People want success. Most, though, don’t know what needs to happen to become “successful.” Even the word itself has misconceptions. As an entrepreneur, or someone who wants to become one, there are some key pieces of information you should know.
1. Work harder than anyone you know.
Hard work gets you everywhere. Though it may seem obvious, you would be surprised at how many people expect success to happen overnight. This simply is not the case. Anyone in your life who has success almost always works harder than everyone you know. As a business woman in a small town, people often assume I had monetary aid from family to get myself started, but that’s not true in the slightest. In fact, my father could barely read or write. The work ethic he instilled in me, though, has given me the tools I’ve needed to find success. Every day, I give 100%—and that’s just how it has to be. You don’t reach success by twiddling your thumbs and dreaming for it to happen. You have to make it happen.
Even before starting my entrepreneurship journey, I spent my high school days buried in my books and managed to graduate a year early. And for college, I managed to do the same with a degree in Government and a 3.87 GPA. Work ethic is essential to propelling yourself forward in your business. If you’re someone who feels like they could work harder, then do. When you look around at your friends and colleagues, you should be the one who works the hardest. Measure your success by how hard you work, not by your numbers or statistics. Those are important, of course, but basing your entire business on achieving a certain profit rather than applying a bunch of elbow grease won’t get you very far. Focus on the activities, the lead indicators rather than the lag indicators.
2. When it’s time to turn it off, turn it off.
All that being said, when it’s time to stop working, you have to stop. There is no benefit to pushing beyond healthy limits…not for long anyway. When people ask me how I sleep at night, I tell them I sleep great! That’s the truth, too, because when it’s time to put my work down, I put it down and let my mind rest. You are no good to your business when you’re exhausted.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, “Well, I simply can’t think about that now. I’ll go crazy if I do. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” That’s the attitude you need to have when approaching your work. You can’t solve all the world’s problems at 3 o’clock in the morning. I have no trouble sitting back and watching Real Housewives when I get home because I know I have done everything I could during that work day. If I can’t solve the problem right then and there, I don’t worry about it. If you find yourself unable to come up with solutions and only worry about the outcome, put it down. Come back to it when you can solve that problem. There’s nothing wrong with putting something down that can’t immediately by solved. Your mind will be all the clearer for responsibly using your energy.
3. Put your money in a better bank.
A lot of retail owners (for example… one of my past businesses) start to get stubborn when things aren’t going their way. They get caught up in the profits and try to get back every penny they spent on merchandise that maybe doesn’t do as well as they thought it would. The key is to know when to let go. Getting stubborn and digging in your heels when a product doesn’t sell won’t get you anywhere. Instead, adjust. For example, back when I owned a clothing store, we bought a ton of velvet items one year because we thought they’d really take off. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. We were a bit ahead of the trend on that one for our area. When you’re running a business, that sort of thing is bound to happen, but rather than sticking to the price that would get us our money back, I told my team to lower the price to whatever people would be willing to pay. Did we technically lose some profit? Yes, in the short term, but not as much as we would have if we’d left the prices high. We didn’t get all our money back, but we got some, which enabled us to put that money back into items that WERE popular. And THAT is how we got the money back.
My mom used to always say, “Put your money in a better bank.” That’s how you move forward in your business. Putting your money in a “bank” that isn’t treating you well won’t get you anywhere. Put your money in the bank that will pay you with interest.
4. No one has arrived.
This is where the big misconception about success comes in. There’s this idea floating around that in order to be successful, you have to “arrive” at success’s door and then you never have to work again in your life. Of course, this isn’t true. Success is a daily endeavor. Taking the time to look at yourself and ask, “What can I do to improve?” will get you far—in your business and in life. Find some things you can improve on and take the time to get better. If you’re stagnant, your business will be stagnant. Keep your mind active and your ideas flowing. The minute you stop growing as a person, your business will stop growing, too.
One of the best quotes I ever heard is
“Success isn’t owned, it’s rented. And the rent is due every day.” – JJ Watt
So now what?
Take this advice with you into your daily life. Over time, you’ll find that the way you run your business—and the way you run your mind—will change for the better. You may start to understand why successful people don’t think about everything turning to gold at their touch. Instead, they think about everything they need to do today, and they get it done.
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