Most entrepreneurs in America would agree that working your way to success is challenging. It’s common for businesses to open and close, with half of them not making it to the five-year mark. It’s also something that entrepreneurs often have to pave their own trail for, according to one successful serial entrepreneur, rather than looking for a standard blueprint for success.
You don’t have to follow someone else’s model or steps to achieve your goals, success has different meanings for different people. It’s worth taking the time to define what success means for you. It could even be achieving an ideal balance between work and family, traveling, or being surrounded by people that you enjoy working with. Determine what success means for you, then figure out what it will take you to get there.”
No stranger to business and overcoming hurdles, I am a serial entrepreneur, with over 20 years of strategic and financial experience. I co-founded several businesses, served on several boards as an advisor, spoken at events to inspire entrepreneurs, young women, and nonprofit leaders, as well as focus on the social enterprise sector thru the Coin Up app. In fact I, recently accepted the “2017 Start Up Tech of the Year” Pinnacle Award from Athena San Diego, a prestigious women’s organization supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She also holds a master’s in business administration degree from MIT/Sloan School of Business that focuses on finance and entrepreneurship.
I’ve achieved my own success because I was able to think and execute “outside the box” when it came to innovative ideas. I didn’t follow what others may consider a typical path to success. Instead, I considered what brought me happiness and what it would take to define me as being happy. I then set out to pave my own way in order to meet those goals. In addition to determining your own definition of success, here are my tips for paving your own way toward your entrepreneurial success:
Be Real. Don’t change who you are to make someone else happy. We all have met people or been surrounded by people we want to get validation from. Sometimes, this takes you out of your own zone to believe that you need to act quicker and say the right thing in order to be “right” or earn someone’s validation. There is never enough of that validation and you will continue to have an empty space that is never content because that validation is not authentic for you. By staying in your own zone and using your own compass, you will attract the right people at the right time to build up you and your company. That kind of validation is not always easy to achieve, but it is definitely more rewarding.
Take Time and Build Knowledge. When you are contemplating starting your own business have patience. You don’t have to make any sudden decisions and there is not really a limit on time on when you must start. Take the time to research, talk to experts about every angle of your idea, and build a business plan for yourself. When you accumulate knowledge, you gain strength and comfort in your ideas and your abilities. Be an expert at whatever you decide to do!
Know Before You Go. Be prepared for meetings with advisors, clients, and peers. Do your homework on who you are meeting with, why you are meeting them, what you need out of the meetings. Going in prepared makes you look professional, responsible, and authentic, and will get you a second meeting or another connection if you need it.
Learn Your Audience. When speaking, know who you are presenting to because your conversation must be directed for your audience. It could be clients, strategic partners, team members, or general networking. This is not only important when you are presenting formally, but even in your everyday business conversations. Being succinct and informative to your audience will take you a long way toward looking and being successful.
Surround yourself with the right people. Get incredible team members who fill your lack of knowledge. You don’t need to know all the answers, just surround yourself with those who do. It takes a team to build a business with experts in every area. You have to work together with this team to create a comprehensive business model at every angle.
In my case I created Coin Up, an innovative mobile app that provides a platform for donors to give effortlessly and securely to their favorite charitable cause. Once downloaded and registered, the app will round up purchases made on your credit card or debit card and directly send funds to your chosen charity each month. The app is free to download and has been designed to simplify giving by using incremental spare change to create major social impact. Coin Up’s mission is to create a society that engages in charitable giving through the convenience of everyday transactions.
So, take a chance, don’t undersell yourself, be prepared, get excited, and get smart. There is more than one way to become successful and if you take the time to know what that means for you and map out how you will get there, the happiness factor and self-validation are truly priceless! Entrepreneurship is an incredible journey of the business, the people you meet, and your own self.