I never had an entrepreneurial spirit or potential. I never had a lemonade stand as a kid nor did I have any money making ideas. Quite frankly I was just a very ordinary kid raised in a not particularly happy or ambitious family that had its own issues.
I failed 4 (yeap!) businesses before I broke through, I was totally clueless about business, accounting scared the shit out of me but… here I am running my company and working with clients around the world.
Those are just my truths and my perspective about what it took for me, in my circumstances, as an immigrant, a single mother and with zero capital to invest in my business. It was just me in my living room with my laptop trying to make things happen.
I hope that this can shed some light on the reality in times where you hear messages such as “why would anyone get a job in today’s world?!” (I don’t like that kind of disrespectful messaging to be honest, jobs are essential for the world to go around but more on that another time) and whether entrepreneurship is for you.
Truth 1 - It’s All About Character.
This eluded me for such a long time.
I couldn’t understand why things were not working for me. Until I realised the brutal truth that my words and actions were not aligned. I’d make big statements, big promises, watch youtube videos about success for hours and hours (eye roll!) but… the action piece just wasn’t happening. I did not follow through. And then I’d tell myself a story that maybe I’m not cut out for it, that maybe it was possible for other people and not for me.
Luckily, character isn’t cut in stone. You can change it but make no mistake, when you start working for yourself… each and every of your character flaws will be painfully revealed to you so you need to have a great self awareness and be humble enough to adjust your character, personality and your habits.
Truth 2 - It’s About Telling Ruthless Truth And Facing Your Own BS. Everyday.
Businesses fail because of who is managing them. The root problem is always at the head. The responsibility to see what’s really going, on a daily basis is the hands of the owner. What I noticed was that when I was disciplined in my personal life, I was also disciplined in my business. When I was getting lazy in my personal life, business followed. How this is all connected, I’m not sure but I’ve read somewhere that how you do anything is how you do everything and it definitely is true in my case. It’s all on you, there’s no one to come and rescue you and the faster you can get rid of excuses and assume 100% responsibility the faster you will make things happen.
Truth 3 - It's About Trusting Your Gut And Decisiveness.
If you’re indecisive, you won’t survive.
One of my mentors used to say that indecisiveness is a form of self abuse. Practice your decisiveness every day. Once you’re good with small decisions you can make bigger ones and stomach more risk and uncertainty.
It is your responsibility to trust in your vision. I remember, my dad used to find a thousand reasons why my business wouldn’t work: because I’m a foreigner and raised in different culture, because my accent would put them off, etc. For a long time it would take me out of the game and then one day I asked him to keep his fears to himself. He did. Now he’s my number one fan and tells everyone how he always knew I was going to make it.
Truth 4 - You Are You And Business Is Business. You Are NOT Your Business.
I once run a webinar, invested about £300 in ads (back then it was a fortune for me and it was on a credit card), about 90 people signed up but… no one showed up. I went into a dark cave of shame and self pity “how it was never going to work for me” for about 2 weeks. And then it dawned on me that I didn’t do all the other stuff I had to do to make people actually show up and it had NOTHING to do with whether it was possible for me or not.
From that point on I understood that there two different people inside me… the personal self, that often took things waaaay too personally and interpreted things emotionally (not recommended) and The CEO, which removed Alex completely from the picture and simply looked at data, processes and was just clear logic thinking.
Once I changed my way of thinking and started operating my business from that persona, things changed and they changed really fast. For the better. This is why I’m so passionate about teaching people to separate those two thinking styles as I see it does so much unnecessary damage.
Truth 5 - It’s About Skillset.
The marketplace doesn’t care.
It doesn’t care about your dreams, it is not moved by your tears and it definitely doesn’t give a damn about you wanting to buy designer clothes.
It only cares about value.
To provide value you need to have skills.
Marketing is a skill, selling is a skill, writing is a skill, speaking is a skill, coaching is a skill, making products is a skill but there is a whole range of intangible skills that are required too: confidence is a skill, resilience is a skill, consistency is a skill, perseverance is a skill, staying positive when everything goes to shit, is a skill also.
The good news?
Skills can be learnt.
Until you master them.
And that means that it doesn’t matter who you are right now and what’s your starting point.
What matters is that you look at your goal, ask yourself what skills (both tangible and intangible) you need to achieve this goal and then you set to work on them which leads me to the ultimate truth…
Truth 6 - It’s About Work Ethic And Doing The Work Everyday.
It’s so sad to see the widely spread online messaging such as “be on the beach all day and watch the cash rolling in.. blah, blah, blah…” It is not only unrealistic but it is damaging to character.
As I write this article, I’m sitting at my desk, wrapped in a blanket because it’s quite cold and when I’m done I will be doing the rest of my activities, all day, until I go collect my daughter from school at 5.45pm.
Doing the work everyday is far from sexy, far from interesting and most days are filled with mundane stuff that needs to be done for the machine to get moving and then you need to keep the machine moving. We have amazing software nowadays that can automate so much but you still need to overlook it. And yes, I can go on holidays when I want to (fitting within my daughter's school schedule) and snap a photo on the beach with my laptop but it doesn't change the fact that the work still needs to be done.
Truth 7 - If You Don’t Believe It’s Possible For You, You’re Fucked.
Persistence is an act of faith.
You must, absolutely must cultivate unwavering faith in yourself. The more people I work with and from my own reflection on why things didn’t work for me in the past I can see so clearly that I was simply giving up before I reached momentum because somewhere deep inside I didn't believe in myself.
It's such a core, basic yet powerful truth.
When you believe that it is possible for you and you protect that faith, you’ll overcome EVERY obstacle and every seemingly impossible situation and you will make it happen period.
I hope this hasn’t put you off.
In the world of people mistaking social fame for skills, I want to be the voice that’s grounded in reality.
And let me tell you… if you work on yourself, find joy in doing the work… the upside is sooooo big and puts you on such a high that it is worth ALL hardships and they seem like nothing.
The transition has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but definitely the most rewarding one, that provides me with continuous growth, joy and happiness that I’m creating my own future and making a difference in peoples lives.
I hope this serves you.