When you're starting out as an entrepreneur, there's often no mentors, no words of advice that you can grip on to, or an exact roadmap to follow. You often find yourself knee-deep in the Google search bar, looking for any answers that you can find to connect the dots as an early-stage founder. Social capital is just as significant as financial capital. In fact, it's a necessary ingredient that is overlooked or underestimated.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us." — Wilma Rudolph
Our first advice is to surround yourself with people who believe in your mission. There is a significant power in collective energy, and these are the individuals that will be your biggest champions as you pursue your dreams. Entrepreneurship is often more about creating social value, more so than financial reward, so it is imperative that you love your surroundings if you're going to be successful long-term.
To keep that momentum going, we asked a few BGV Connect members what some of the best pieces of advice that they were given on their journey were. We hope these words give you a bit of inspiration or, better yet, deepen your clarity.
Just start... don't let anyone make you feel like you don't belong in your space!
Take risks, and eventually, the money will follow. Spend money to make money. Claim your value and worth. Do what you love, and it will not feel like work.
A very dear friend coined these statements, simply powerful and helps creativity and production. "Your greatest pain is pregnant with your greatest purpose. You're perfect for your purpose." "When your What is clear, the How will appear, when the Why is clear, you have the power to persevere." Pray, you're inspired—many blessings.
I shared this advice with another group that I'm in, and they loved it, so I'll share it here as well.
Hire the money makers! Sometimes we can get bogged down with who to hire first--- the social media marketer, SEO content writer--- but you won't be able to keep anyone on staff long term if they aren't helping you generate revenue quickly. Running paid ads in business will help you generate leads the fastest (depending on what business you're in and what the goals are). Other moneymakers can be contract or grant writers as an example or an insurance billing specialist.
The advice I would offer is to have a strategic plan that was born out of a SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, and market research. Also, conduct a quarterly SWOT analysis.
LLC, EIN, Bank Account. Freebie, then charge. Use Social Media strategically. Find a circle and a mentor! Then be a mentee! Look at the bigger picture and make genuine connections (you don't need a large network but also a good network). Workout, maintain a life away from your business, but understand you are your BRAND! Fail, fall, make a mistake, OWN IT, then do better, fix it, work on it, never stop asking questions and growing, be ready to pivot and shift!
Trust the process. Never compare anyone else's journey to your own. Find a support system, especially if you are starting out as a solopreneur.
I was told to do it scared but just do it. Start.
Failure is inevitable; learning and growing are guaranteed... Don't be afraid of someone stealing your idea; your general idea is not new or unique, but YOU are. Trust and believe in yourself and your creativity, and all else follows. Be diligent and work with those who matter. Find your tribe and keep yourself... Being scared means your growing and ready, so just start!... Don't hold on to your dreams for fear of failure or the unknown. You already failed if you do, and you will never know if you don't.
Hire your weaknesses! You do not have to be an expert in everything but know enough to know when something's wrong.
Minimize your anxiety about what you can't control.
Know your worth and don't settle
Cynthia R. Johnson
A business friend and colleague taught me. "The difference between networking and not working is one little letter. If you're not NETWORKING, you're NOT WORKING." Last week, I did a webinar, mentioned the same, and added: Don't let that one letter stop you or hold you back from your success.
Let us know which one resonated with you the most.