Embracing the Entrepreneurial Ride
Is there anything worse than being let go from a job, especially if you didn’t see it coming? If you had this experience, would you say it is equivalent to a sucker punch in the gut, followed by an uppercut to the ego? In fact, does it even have lingering aftershocks on your self-esteem and sense of judgment? As I am writing this, I am still questioning myself, over two years later, “Am I ready to expose this healed wound to my colleagues?” As if in some way, it is like removing an emotional scab and potentially reopening a Pandora’s box of hurt and doubt.
In true DeW-like fashion… here I go.
I’m diving in! Don’t worry, this will not be a personal therapy session, rather a triumphal testimonial to the power of intention, perseverance and necessary tools to help you turn an idea, your passion, into a viable business. My goal is for just one person, maybe you, to be inspired by my story and then pay it forward. Are you ready? I SAID ARE YOU READY?! Let’s get FIRED UP!
The first weeks after being “let go” (I still hesitate to say the “F” word. fff… fired) from my corporate job, I decided to take time for self-care. After having 60–80-hour work weeks and traveling 2-3 times per month, I adjusted to a new “time zone,” which was actually having time for myself and my family. I joined a gym to shed both physical and emotional pounds, sculpting the inevitable “corporate butt” gained from sitting at the computer 8-10 hours a day! I highly recommend incorporating a daily exercise routine for two reasons: Not only is it good for the body, mind and soul, it is also visually appealing to have a daily standing appointment in a newly scarce calendar.
A monumental benefit of working out was the ability to listen to podcasts while doing cardio. Whether walking outside, on the treadmill or on the elliptical, I gained tremendous insights from various thought leaders such as Wayne Dyer, Sara Blakely, Oprah Winfrey and her Super Soul Sunday interviewees. They all had a similar message, an equation if you would:
Power of Intention + Perseverance = Abundance. Sounds simple right? It’s like the simple equation of losing weight: reduced calories + exercise = weight loss. Easy peasy, right?
WARNING: Entrepreneurship is not for the lighthearted, though well worth the effort.
Below are 7 steps that I used firsthand on my journey. I hope this article will help you uncover and execute your inner entrepreneur!
- Find Your Passion
- Practice Blind Faith
- Be Resourceful
- Persevere/Be Resilient
- Practice Patience
- Be Grateful
Find Your Passion
“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” – Wayne Dyer
Dr. Dyer starts with the challenge of recognizing what we love and then offering the result of abundance. I asked myself the following questions: What do I love? What is my passion? For me, this was the easy part. I love helping dental professionals help their patients improve their airway health. This was the foundation to form my company, Airway Health Solutions.
If you are not sure what your passion is, here are some follow-up questions that may help you uncover your purpose:
- What would you do if you couldn’t fail?
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
Okay, so now you may have an idea of what your calling is, but how do you get from finding your purpose to having abundance? This is the juicy part! It seems inevitable that fear and doubt may creep in after finding your purpose.
Practice Blind Faith
“How am I going to do this?” “Why am I even considering this… especially at my age?” “Who do I think I am?” These are common internal questions. Here are two followup questions to help address the source of inevitable entrepreneurial jitters:
- What is holding you back?
- What can you do to overcome?
The answers to both questions ultimately come down to conquering fear. Fear of the unknown, the unchartered waters. Let’s turn that fear into empowerment. This is where faith comes into play. A quote that I added as my screen saver from day one of entrepreneurship, still serves as a daily reminder:
“You Attract What you are Ready For”- Dau Voire
Sometimes I see myself like Mr. Magoo. For my millennial readers who may not be aware of this cartoon figure, he was a blind old man who had a lot of fortitude. He would keep walking with his trusty cane into dangerous situations and magically be OK. For example, he could walk into a construction site and things would be falling all around him, but he kept walking; it looked like he would fall off a cliff, but beams would appear, preventing him from falling, and he kept walking. He was fearless and triumphant in every episode.
Be like Mr. Magoo. Have “blind faith” – just keep walking.
Many times, we doubt our abilities and ask these internal questions: “Am I capable?” Am I worthy?” “ Am I good enough?” Let’s continue to combat fear with self-affirmations.
Here’s an impactful mental exercise: Simply switch “Am I” to “ I Am.” Go ahead and give it a try… start with “I am” and go from there… “ I am capable.” “ I am worthy.” “ I am good enough.” “I am making a difference.”
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
Let’s assume you realize your passion. You are “all in,” ready to jump on the “entrepreneurial roller coaster.” Where do you start?
My suggestion is to start where you are. No need for a significant financial investment. There are plenty of free and low-budget resources, software and services. Please refer to my “ 12-Step Entrepreneurial Toolbox” *
“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki
My network consists of three circles:
- Inner circle = most trusted friends and confidants.
- Secondary circle = friends, colleagues and work acquaintances.
- The third circle = support groups like DeWs, Social Media Groups and contacts via Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
All three circles are integral for the health of your psyche and your business. Reach out, and develop your networking circles. Remember, networking is a verb. This is not the time to be shy. Embrace your unique gifts and contributions. I find that one of the most rewarding parts of networking is in paying it forward and being part of another’s creative process. It is in the giving that we truly receive; you feel like part of a karmic cycle, something bigger than you.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs
This is arguably the most important quality of any successful entrepreneur. The year 2020 and the Global Covid-19 Pandemic is an ongoing threat to most businesses. The words pivot, unprecedented and the term “the new normal” have been used ad nauseum for a reason. To be considered relevant you must pivot in this unprecedented time to find a new normal for your business. Heck, I can assume that we DeWers have pivoted so much we are dizzy!
The truth is without perseverance and resilience, you will break under pressure. A favorite quote of mine is from Albert Einstein – “When there’s a will there’s a way.” It reminds me that “pivoting,” although a modern term, is an old concept. Another timeless phrase such as “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” also serves as a reminder that we are not immune nor unique to turbulent times. After all, it’s “survival of the fittest!”
Pre-COVID, my business, Airway Health Solutions, was based on live events, teaching doctors how to implement airway health. My last live event was March 1st. Here comes the pivot… our events are now online course offerings, my “new normal.”
Personally, being patient is my biggest challenge. After all, who doesn’t love instant gratification?
One thing that has helped me is tying patience into blind faith. You’ve heard the adage “Be careful what you wish for, it may come true.” I have found over these two years that if my initial wishes came true, I wouldn’t be a successful entrepreneur! By referring to my trusty screen saver, “You attract what you are ready for,” I remind myself to take a deep breath and practice patience (I am still practicing this.)
Okay, let’s get real. If I were to write “Fired Up” two years ago it would have inevitably turned into a revenge piece coming from a victim’s perspective. Since I have taken the steps shared with you, I truly am grateful for ALL the events that have transpired, including being fired (yes, I can say it now, fired). Gratitude can take time after a traumatic event. I believe it is the last step of any healing process and an important part of being a successful entrepreneur. Be grateful not only for each accomplishment and triumph but also for each lesson learned. Be grateful for the gift of wisdom, your health, your family and loved ones. If you set aside time every day to focus on the things you are grateful for, it will help you embrace each day in all its glory, uncertainty and opportunity.
My journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur was based on passion, faith, resourcefulness, networking, perseverance, patience and being grateful. You, too, can f ind your passion and experience abundance. My hope is that you can use this article as a blueprint to start that business you were thinking of and embrace your entrepreneurial spirit. There are many others waiting to be inspired by you, yes, you! What are you waiting for… ? Just DeW it!
*12-Step Entrepreneurial Toolbox
- Invest in a quality laptop and strong Wi-Fi! This is your portable office!
- Establish a Limited Liability Company – LLC, and then open a separate business checking account. I found it worth the small investment to use Legal Zoom. www. legalzoom.com. There are many tax benefits of owning your own LLC. It is a good conversation to have with your accountant.
- Establish a company name and logo. I used Vistaprint for both logos for a nominal fee along with marketing materials. I am pleased with their services and value. www.vistaprint.com
- Get a domain @ www.godaddy.com and create your own website. It is easy! I use www.Wix.com. Check out my website at www.airwayhealthsolutions.com.
- Get a business credit card. I personally like Amex. It helps keep track of your business expenses and has useful accounting reports available. Take advantage of points/cashback. American Express Business Card has no annual fee.
- Get a company email from G-Suite. It is important to have a strong first impression. Try to avoid using personal emails like Gmail or Hotmail and have your own company email. IE: email@example.com – You can also share calendars and google documents with future team members.
- Use a calendar software program to schedule your appointments. This is key! I use www.youcanbookme.com, but I have also heard Calendly is a good option too. They have free services available. This is not only a great first impression but saves you countless emails going back and forth when scheduling conference calls.
- Establish a billing/accounting service. I use Wave www.waveapps.com and find it user friendly and a must-have to keep my billing/accounting in check. Another option is Quick Books.
- Invest in software for proposals/agreements. I use Bidsketch. www.bidsketch.com. It has templates and helps you keep track of your proposals, when they are viewed and most importantly when they are accepted!
- Invest in a professional Zoom account. www.zoom.com It is worth the small monthly, tax-deductible fee.
- Create a business social media presence via Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Utilize fellow DeW, Minal Sampat, and her marketing strategies in her book, “Why Your Marketing is Killing Your Business and What to Do About It.”
- Utilize free services offered by the Small Business Administration. http://www.sba.gov/ They offer free webinars. I was even able to meet with a coach who helped me develop a business plan for FREE! (free, free, free)
**Don’t forget to become a DeW! It is invaluable to be part of this incredible network of women who are dental entrepreneurs. www.dew.life