In 2011, I sat in my corner office disenchanted and disinterested; teetering on sheer misery. The following year I made the gut-wrenching decision to focus full-time on my personal business venture. Little did I know, I was headed toward failure and a renewed sense of what success truly meant.
I’m no stranger to disappointment. I’ve lost several pertinent business accounts in my professional past but nothing could prepare me for the two things an entrepreneur is sure to face: being told no and income uncertainty.
Since I was new to the life of entrepreneurship I had to reprogram my thought process. Previously, I measured my success based on my job title and salary. Yet, it wouldn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that if I didn’t rid myself of my corporate psyche and old ideals of success, I would sabotage and stifle my potential for entrepreneurial growth and success.
In the process of following my dreams, I never expected to be overwhelmed by feelings of doubt and anxiety. Honestly, they were paralyzing and debilitating on a daily basis. I had become so dependent upon my identity as a corporate employee that my natural abilities and desires as an entrepreneur had been smothered to the point of non-existence.
However, it was time to shed my old corporate skin and live boldly while nurturing my true abilities. Here’s a look at three lessons I’ve learned along the way that I hope will encourage and inspire you to do the same.
Old success doesn’t equal new success
It’s okay. Go ahead and press the reset button. In fact, press it as many times as necessary until you arrive at your entrepreneurial destination. Being a successful corporate employee is far different from being a successful maverick pursuing your dreams.
Failure is almost guaranteed, but the payoff for persistence can be far greater than anything you’ve ever imagined. What was once a win in your former cubicle or corner office life may or may not be a win as an entrepreneur. For example, landing a key account was major before whereas now, personal branding and business brand development is considered a win. Learn to give yourself credit as you reinvent yourself.
Success is subjective
There is no right or wrong way to be successful. Remember, you define your own success. It’s easy to get knocked down when outsiders (who don’t understand entrepreneurship) project their ideals of success onto you and your business. Be careful.
Don’t listen to everyone’s advice about what you should and should not be doing. Sometimes people who lack entrepreneurial ambition impose their own insecurities on you. If you listen to these people you will second guess yourself and the direction of your business.
Be your own competition
Sure! It’s smart to keep your finger on the pulse of competitor activity in market. But what’s more important is that you learn to compete against yourself and your own goals.
Stay focused, identify your lane and stay in it. If you spread yourself too thin it’s a sure fire way to find yourself updating your resume to hunt for another dissatisfying corporate job. Use your competitors as motivation rather than allowing them to deter or limit you. Be your own fan. Promote and love your brand like Kanye loves Kanye!
Regina J. Wilborn, a creativepreneur, is the founder of j.st. jaimes – a Chicago-based wellness company providing both beauty and fitness services to clients in the fashion and entertainment industries. Connect with @jstjaimes on Twitter.