Let’s dig into small business advice
Every entrepreneur's journey is different. From the mistakes they make and roadblocks they overcome, to the milestones they hit, no one’s experience looks the same. The beauty of this is that everyone collects their own nuggets of wisdom along the way.
So let’s dig into what Collective members and former Campfire guests have learned about starting and running businesses. Read on for nine nuggets of unique advice for fellow entrepreneurs in the trenches:
I always push entrepreneurs to be cognizant of what limitations they set up in their head. Do not let the fact that you don’t have the money yet, or that you’re not in the accelerator yet, or that you’re not whatever, be the thing that deters you from pushing your path. If you’re meant to do this, you’re the one who’s gonna do this, but you have to drive it.
I was always told to have fun, and I pass that along because sometimes the work can be daunting when it’s just yourself. So find those parts that make it enjoyable and always have fun … If you can have a positive outlook, a positive attitude, and be happy, things will work out.
Collaboration, but collaboration with transparency, which we don’t do a lot. I think now that these kinds of communities exist, dialogue and communication is better, but you have to collaborate with others and give them the ability to shine and make magic together … Instead of having a spirit of competition, we need to dismantle competition and think about building communities, and most importantly, collaborating.
I would just say, trust the process. If you’ve been following me, you know that’s kind of been my motto lately, but it plays in just about every situation, especially if you are running up against any challenges or dealing with any type of hardships or adversity. If you keep moving forward and keep following the path that you are setting out on … if you are consistently putting in the time and the due diligence, then it’s going to pan out for you.
There is the reality of how lonely entrepreneurship can be. Even though I had a co-founder, I was still lonely at times … Find a community of people who understand what you’re going through. For me, I was very fortunate to have a few entrepreneurs that were close friends of mine, who actually understood what I was going through. My husband on the other hand, [is a] great supporter, but he didn’t get it, right? Having that support system is great, but having people around you who understand what you’re going through is really, really important.
I think the best advice I was ever given, and I like to share this with others, is good news travels fast because you like it to; bad news has to travel faster. People often don’t want to talk about when something blows up, when something goes wrong, or when you even think you have an inkling that something might be going wrong. But what your investors hate are surprises. What your team hates are surprises. And so when something bad happens, you have to let people know … because if they find out from somebody else, which they will, if you don't say that quickly enough, now they've lost faith in you, and they've lost trust.
You can work yourself ragged trying to “make it” … I’ve never seen or heard someone on their deathbed say that their one regret was that they didn’t get the salary they wanted, or that their startup never made it. Usually when you hear people’s deathbed confessions or regrets, it has to do with relationships. “I wish I spent more time with my kids,” “I wish I spent more time with my spouse or significant other,” “I wish I was a better friend,” or this or that. And I think over the years of experiencing loss, I’ve always tried my best to prioritize relationships over career accolades or advancement.
Many of us have sat through our lives like, “I wish I would have done something.” And so if you already have that going in you, I would say to just start. I started, I didn’t know what I was doing, and along the way could I have done things better? Of course. But I learned along the way, and I also continuously applied what I learned in real time … I was sitting there every week and going, okay, how did this week go? What could I have done differently?
Success is really just the opportunity to continue to fulfill the original vision. I’m inspired every day that I get a chance to keep up the good fight. I think that whatever idea is yours as an entrepreneur, it’s uniquely yours for a reason and you’ve got to be chasing to execute that vision. And I think that when you do that, that is what I would call success. When you get to a place where the original intent, the thing that you set out to do, exists out in the world, then you're successful.