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Published on July 1, 2019

10 Successful Entrepreneurs Stories About Getting Through Tough Times

10 Successful Entrepreneurs Stories About Getting Through Tough Times

We all face challenges, regardless of what field we choose to operate in. In our little way, we have developed mechanisms to help us fight them. And while these tactics might not necessarily be the same, we all have stories about how they’ve worked for us — and in some cases, how they’ve not worked.

So, to help keep you in check, here are 10 successful entrepreneurs stories which are also some intense challenges that all businesses face. You will also find expert advice from professionals concerning how they they deal with these challenges.

1. Jeff Brodsly: Working Through Tight Finances

    How do you keep yourself and your business engaged when you don’t have sufficient funds to continue operating?

    Finances are the engine which drives your business, and a lack of sufficient funds is especially dire when you have an innovation or a means to, and you have just so many developments that need to be made before your product can launch.

    Still, there’s no cash.

    It’s a problem that Jeff Brodsly, Co-Owner of Elite Merchant Solutions, is all too familiar with. The company set out to provide merchant account setup services across the country, and things didn’t always start so rosy. However, his solution always comes in the form of compartmentalizing.

    He said,

    “Compartmentalize… when budgets got real lean, I compartmentalized the immediate pain of a tight budget and kept the long term goal in mind.”

    2. Doug Burgoyne: Work-Related Stress

      When the stress of the business gets excessive, how do you keep yourself form capitulating?

      You can’t have a business without necessarily going through some stressful times. These periods make you question your motives for even owning the business, and they could cause you to begin doubting whether you truly can pull through.

      However, it is important for you to keep your eyes focused on the vision of your business and where you see yourself going to. You built a vision for your business at the onset, and you have status or situation or place where you see yourself. Never lose sight of that, as it is what will give you the drive to keep going.

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      Doug Burgoyne, President of Frogbox said,

      “My philosophy on managing my attitude when things are stressful focuses around four things: Mission, Vision, Values and a Realistic view of the financial situation.”

      3. Retha Sandler: Feeling Stuck In Business

        Is there any way to work around multiple commitments?

        Time and task management are two things that you will need to develop as a business owner. Managing multiple tasks over a short period of time will come to be an invaluable skill as you move on down the timeline of your business, and you need to understand how to merge both.

        However, it is also important for you to understand which tasks take priority and which might affect the mold you’re looking to build. These should be given your attention.

        Retha Sandler, President of Blamtastic said,

        “I make 100 decisions a day, 99 of which I don’t want to think about. The little things cannot be ignored and take up a big portion of your time as a business owner, but keeping the big picture in focus is vital to survival.”

        4. Loredo Rucchin: Handling Online Staffing Problems

          In a world where things move rapidly, what are the basics that my business needs?

          In most times, it becomes impossible for you to scale through certain challenges on your own. That’s why you’ve got employees and a team of people working on a project with you.

          So, make sure that you hire the right crop of people to help you scale these challenges, and you can be secure in the fact that they’ve got your back as well.

          Loredo Rucchin, CEO of JukeBoxPrint, said,

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          “As you grow, your challenges will change dramatically. If you are operating your business mostly or even partially online, you need a good IT team (yes, you need to hire multiple people) to keep your website stable, secure and operating smoothly.”

          5. Adam Anthony: Obstacle To Your Position

            As the head of a business or company, how do you tackle people or situations that threaten your authority?

            Hostile takeover attempts are common. How do you navigate them?

            The issue of holding your own when challenges come is an important one, because at the end of the day, it is what will determine your mettle as a leader and whether you truly have what it takes.

            Well, instead of cowering out, develop a mindset that enjoys these challenges.

            Adam Anthony, CEO of Creo Care, said,

            “To maintain a healthy perspective we take inventory of the great attributes of our company… Instead of cringing at challenges, we try to savor them… and reflect upon past triumphs.”

            6. Mohan Varkey: Difficult Media And Public Perception

              When change does come, it is important for you to be ready. You might have to pivot, but keep in mind that your core business practices don’t necessarily need to switch as well.

              You’re who you are, and sticking to that can help you keep your identity as you pivot.

              How do you handle people seeing you in a difficult light?

              Be a friend and keep the consistency up.

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              The public is your major market, and it is important that these people see you as a friend who is willing to help out. That’s the only way they will be guaranteed to patronize you

              Also, as Mohan Varkey CEO, of Zebra Blinds once said,

              Keep in mind that consistency is key. You don’t necessarily have to stick to the same old thing, but ensure that you’re consistently good at one thing to keep your business running.

              7. Dave DuPont: Handling Unplanned Change

                When an unanticipated dynamic is thrown into the mix, what is the best approach?

                Change is an issue that some businesses never see coming. It could be a switch in the market or an innovation that threatens to make what you do obsolete.

                It is also important for you to know- especially in your early days- that there is always an opportunity or a potential for you to pivot. Some businesses end up flipping their blueprint and moving into a model that wasn’t there from the start. If it’s essential to your business survival, then “zag” your perspective.

                Dave DuPont, CEO of Teamsnap said,

                “Perspective allows me to know that just about any successful business does not follow the plan it starts out with… Groupon [for example] was originally a cause-based message board. Call it adjusting or pivoting, whatever. I call it ‘zagging.'”

                8. Ellen Rohr: Getting Ready For A Shake-Up

                  When change comes, how do you deal with it, especially if it has the potential to make my company obsolete?

                  A way to ensure that you’re ready for the inevitable change is seeping a holistic view of things. The problem that a lot of business heads and owners make is never keeping a view on the various things that could drive their businesses, and it ends up coming back to haunt them.

                  Being a leader is understanding the facts and knowing how your business progresses along a certain curve. Be in the know.

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                  Ellen Rohr, public speaker and president of Ellen Rohr ZOOM DRAIN – Zoom Franchise Company said,

                  “Once a week, I review my business plan, review our top projects list, look through the marketing calendar and the financials. I believe you plan or get planned for.”

                  9. Christian T. Russell: Defying Existential Crises

                    If you’ve had a business for a long time, then you’ll understand what it means to have an existential business crisis. Essentially, it is a challenge that is so significant, and it makes you wonder why you built your business in the first place and whether you truly have what it takes to pull through

                    When these times come, the solution is to remain resolute in the fact that you understand your purpose for being here. Challenges will come, but that conviction in your identity will keep you standing.

                    Christian T. Russell, President of Dangerous TACTICS, said,

                    “You HAVE to know your purpose for running your company in the first place! Why does your business exist? Who do you serve? What do they need most from you, right now? 99% of business owners do not take the time for this introspection.”

                    10. J.T. O’Donnell: Getting A Challenge For Control Of Your Business

                      There is always a chance of people looking to believe that they’re more essential to your business than you are. You get threats over what you can and can’t do, and it could even seem that people might want to hamstring you at some points in time.

                      So assure yourself of your purpose here.

                      Challenges could be internal (within the company) or external (from outside sources it could be competitors, customers, or contractors). When these happen, keep in mind that you own the business and there’s a place you’re going to. This will fuel you to deal with any such conflict.

                      J.T. O’Donnell, President of advocacy and career consulting firm, Work It Daily said,

                      “I remind myself that nobody is making me do this. I chose to build a company… I can stop if I want. This always reminds me that I’d be miserable doing anything else.”

                      Final Thoughts

                      Challenges are a part of every business journey, and you need to be ready to tackle them. Using any of these tips from bonafide entrepreneurs, you can easily get things done and reach a stage where challenger are unable to surmount you anymore.

                      More About Entrepreneurship

                      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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                      Tanvir Zafar

                      The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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                      Last Updated on April 6, 2020

                      How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

                      How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

                      Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

                      Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

                      Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

                      But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

                      Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

                      Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

                      What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

                      As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

                      What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

                      Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

                      Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

                      Types of Career Changes at 50+

                      There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

                      Industry Career Change

                      In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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                      With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

                      An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

                      This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

                      Functional Career Change

                      A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

                      For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

                      In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

                      Double Career Change

                      This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

                      An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

                      When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

                      With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

                      Entrepreneurial Career Change

                      Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

                      After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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                      By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

                      Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

                      A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

                      Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

                      So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

                      1. Deal with the Fear

                      As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

                      If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

                      I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

                      It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

                      2. Know Your “Why”

                      It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

                      Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

                      3. Be Realistic

                      Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

                      This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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                      Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

                      4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

                      Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

                      An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

                      The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

                      5. Update Your Skills

                      Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

                      The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

                      Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

                      6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

                      Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

                      Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

                      Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

                      Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

                      7. Overhaul Your Resume

                      Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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                      When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

                      Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

                      8. Know Your Timeline

                      There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

                      Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

                      There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

                      Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

                      Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

                      And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

                      Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

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                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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