Tag Archives: business

Experiment … Live a Little … Live A Lot

13 Jun

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It seems like safety and security have taken a more important place in peoples lives, especially with the economy suffering the past several years.  I get it.  Having a comfortable place to live, a steady paycheck and money in the bank is important to most people and makes us generally feel better.   Whether your definition of “secure” involves food on the table and gas in the car or multiple homes and vacations in France we build up lives and have expectations about what stability looks like.  When we do not have it life becomes more stressful.

The challenge is not to sacrifice life for stability.  Yes they are two completely different things.  Life, living vibrantly, requires experimenting and trying new things.  Doing the same thing day in and day out without experiencing new challenges is like a slow death.  I see it in so many people that I know.  Feeling stuck in a job, town, relationship or lifestyle they give up on trying to achieve their goals and loose the spark that comes from keeping your dreams alive.  They have settled for a stable life vs. the one they always dreamed of.  For years I did it too.  My life was good.  It was stable and secure.  However it was not what I dreamed of.  I was not challenged.  I was not vibrant or creative.  I was stuck and I was bored.  I sensed myself loosing more of my spark every year until I was someone that was boring and a strange version of me.  In conversations I stopped discussing my visions and ideas because those around me looked at me like I was from a different universe.  “You mean you don’t want to do the same thing every day for the rest of your life and live in this cozy neighborhood?”  Thinking outside the box of social norms was not promoted so eventually I stopped talking about things that actually mattered to me and slowly lost brain power in the process.

Deciding to risk things and change my situation I started thinking of ideas.  I looked around and started paying attention to things I could do better, services I could provide, demands I could meet and started brainstorming.  Standing at the whiteboard, pen in hand I felt liberated because I was allowing myself to think outside of the box and dream again.  The freedom that I felt by simply letting my mind work creatively was fantastic.  I was hooked and could not stop.  I allowed myself to stop worrying about what if things did not work and start thinking about what if they do. I spent months doing that before taking the steps to launch a company.  I went through countless ideas narrowing it down to what I wanted to start with first.  I conducted market research and I jumped.

I had no safety net to fall back to so the only solution was to make it work.  Having a lack of financial stability caused stress that I did not enjoy but instead of focusing on that I focused on my dream and put my effort into making it work.  I have had to revise my vision multiple times.  Along the way I have tried things that have been failures.  It is disappointing but I have not let myself dwell on them for a moment longer than needed to learn.   I have tried others with various levels of success.  When I start out I can not guarantee success or failure.  The only way to find out is to try.  This means that I will fall down many times but each time I get up I will be wiser and stronger and when I do hit home runs they are that much sweeter because I can appreciate each success.

Great scientist and inventors will tell you that they try multiple versions of things in order to get it precisely right.  Many dedicate their entire lives to finding solutions to our problems.  They keep experimenting, keep learning and adjust course as needed.  The same is true for business.  No matter how many wins or losses I have in my life I will never stop experimenting.  I will never again settle for stability because I would rather live a life that is vibrant, full of color, risk and reward then a life that is safe yet slowly destroying the spark within me.  I encourage you to try something new today even if simply letting your mind be open to dream.

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Have Fun!

27 Apr

Yes that is a tip!  We forget to stop and enjoy ourselves way too easily.  I am an entrepreneur and the reason why is because I love it.  I thoroughly enjoy creating things.  I could spend hours at a white board with a pen, beer and good music while brainstorming ideas with my partner.  Many of my friends think that is crazy but I genuinely enjoy it.  Business is my hobby.  I have the most fun during the creative process.  I do not stop to analyze the market or create a logistics plan.  I simply let the ideas and thoughts flow freely, enjoying every minute of it.  As business owners it is so easy to get caught up in the daily activities of running an organization without stopping to do what we enjoy the most. Taking that time is so vital to us personally and to the success of our organization.  When we feel alive and excited we infuse that energy into those around us.  When we aren’t having fun and start dragging we drag others down.  While counterintuitive to a driver, get it done mentality we must remember that if productivity and results are our aim having fun should be incorporated into our business on a regular basis.  This is a reminder to me and you to stop, relax, smile and take the time to enjoy yourself.

The Enticing “New Idea”

3 Apr

Someone recently described me as enthusiastic.  It’s true -I am.  I approach everything with gusto and determination.  As a visionary I constantly have new ideas and cannot help but consider how to do things better.  For example when going through a local coffee drive through I ordered my standard latte, they got my order wrong – three times, and were completely flustered.  After several experiences like this I determined that this major corporation had clearly lost site of its hiring and training objectives and its employees were no longer embracing the company vision, if they even understood it.  I, of course, could solve that problem by combining top HR and management consultants to overhaul their hiring practices, retool their training curriculum and teach management how to engage their employees.  I could and I would because I, yes I, am Superwoman!

The problem is could and should are not the same thing.  While three bad latte experiences put my mind into overdrive, creating business plans and ideas, the reality is my current companies needed 100% of my attention and redirecting my focus, all or in part, simply was not smart so the coffee situation will for now remain unchanged unless another superhero decides to save the day.

While enthusiasm is key for an entrepreneur it is also key to learn when to say yes to new opportunities, when our plate is empty enough to successfully take on new challenges, and when to wait.  Timing is important and to know when to leap we must first analyze our current situation and commitments.

Ask yourself:

1) If I scaled back in my current business is there someone in the organization that can step into my place?

If the answer is no you need to wait.  Identify what tasks you are currently doing that can be taught to someone else.  Focus on training people within your organization to do some of the more basic tasks.  As they become proficient in these things your time should begin to free up slightly.  If you stepping away in part is not possible you may need to look for an entire replacement.  If that person is not found within your organization speak with the rest of your leadership team and consider hiring an recruiter to assist.

2) Is this a project that I would tackle on my own or do I need a team?

If you need to build a team consider your immediate circle.  Do you already have the talent around you to move forward?  If not take the time to make those connections before getting started.  Business acquaintances are good at making introductions as our social sites like Linkedin.

3) Is this a viable project?

To find that out you will need to take the time to create a business plan and outline the financials.  If you dont have the time to do this put on the brakes immediately.  Starting and running a business takes a lot more time that completing a detailed business plan, budgeting and determining the financial viability.  Not having or taking the time for this crucial step means this is simply not the right time to take on this project.

4) Do I need this project/ business to pay me?

If the answer is yes then your financial obligations, personally or professionally, need to be accounted for first.  Starting a business takes time, energy and money.  If you are looking for the business to pay you a salary right away then you need to secure the finances, via loan or investment, prior to proceeding.  Even the best ideas take time to mature and 30 days quickly turn into 90 so be prepared.

5) Does the market support my new idea?

Analyze the competition and business climate to determine if your idea will be well recieved.

Entrepreneurs, such as myself, thrive on new ideas and creating things.  This drive is crucial to success but before running ahead, full steam to save the day ask yourself the questions above and determine if this is the right time to start upon your new adventure.  If it is then seize the day.  If not then wait, plan and proceed when ready to ensure that your new venture is a success and you enjoy life along the way.

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