Throughout the majority of my life, I’ve lived with an extreme level of social anxiety – like projectile-vomit-all-over-Brooks-Brother’s-suits-at-an-industry-networking-event level of anxiety.
I love meeting new people in small settings and learning about other’s life stories, but a tech conference filled with abrupt, in-yo-face “Let’s connect!”, “What’s your valuation?”, “Who’s on your client list?” makes me want to ditch the whole event agenda, hole up in my hotel room, and Wikipedia local historical sites.
It’s that bad.
I began my entrepreneurial journey in the era of boom or bust tech-based startups. The markets had crashed, national employment was in the crapper, and this thing called the internet was exploding almost overnight.
The popular business gurus hailed as the poster boys of success were the extremely extroverted, snake oil salesmen peddling “success” to all of us nearly-bankrupt professionals like a crack dealer cruising Beale Street.
It’s here –the day you take the leap into the wild and wooly world of entrepreneurship, leaving behind the security and stability of a “normal” job.
The leap is thrilling.
It’s also completely terrifying.
For myself, there were many nights during Year 1, Year 2, and a few in Year 3, where I laid awake wondering, “What in the @*&% did I just do?”
Looking back, there were several key actions I should have taken before quitting my job to go full-time in my business. They say hindsight is 20/20 – well, maybe a few aspiring entrepreneurs can glean some wisdom from the things I wish I’d known.
Here’s the scoop on 5 things you should do BEFORE you quit your day job and dive headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship:
This post is brought to you on behalf of the Forté Foundation. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Forté Foundation.
Until ten years ago, I had never actually met a professional woman – an educated female that made a living wage. Growing up in fundamentalism, I was raised in a culture that did not acknowledge gender equality and restricted women to very limited roles as wives and mothers. I had no idea what developing a career involved or even how to get started. The majority of my homeschool education had been focused on the domestic arts – childcare, cooking, cleaning, etc. – and neglected subjects like math, science, and finance (all the things you wouldn’t find in the job description for a housewife).
My junior year of college, I finally encountered a real-life professional woman – a visiting professor of biochemistry. She was confident, educated, and owned her own house. I knew I wanted to be just like her, but I had no idea how to get there.
Sometimes you just hit the jackpot – a dream client that is a pleasure to work with sends you fabulous referrals, and always pays on time.
Other times, you find yourself tethered to a client from hell – a psychopathic cheapskate that’s a grab bag of ageism, sexism, and racism, threatens to slander your business name and is always late on their bill.
Mean clients have a way of taking something you love – your work, your company, and your entrepreneurial lifestyle – and turning it into a complete nightmare. The dark clouds of doom these bad clients bring along with them leave you second guessing your skills, your career, and even yourself.
Don’t let mean clients ruin your business.
Follows these three tips for dealing with mean clients successfully and enjoy the benefits of business again:
Not everything about starting a business is fun.
In fact, a lot of the work during the early growth stages just, well, sucks.
Yes, you read that right.
Startups can be stressful; however, the sucky, pull-your-hair-out growth stage isn’t forever. In fact, the not-so-fun startup phase can provide you a lot of information about both your business and your market – what works and what doesn’t work – that will shape your company’s future. Being able to weather the startup storm, and respond to the growing pains of your baby biz can be a “make it or break it” phase of your entrepreneurial career.
Here are three tips for making the growth phase less “sucky”: