I grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit but didn’t know what it meant to really be one until six months ago. No longer part of a team or company, I had to learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
In the last 6 months, there have been 5 things that shocked me.
1. Hustle has an 11.
I like to think that I spent the last 6 years hustling at a 10. I’ve worked hard, learned as much as I can about social media and hustled on the opportunities I got. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur dial goes to 11. Go out on your own, I promise you’ll instantly be caught off guard by how many awesome things awesome people you used to work with used to do for you. Guess who does them now? You. So if you think you hustled before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
2. There is no automatic money.
For the majority of my 16 years in the workforce, I had automatic money. By automatic money I mean that regardless of how my week went, I got a check. If I had a bad week, I got a check. If I had a good week, I got a check. Sure, if I was horrible I would get fired, but for the most part my salary just showed up. Now though, guess what? There is no automatic money. Money shows up when I show up first. I know that probably sounds obvious but I promise you this has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I’ve never had to chase it this deliberately. That’s why I’ve started to endorse the companies I personally use. That’s why I started consulting. I’ve done that for years for close friends and brands, but this is the first time I’ve opened up to a wider audience. This is the first time I’ve said, “Hey, I hit the New York Times list. If you’ve got a book you need help marketing, let’s talk.” Or “Hey, clients currently fly me across the country to help them with speeches, want to give the best one of your life? Let’s talk.” That’s a huge shift for me. To quote Jay-Z, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”
3. You can’t go it alone.
Somewhere along the way we decided that “entrepreneur” meant “you against the world.” That’s nonsense. I need help more than I’ve ever needed it before. That’s why I have a business manager. That’s why I have a team that built this site. That’s why I have a speaking agent. That’s why I partnered with Infusionsoft. They do online marketing for some of the best companies in the world. I had one, one hour training session yesterday and it already changed the way I am going to launch my next book. Doing something as simple as reaching out to a company like them is going to radically change a lot of what I do, from the emails I send out to the relationships I build. But before I could put this partnership together first I had to admit, I can’t go it alone.
4. You build relationships or have none.
In addition to business relationships, you have to be deliberate about friendships too. I really liked the people I used to work with and spending the day with them was fun. Now though, I can hole up in Starbucks for 8 hours and no one would notice. That might sound great for a few days but I promise, the sense of loneliness as an entrepreneur is dangerous. You have to be intentional about connecting with people and building relationships in a very real way.
5. There is no such thing as a normal day.
Every day is different for me. Not just a little, but wildly different. Tomorrow I’m talking with a production company about a TV program. Thursday I’m flying to LA to work with a client. Monday I’m speaking in Orlando. It’s next to impossible to nail down what an average day looks like for me and I love that. It’s a little terrifying at times but once you get your feet under you, you learn to enjoy the waves.
I love being an entrepreneur. I loved working at companies. I think both experiences can offer a lot of amazing things in our lives. If you choose to go your own way, get ready though. You’re in for a few shocks of your own.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about being an entrepreneur?