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Five Things I Wish I Knew As a First Time Entrepreneur

I still remember the day my husband and I decided to invest $10,000 into our first business coach. Before this moment, I’d only daydreamed about entrepreneurship but never truly found the courage to try it out. I guess that’s one of the reasons I was attracted to my husband. He had a tolerance for risk I admired and absolutely feared at the same time. We would invest in our future, and it would pay for itself and then some the following year. That was in 2014. Six years later, we have encountered twists, turns, bumps, and bruises, but remain resilient as full-time professionals and real estate investors.

In our entrepreneurship journey, I faced a major hospitalization for personal health reasons; we also had two children, lost one, and spent nearly a year in the hospital with the other. Through all of those crises, we were able to keep our business intact. We thank God for his grace, but holding it together did not come without making some tough decisions.

As I look back, here are five things I wish someone told me about entrepreneurship:

1. Do your homework.

I still remember having to evict our first inherited tenants, then the second tenants, and then finally understanding the process of due diligence by the third round. No matter how many books we read or seminars we attended, we had to make our own business mistakes before understanding that entering a contract was like entering a marriage. You would never marry someone without checking them out first, and as much as we wanted to be kindhearted and understand the plights of those who wanted to do business with us, we had to remember that it was a business first. Now, our practices have shifted quite a bit due to COVID-19, but it takes grit to adhere to the process when your emotions are telling you to “just be nice.”

2. You are going to wish you paid attention in math class.

Numbers matter, especially as your business begins to scale. Calculate the maintenance and operating costs of your business. Always keep something in reserve because life inevitably happens at the most inopportune time. As new business owners or what I like to call “the small guys,” miscalculating project costs can cost big at the end of the cycle, so whatever “they” say it costs, add 10 percent. However long they say it will take, add another 25% of the time to that number. It is tough to stick to timelines and deadlines when multiple parties are involved.

As our podcast guest and entrepreneur, Preye Toun, mentioned in her interview with us, poor bookkeeping and a failure to forecast can leave you stuck with unavoidable expenses.

3. Make sure your business partner is bringing the skills you don’t have, and vice versa.

I lucked out in this arena, no doubt about it. But really, I prayerfully considered who I married, and always saw marriage as a business partnership, to begin with. I understand that all women don’t make decisions in this way, but I would consider it if you want a lasting partnership, I mean marriage::smiles::. For example, you might love your sister or friend, but that doesn’t mean you should go into business with them. You have to ask yourself the tough questions regarding skill, ability, reliability, and integrity when choosing a business partner. Just because you love them doesn’t mean you need to go into business together.

4. Systems matter.

This one can be hard to achieve in the first few cycles of your business. Still, by the time cycle three rolls around, you should seek to automate and systematize specific processes so that you don’t have to remember to do everything. Can you outsource marketing? Is there any new technology you can implement to help lessen the administrative workload? All of these processes matter when you are trying to scale.

5. Take care of yourself, sis.

It is essential to see your self-care as a necessity and not an afterthought. Before the pandemic, I spent at least two days at the spa per month. I didn’t do this because I was rich, I understood I was the talent…and no, I did not bring work with me. Oftentimes, I locked my phone in the locker so no one could reach me. I understood I needed to unplug so I could be my very best. My self-care has undoubtedly taken a nosedive in the past few years. Still, as I focus the last quarter of 2020 on detoxing my spiritual, emotional, and social life, I fully expect to go into 2021, ready for growth and opportunities.

Are you an entrepreneur finding themselves stuck and lost in the overwhelm? Book a strategy session with me today, so we can assess your needs and put some systems in place.


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