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Dear Entrepreneur: It’s All Up to You

Dear Entrepreneur: It’s All Up to You


    When you are in the first few years of business it can be a roller-coaster ride. This is the case whether you still have a day job and you’re trying to start a business on the side, or whether you’ve jumped in with two feet and are ready to make something of yourself.

    I have some advice for you…it’s good news and bad news all rolled into one.

    It’s all up to you.

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    The Good News

    You control your time, you have the freedom to choose what to work on, you are an awesome person which means you have the opportunity to build an awesome company! Unlimited opportunity awaits!

    The Bad News

    You now have control. That’s like flying the plane after you have only read the manual. It is a different experience to read about business and actually have a business. You’ll also need to face the hard choices of working or being with your family. Or whether or not to take risks. Or how you are going to handle all of the requests of your customers and still do a good job.

    It’s Scary!

    Amos Winbush III was a songwriter, and started his own company. He now has a multimillion dollar company but here is what he said when he was first starting.

    “I was extremely scared. I was excited and really frightened at the exact same time that this company that we had dreamt about and started to develop was actually a reality and people were using the service. And it was all up to me. It wasn’t an idea at this point. It wasn’t something that was remaining within the four walls of my apartment which is where we launched CyberSynchs and it was actually on the market and people were using it and we had the responsibility of keeping these individuals contents secure and safe and accessible at any given time.”

    Your customers and clients will start to rely on you. Your family will start to rely on this income source that you control. The responsibility will keep growing and growing especially when you start having employees and start being responsible for other people’s families too.

    But everyone is scared at first. I am willing to bet that every new entrepreneur has had some sort of freak out. Just know that millionaires and ultra-successful people have done the same thing.

    You Are Not Entitled

    But we also need to remember and prepare for a lot of hard work. Even if you get past the scariness of it, you’ll still need to deliver in order to feed your family.

    I interviewed Michael Port, millionaire and best selling author of Booked Yourself Solid. I asked him about when he became an entrepreneur and he had these words of wisdom:

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    “When I left my corporate job and I just thought clients were going to fall into my lap. I left with my bonus. I figured okay I’ll be fine; it’ll give me a couple of months. Well here I am living in New York City, my rent was like $3,500 a month and that was like a small two bedroom in Long Island city and I’m blowing through my money.

    It was just a huge big scary experience. I said this is wrong. So I really put the pedal to the metal at that point. I think the first sort of big change that happened was for me to realize that I’m not entitled to anything. I thought I was entitled. I’ve worked hard and I’m an adult and blah, blah, blah. When it didn’t happen, I realized I’m not entitled. You know what, that means… I have to work, I have to do whatever it takes – 18 hours a day, I have to get over my fears.

    I‘ve got to be willing to be bold and fully self expressed and do things that I’ve never done before and really think bigger about who I am and what I offer the world.”

    Many entrepreneurs go through something similar to this when they start. They are told that being an entrepreneur is awesome, and that it’s so great to have the control. They jump in all excited and ready to go.

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    Then that moment hits when you realize it’s going to be a lot of long and hard work.

    That said, remember this quote from Ronco Johnson, a millionaire and President of L.R. Johnson & Associates:

    “We all come with two days – a start date and an end date. What you do between it, you have to make sure that everything you want to do is taken care of.”

    Well, I’m here to tell you that whether you draw the line in the sand and accept that it is hard or whether you decide it’s not right for you at this time…

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    It’s all up to you.

    (Photo credit: Confident Businessman via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

    You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

    Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

    “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

    It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

    Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

    As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

    As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

    Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

    Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

    1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

    When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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    Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

    2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

    Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

    But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

    If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

    Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

    3. Go to All Office Networking Events

    Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

    If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

    Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

    Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

    The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

    Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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    4. Show Initiative

    Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

    Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

    Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

    5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

    Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

    Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

    6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

    A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

    Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

    Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

    A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

    Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

    Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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    These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

    Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

    7. Find a Mentor

    With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

    Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

    Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

    Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

    8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

    After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

    What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

    Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

    Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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    You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

    9. Set Your Professional Bar High

    Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

    Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

    Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

    Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

    The Bottom Line

    Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

    “Half of life is showing up.”

    The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

    Remember, your career is your business!

    More About Continuous Growth

    Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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