In this episode, I give a recap of a few of the lesson I learned from doing the show in 2014. Enjoy!
I got the idea to launch this show in October. And I wanted to do the show because in the 6 months prior, I kept having these wonderful conversations with fellow business owners. And the conversations we were having about entrepreneurship were so much richer than the entrepreneurship articles that I was reading. I felt like lots of the articles I was reading presented a set of conventional wisdoms that felt tired and overly simplistic. So that’s why I started the podcast. I’ve learned a lot from doing the podcast so far, I hope you’ve learned from listening to the show too.
There were a few themes that emerged from the podcast that I want to share today.
Lesson 1: Running a Business is Messier than We Expect
From the conversations that I was having with my fellow business owners, I got a dynamic real world view of entrepreneurship. It was messier. It was tougher than what was described in the books. Not tougher because it required heroic action (the entrepreneur press was full of heroic stories), it was tougher because it required more patience, more prioritization and execution of the unsexy but effective work day after day. Achieving modest results that build on themselves slowly but surely over time. While the entrepreneur press was talking about home runs and grands slams, the real world was all about batting singles. That’s how I had always felt in my business and from doing this show I realized that other business owners were having the same experience.
Lesson 2: There are Business Fundamentals But No Clear Right or Wrong Answers
Another theme was that there are no clear cut right or wrong answers. What worked for one successful business owner doesn’t necessarily work for another. Our businesses are all unique: we serve differently people, offer different products, the cultures of our markets are different. Each one of us is unique. The only way to know what works for your business is to try it out. There may be business fundamentals but very few clear right or wrong answers.
Lesson 3: Everyone – EVERYONE – is Struggling in One Way or Another. That’s Part of the Deal.
This business ownership thing is hard. And there is no magical hurdle that you clear whereafter running a business becomes easy, or safe. I found that myself and others had a tendency to look at the biz people we idolized and think they had moved beyond the struggling part of entrepreneurship. That they had earned enough money or fame where they could just create, without any fear or risk. That doesn’t really happen. It’s likely that whoever your business hero is, she is struggling with the same challenges that you are. Most business owners are.
It might feel like you’re struggling in your business, but that’s actually what success looks and feels like
So far, this post might sound like a depressing rant about business ownership: it’s tougher and messier than people think; there are no clear cut right or wrong answers; there’s no promise land where everything is just perfect. It sounds kind of depressing, right? The funny thing is: these realizations have made me a much happier business owners. It basically taught me this: the stuff that I’m struggling with: it’s normal. There are other smart, ambitious, hard working entrepreneurs out there working through the same stuff. The struggle doesn’t mean you’re failing, the struggle is actually what success looks like.
I want to leave you with a couple quotes that captures these themes well.
The first is a quote from Rachel Rodgers from episode 3 of this podcast:
“To know that there are other people that experience the same thing and that you’re supposed to be experiencing this. This is what it is supposed to feel like, this is what a growing business feels like.”
The second quote is from Mark Silver from his recent appearance on The Creative Giants Show:
“I just want people to be gentle with themselves. I know if you’re listening to this you don’t lack in stick-to-it-ive ness. You don’t lack in terms of pushing. You don’t lack in terms of wanting and desire to get it done. No matter how many times you call yourself lazy and call yourself bad and call yourself not good enough, all of those are just voices. Every time. I’ve seen tens of thousands of entrepreneurs come though and every single one of them without exception – seriously, seriously – is there for the work. And what you’re needing more than anything is the gentleness so you know you’re in this for the long term and you’re not going to burn yourself out.”
That’s a wonderful place to end 2014 and start 2015. Peace.