“A kite goes into the air? It's not the kite; it's the air.” So said Pharrel Williams on Oprah. I like to say it takes a village. And, when it comes to women on the rise, bouncing back from adversity, and those who are at those pivotal points in their lives and careers, I am reminded of how important the “shine theory” has been in my life. I try to be a light to help others to shine—because others have done it for me, and I would not be where I am today without such a meaningful ecosystem.
We all have to start somewhere, somehow, someway no matter how challenging and unclear the future may look. And, without the right mindset, determination, courage, and unshakable confidence—combined with intelligence and sheer grit—we stand a very slim chance of succeeding.
Here are a few tips that helped me when I was a budding entrepreneur, many of which I discuss in greater detail in my new book, The Path Redefined: Getting To The Top On Your Own Terms. Just because you’re a budding entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’re supposed to wing it! We are here to win. Let me help get you started:1. Quickly find a way to add value.
You know your strengths. Use them. The early part of your entrepreneur’s journey should be spent creating and growing your business by using your expertise to catapult you forward. When you crush it with your core competencies, you de-risk the road ahead. While I am a firm believer in pushing yourself to learn new skills by getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, you can always branch out once you’ve laid a solid foundation.
2. Know your audience.
A large part of being a budding entrepreneur boils down to wearing many hats, and essentially being a ninja who gets whatever needs to be done—over and over again—until you’ve built something worthwhile. When you are required to be the “chief everything officer,” you must know who your audience is. Knowing how your audience will best receive your message is key, so that you can adapt your message to ensure that you are consistently understood. You achieve the results you desire by communicating in a way that resonates with your audience.3. Take advantage of opportunities for acceleration and growth.
All opportunities are not created equal—especially when you are talented and driven. You must learn which opportunities can accelerate you and your company. Learn to make room for opportunities that pave the way for you and your business to grow and thrive. The best part of being an entrepreneur is owning your own destiny. You control it by the decisions that can catapult your trajectory.4. Don’t just hire your friends for convenience.
Work with the best talent you can find, or afford to hire, not the most convenient talent. If you hire a friend for convenience instead of their competence, it will cost you well into the future.5. Let no one shake your confidence.
Entrepreneurship requires fortitude: mental, emotional, and physical fortitude to make magic happen every day. People will try to kick you when you’re down; they’ll doubt you, and life will throw you curveballs—but nothing should take your sense of pride or make your self-confidence waver. If you don’t take yourself seriously, then no one else will, either.
Mastering these skills, and learning to combine them throughout your career, will make you an irresistible entrepreneur who is ready to take the world by storm!
Lauren Maillian Bias is a serial entrepreneur, and the author of the Amazon-bestselling business memoir, The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms. In 2011, she was recognized at The White House by the Kauffman Foundation as an Empact100 Award honoree, the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 and named by Essence magazine to the Class of 2013 African-American Shot Callers, she is the Founder and CEO of Luxury Market Branding, a strategic marketing company, and is an investor and advisor to early-stage venture-backed mobile and consumer facing technology-enabled companies.
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