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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

                      More by this author

                      Tanvir Zafar

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

                      15 Organization Apps to Boost Your Personal Productivity How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques 10 Successful Entrepreneurs Stories About Getting Through Tough Times 15 Best Entrepreneurs Books to Start Reading Now to Be Successful 20 Best Places to Work for a Great Career in 2019

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                      11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                      11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                      Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

                      Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

                      “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

                      While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

                      The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

                      What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

                      The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

                      1. Cloud Computing

                      “Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

                      There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

                      This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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                      2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

                      Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

                      Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

                      his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

                      3. Data Management

                      All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

                      We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

                      However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

                      4. Scheduling

                      Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

                      An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

                      5. Financial Skills

                      These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

                      While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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                      6. Research Skills

                      These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

                      Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

                      So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

                      If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

                      If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

                      7. Marketing Skills

                      While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

                      Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

                      While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

                      8. Network Security Specialist

                      Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

                      So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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                      9. Communication Skills

                      At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

                      Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

                      10. Computer Programming

                      I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

                      11. Graphic Design

                      As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

                      Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

                      That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

                      Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

                      You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

                      Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

                      Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

                      Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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                      This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

                      You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

                      But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

                      Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

                      In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

                      Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

                      And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

                      The Bottom Line

                      We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

                      We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

                      We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

                      As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

                      More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

                      Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
                      [2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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