’t want to find out that you can’t monetize after you’ve already invested in building your business. This will take you back to square one. Instead, you have to be diligent about building a community, only including people who are a product-market fit. Do not include friends just to increase the number of members. When you think about going after your mission with a full heart, your mental strength will come automatically. It will surprise you because your purpose has power over your mind. There were many times where I wanted to give up because of all the rejection around me; I never thought I would bring my idea to life. You have to be willing to trust that there are people out there who will believe in you, but you have to find those people and attract them to you. Use the people who discouraged you to build yourself up mentally.
Many people have given me a difficult time. I had setbacks and obstacles that were out of my control. I felt that I went through many experiences that I didn’t deserve, but it was okay because the good moments in my life were amazing. When you own your own business, you have to be prepared for anything and think in terms of “I will figure it out”—it doesn’t matter if you have to hire someone to help you or you do it yourself. If there you feel like giving up, it may be time to give yourself a day to get over the pity. I usually take a day to be upset about something, then get up and going the next day. Sometimes, I needed to put the whole project on hold for a while until I figured things out, and this is okay. It doesn’t mean you gave up on your goals. It just means that you were trying to tackle too many things at once. I have been in situations where I couldn’t move forward because the cash ran out or an investor changed their mind. It didn’t matter; I realized I had to pivot and keep moving forward but didn’t know what I was going to do. I spoke to many people, but I didn’t take a lot of advice.
Gut over advice
You will find many people want to give you advice, but when they do give advice, they won’t follow through with it. They are open to giving you ideas, but if the ideas don’t work, it is your fault and you are liable for finding a way that does work. Many people like giving advice, but they don’t want to be held accountable when their advice goes wrong or doesn’t work out. They want to take the credit for when it does. I was getting many different opinions from people who were determined to “help me,” but nothing was working out. Then, they would say that I didn’t try hard enough or wasn’t following their recommendations. The truth was that I was going beyond what was recommended to me, and it just wasn’t a match for where I was with my business. Most people don’t want to admit that their ideas likely will not work. I stopped listening to people a long time ago because they don’t understand my business’s depth, my goals, and my exact challenges. I would even share everything that I had already tested, and they would give me the same advice I already heard. Sometimes, they would give me some motivational advice.
Listen to your gut because it never lies. Hope this helps.