If you’re right at the start of your entrepreneurial journey, it can be down-right daunting and at times, overwhelming. But you are not alone. In fact, almost every entrepreneur will tell you that they felt exactly the same way in the beginning. If I had the chance to tell myself five key things right back in the beginning, this is what I’d say:
1. Feed Your Gut Instinct
If I had a dollar for every time an entrepreneur told me they should have listened to their gut, I would be very rich — but they are so right. As an entrepreneur, you have to create your own sixth sense, based on your ability to draw on all the pockets of information you have stored inside your brain and hearts to make clever, intuitive decisions at every turn, bringing together both natural and nurtured skills. Learning to rely on your intuition also comes from learning about yourself — every corner of your psyche — and becoming aware of the good, bad, ugly, and wonderful that makes you. Then you work out situations where you can best trust yourself and put tools, mechanisms and structure in place to fill your short falls.
2. Make Some (Mental) Space
I’m often seen sprinting out of the bathroom in the office yelling, “I just had the best idea ever!” That’s the throne where the real magic happens. I also have some of my greatest “aha” moments in the shower, when I’m not distracted by people, emails and I can’t check my iPhone. Constantly.
We’ve been conditioned from school to think that we’re at our most productive when sitting at a desk. And maybe that is true for some people. But I find that it’s not in meetings or scheduled brainstorming sessions where creativity really hits me, something well-documented of other creatives throughout history. It’s the moments in between, when you give yourself space, freedom and flexibility to stop thinking so methodically, to stop trying so hard, and make room for ideas to arrive.
3. Explore The Real World
The walls of my office are covered in pictures ripped from books, old journals, and magazines. My entire office is a vision board of the life I want to manifest; the places I dream of visiting, the quotes I want to live by, the mountains I want to metaphorically and literally climb. But, these photographs are just reminders of where I want to be — they’re not a replacement for actually visiting, touching, feeling and experiencing. This is why — no matter how busy I am — I make time to get out in the real world and explore.
Recently, I took my design department out for a few hours in the bohemian back streets of a suburb in my hometown city of Sydney, Australia. We spent the afternoon strolling around second-hand bookstores, looking at graffiti, the kooky people wandering by, soaking up the street life, color and energy. Studies have shown the most creative people are those who see the world from different perspectives and have experienced different cultures, worldviews and extreme experiences. I couldn’t agree more!
4. Find A Part-Time Passion
Every week I meet people who say they’re fed up with their nine-to-five jobs, but they can’t leave because they feel tied to their mortgage, their responsibilities. I get it. We’re grownups. But that’s still not a reason not to pursue a passion, even if it’s the cherry on the top of the cake of your life, rather than the main meal. A friend’s partner is by day a corporate bigwig and by night designs rocketships (I don’t really understand this, but it seems incredible to me). I have a friend who is a lawyer, but also a DJ, and recently met a guy who works in advertising but is a butcher in his spare time. OK, you may never be able to give up your day job (and you might never want to), but it could add an extra layer to your life that you never imagined.
5. Don’t Chase Money
Shortly after I came up with the idea for Collective Hub, I was approached by a friend who was, at the time, a partner at a major law firm. He was leaving his job and wondered if I wanted to head up an online book distribution company that he planned to launch? He looked straight at me with an open bank account… It was in that moment that I knew no amount of money could detract me from moving ahead with my own dream and vision. Although it might sound amazing, instead of a stable, substantial salary I chose to launch a magazine, into a challenging market, when I had no magazine experience (and I mean absolutely none!). Although money is important to give you freedom and clout to make changes, it’s not my driving force. The currency I really value is contentment, community spirit and the hundreds of emails I get from readers every week, thanking Collective Hub for helping and inspiring them. You’ll know when you pinpoint your passion, because you’ll be excited, terrified and energized to make it a reality (even if it looks like a huge risk on paper and your bank manager doesn’t agree).
Lisa Messenger is the author of Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur. Speaking to the new generation of innovators, game changers, and disrupters who want to succeed in a fast changing and often vexing world, Daring and Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur is a personal and honest chronicle of Lisa Messenger’s various business endeavors, including her shrewd launch of her innovative entrepreneurial magazine, Collective Hub.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.