4 Lessons & a Secret Weapon: What It Takes to Succeed
The word entrepreneur conjures so many ideas. Freedom. Boss. Luxury. Success. Life on my own terms. More time with friends and family. 4 hour work weeks. Private jets and bathing in champagne. Okay, maybe not so much the last one, but I think you understand my point.
When I dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur, I was excited to become my own boss to do my own thing. I trudged along in my corporate job, all the while burning the midnight oil creating my business. I mean, what could go wrong? I came from a family of entrepreneurs. I learned leadership the right way from my nonprofit days. I walked away from corporate with an amazing education in business with the confidence that I knew how to run a business. Exactly, I knew how to run a business. My wake-up call came when I realized that running a business is very different from starting one. My aha moment led me to begin my journey to entrepreneurship via Google and YouTube.
What I learned on Google and YouTube:
#1 Strategies for marketing.
#2 Strategies for social media.
#3 Strategies for making money.
#4, 5, & 6 Strategies, Strategies, Strategies
#7 How to build my website.
Strategies are amazing. I HEART them, but when you don’t know when and where to use them, it’s just a cluster F*CK of competing information and to-do lists. While they were sometimes helpful, for the most part, it felt as though I had signed up to voluntarily and repeatedly drown myself in overwhelm.
Amid my drowning, I desperately sought a life raft. I spent tons of money and racked up a lot of debt trying to find that life raft. While not all of my money was spent well, it was worth it. I learned a lot about myself, about coaching, about what I truly needed in order to make my big goals a reality. Learn from my heartache and allow me to save you several thousand dollars by giving you the four things I wish I had learned sooner.
Get help as soon as you can. If you’re doing something new, doing it without help is akin to hitting a piñata. You’re swinging away giving it your best effort only to swing and miss. After much effort on your part, BOOM, you finally hit it. But, actually you didn't. You hit some innocent bystander. So, you apologize and try again hoping this time you'll get lucky enough to hit your target. The thing is, you didn’t leave your job to "hopefully make it." You started your side hustle to create your own path, so why are you leaving it to chance? Let me be frank with you. I've worked with two coaches and connected to some amazing women who I mastermind with for free, and I've learned that getting help isn’t about the price tag. It’s about seeking out people who know more than you and are willing to help guide you. It’s about telling your ego to go F*CK off so you can finally admit that you don’t know what you don’t know and get the help you need. Now, let me finish the piñata metaphor. Getting help is like someone taking off the blindfold, turning you toward the piñata, so all you have left to do is swing.
Fall in love with the boredom. Recently while listening to a podcast, the interviewer asked his guest, “What’s the difference between professional athletes and other athletes?” His guest responded with something that blew my mind with its simplicity, “They fall in love with the boredom.” He explained that success comes down to consistency, and being consistent can be boring. We have been misled to believe that our passion will keep the fire lit, but passion burns out in the middle of boredom in real life. Professional athletes train every single day, often multiple times a day. Their routine can get mundane with the waking up, eating, working out, eating, working out, eating, sleeping all just to repeat it the next day. Pro-athletes are driven to succeed, so they do the necessary work. It’s simple, but then again, they’re professionals! Never fear, there is good news! All of us have the same ability to do what the professionals do. It isn’t a superpower or an amazing trait that has been passed down from your ancestors. It’s one simple word, and it's called choice. Ouch! I know this isn’t a very pleasant truth. Believe me when I say I understand. I’ve swallowed this very bitter pill as well which leads me to the next lesson.
Mindset trumps strategy any day of the week. When people work with me, the first thing they want to do is figure out what strategies will help them win the day. They’re often disappointed when I tell them that their problem is all in their minds. Your mindset will keep you from getting help, being consistent, doing the work, and taking action. It will keep you from doing the things you should, convince you to do the things you shouldn’t, or heck, to do nothing at all. All of that starts with your head, not with your strategy. This is a bubble burster for so many, but that’s a good thing. The sooner the bubble bursts, the sooner you can get your mind clear and head in the game.
Action is your best friend. I’m a recovering Asian aka perfectionist, people-pleaser, the list goes on. My point is that I want everything to be perfect before I do anything. What I’ve learned is that until I actually do it, I can’t perfect it. Even more shocking to my perfectionist’s soul is that there is no such thing as perfect. Hold the phone, SAY WHAT?!?! Yes, folks, perfection is simply procrastination dressed in fancy-schmancy heels. You can spread the word when we’re done here, but first, let’s talk about the cure. You’ve probably already guessed it - it’s action. Action is the cure to your business woes. When you take action and launch that new business - you’ll get feedback. People will love it or hate it. That’s great because now you know what to do next. When you take action and tell someone what you do, you get to see their expression. That expression will be disinterest or excitement. That teaches you that you need to tweak what you're saying or find the right audience to say it to. The point here is that action is your best friend, she will tell you what strategy won’t. She’ll tell you if it works, if it’s broken or what’s missing. While strategy gives you a plan, action will tell you if that plan is working or not. The majority of the time when someone tells me their strategy isn’t working, it's because they aren’t taking action and they aren’t being consistent.
I’ve learned hundreds of lessons, but these are the 4 that have been crucial to my success and they’re the foundation for anyone who wants to succeed. I wish I had learned them sooner. It’s not the time and energy I wasted that kills me, it was the fact that I had no clue I was wasting it. When you know you're messing up you can fix it, but if it’s new to you, you have nothing to measure it against. Don’t get me wrong, mistakes are great teachers, but sometimes it’s nice to learn the lesson without having to make the mistakes.
While these 4 lessons are crucial, it would be cruel not to tell you about a key component, your secret weapon, and that is persistence. You’ll need persistence to find someone, the right someone, to help you. Persistence will keep you going even when it gets boring. Persistence will help you master your mindset over and over again. Persistence will be the key to take action like it’s going out of style. When everyone else has given up, persistence will keep you going. Success doesn’t come to everyone who starts the journey simply because they didn’t engage this secret weapon. Success comes to those who don’t quit and are willing to problem solve until they get it. You see, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there or whether or not you have to crawl to the finish line, it only matters that you finish. And beauty, you can finish.
Kai Alday is a coach, speaker, and trainer for moms who are ready to make their side hustle their only hustle without sacrificing any more time with their family. She helps overworked and exhausted high achieving moms make their dream life and business a reality.