Although we are certain to fail at some things in life, what distinguishes a few of us is the fortitude to keep trying and trying again. As single parents, we especially seem to have a target on our backs with expectations for us to lose (though many surely want us to win).
This Motivation Monday, I urge you to keep moving even when things look dark. Just like babies who try to walk (fall)… try to walk (fall)… try to walk (fall)… then learn to walk AND run, when we keep pursuing/ practicing/ becoming an expert at something we initially failed at, we WILL succeed and be awesome in spite of the haters!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve failed, if you’ve been beaten. All that really matters is if you get back up and try again. Because winning is fun, but winning when nobody thought you would is just awesome. – Unknown
One of the most famous single parents in recent history who continued to “fail” and had many people who thought she wouldn’t win… but succeeded anyway in a most awesome way! As a divorced mother of one living on welfare, she bravely put herself out there and shared her words with the world. Despite her manuscript being rejected 12 times, one publisher said yes and Rowling changed the literature world with her ideas, and became one of the richest people in the U.K. She fought depression and became a self-made billionaire! Even as an accomplished author, she recently attempted to publish a now best-selling novel under a pseudonym and WAS STILL REJECTED… until one said yes… all it takes is one.
We can’t all expect to have a JK Rowling story, but we can sure try.
Watch her speak to Harvard graduates about the benefits of failure (21 minutes):
You already have the talent and interest to get started. You will need a little help… any successful entrepreneur does. Believe me, no one does this well by themselves.
So what’s been holding you back?
Time? Money? Contacts?
Or you just don’t think you can get it done right now (whatever it is)?
These can all be quickly remedied in a multitude of ways. But let me backtrack… here are a few audacious reasons that 2016 is the time for you to go forth and officially become an entrepreneur.
Quick commercial break: As an Amazon associate, I will receive a small commission if you decide to click on a couple of the links below and make purchases there. It would be at no cost to you and would help me buy shoes for my growing boys 🙂 Now back to the program…
Reasons to Launch
Our Evolving World
On a large scale, the world is changing and it’s changing faster than it used to. It takes more money to have a comfortable lifestyle for you and your family, and yet it’s cheaper to run a business (financially and time-wise). Information technologies are increasingly changing the way companies operate, a fact that could affect your job security… but also affects how quickly and easily your business can scale up. It takes two seconds to connect via video, audio or text with anyone in any part of the world – a factor in considering communicating with customers, employees, partners, investors and other stakeholders… the possibilities are endless.
Technology is STILL changing the game.
The longer our world spins, the more our technology evolves in form and speed. It’s becoming more common to have machines in the place of people in spaces that are traditionally customer-facing roles. For instance, there is talk of companies quickly pursuing automated solutions for customer service. We already see self-serve machines in restaurants from McDonald’s to Panera Bread…
This happened before with gas stations and even before that in manufacturing… I’m certain it will spread to other industries and at higher levels (A.I. anyone?).
You know… speaking of self-serve… recently the boys and I went to visit our beloved Target on a weekday during the lunch period (their school had early release). By the time we were ready to check-out, this store had ONE regular check-out lane open, ONE express lane open, and THREE self check-out stations open (another self check-out was out of order). The regular line was so long it went past several closed check-outs while self check-out was getting people out quickly. It was so ridiculous it was hard to believe this was really Target since they are usually so much better at serving their customers. In the end, it felt like we were being conditioned to be less reliant on traditional cashiers anyway.
Really? Who does that during the lunch rush??
Anyway, with all that said…
This was a demonstration of how acceptable it is in 2016 for you to automate different areas of your business including customer service. It doesn’t take much to do it better than that – a large company known for good customer service. You can stay in touch with and serve your current and potential customer base on a 24-hour cycle without losing a wink of sleep.
You will find many tools to do this. I’ve shared my favorite tools in this free resource guide. Click below to download it now.
You can work at your highest capabilities and constantly sacrifice your personal lifestyle for your employer but more than likely, you are not being paid what you are worth. You are not being appreciated for your value. On average, women receive 79 cents for every one dollar men receive for the same work. For African-American women, it’s worse when compared to Caucasian men (63 cents for every one dollar FOR THE SAME WORK).
As an entrepreneur, you will be able to better set your income. You will even have a chance to create income for other people in your family and community, exponentially affecting the lives of those close to them and their communities.
Minimum wage is a hot-button issue for women. There are different opinions about the purpose of minimum wage jobs but the fact is there are many ADULT women (62% of minimum wage workers in the U.S. are women) who work in these roles with the expectation of providing for their families. In those cases, many of them take on more than one job to better support their families but STILL may need government assistance. Minimum wage in the U.S. is very difficult to live off and provide for a family.
I highlight minimum wage to say – if you and the other women reading this article launched companies and hired employees, you would directly affect the level of poverty in your communities and likely even country.
Hear me out
Research in entrepreneurship and hiring has commonly found that African-Americans are hired by African-Americans more often than by people of other races. We also know that women hire women more often than men. If the number of companies owned by these groups increased, not only will wealth increase in their families, but more than likely there would be an increase in the wealth of these demographics (who, by the way, are more represented in low-income communities) and therefore, a reduction in poverty.
Imagine if you launched your company THIS YEAR and the lives you could change by:
Putting your idea out there to the customers you want to target – how will your product make their lives better?
Hiring people and paying them according to the value they provide your company – how will your company change their lives?
She’s very transparent about how she got started in her business. She was working at one job and thought it could be done better so she made it her mission to do just that with very little money. I will say she’s not only person I’ve heard that exact story from and I’m positive she won’t be the last.
I just wanted to show you a few women who launched their own companies and changed the lives of many in the process. I’m not saying you will do EXACTLY what they did, but I’m sharing the possibilities 🙂 Even though more women are going into business ownership, we still trail companies owned by men in number and size.
There were so many days that I sat wanting to start a company but didn’t think I had the resources, aptitude, attitude and more to actually make it happen. But I REALLY wanted to be an entrepreneur. I would see other people operate very successful companies and wonder “why not me?”
It finally took finding an idea I was passionate about and could easily share with others – even better than I shared myself – because I fully believed in it as a solution to a major problem.
Now I fully believe it’s time for you to take a serious step towards launching a company in 2016. You already have an interest in entrepreneurship and understand the benefits of it for your lifestyle and those connected to you… the FREEDOM it represents.
We live in a time and country that provides for freedom that women in many other countries are literallydyingto have for themselves and their children.
It’s not always easy for us to see that loathsome fact but it’s the truth.
If you have wanted to start a business for yourself, there’s no better time than now. You know you have the knowledge to sell – you’ve already been prepared with it. Given an increasingly automated world, access to (virtual or otherwise) business mentors you can relate to, and a glimpse of the impact you could have, there’s very little that can stop you besides… you.
So what now?
First things first, get the tools you need to move forward in your path to launch your next project. You can see my favorite tools for building and managing my business here.
This freebie will give you a solid foundation to launch the doors of a new company or project, and take away the overwhelm you feel about all the things you need to do to launch.
Meanwhile, share in the comments below one thing you will accomplish BECAUSE you launched a business this year. This will be the space to courageously claim it!
P.S. Of course we’re not all called to be business owners, and that’s perfectly okay too. Take your strongest skills; rock them to the fullest for a business you know, trust and relate to; and be the best employee you can be. Entrepreneurs can not do it all and so need your talent to make it all happen for the greater good. We can all make the world a better place when we each do our part.
P.S.S. If you still feel a struggle to jump on the fence, contact me directly and let me know what you are struggling with.
Deciding to choose time for developing and growing your business idea can make a world of difference in the amount of time you have for business activities. With product development, marketing, servicing your product and customers, administrative tasks, more marketing, accounting, strategic planning, and much much more, finding the time to get it all done just for the business alone can be a challenge.
So, out of the 168 hours we all have each week, how much time can you dedicate to your business?
Here’s a table to consider what that time looks like percentage-wise:
Hours per week
Daily (over 7 days)
Daily (over 5 days)
1.7 (100 minutes)
With that, do you still believe you don’t have time? Full-time work is only 25% of your time each week.
10% of your total time is less than two and a half hours each day.
What do you typically accomplish in this amount of time each day?
What can you sacrifice?
Here are a few ideas to find time:
watch less TV
peruse social media (for non-business use) less
cut some phone calls short
eliminate inefficiencies in your daily life (unplanned shopping trips and meals,
cook meals for the week at one time and use the same ingredients for some meals (i.e. chicken and rice, chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pie, fried chicken… you get the point)
DELEGATE tasks you don’t really have to do (even if that means your kids get extra chores – they need more responsibility anyway, right?)
wake up an hour earlier
go to bed an hour later
step down from your leadership role in that one club you’ve wanted to step back from anyway
temporarily miss your Friday night out routine… only for a moment while you build
so. much. more.
You don’t have to drop all of these activities completely, but reducing the time you dedicate towards each of them will give you an extra two, three or even four hours in a day => a worthy sacrifice while you build your business to a point you can hire people in roles to help you and earn some of the more fun activities back (if you want them).
That said, I’m one who does not believe there’s only one way to do something. Options are an exciting part of my life so I advocate for them in everyone else’s lives too.
Other ways to find more time include:
Pomodoro Technique: dedicate 20-30 minutes to concentrate on completing one task, then take a short break. Repeat this as a cycle for as long as you want to work on your business. This system creates more efficiency in your process because it discourages multi-tasking, a known issue for prolonging the COMPLETION of one task. This is especially helpful for writers and other creatives!
Eliminate Distractions: There are many people, places and things that are distractions for us. Now is the time to rid yourself of those so you can do something greater than you. This could be simply de-cluttering your space or spending less time with certain friends.
Just Say No: saying no to people has been a game-changer for me. I was once a person that said yes whenever I was asked to join a new committee, take on a new project, meet with another friend about a new business project, etc., etc., etc. As long as the world is turning, there will be shiny new objects that will attempt to enter your life. If you haven’t already, now is the time to hone down on what your priorities are and stay true to those. I can help you with that if you have not committed to your own priorities already.
Work Schedule: Assign your days and time to specific tasks just like you would in regular work. You can simply assign a theme for the day or dedicate specific hours in the day to specific tasks for your business. Sometimes getting into too much detail for how you spend your time can be too rigid. You can incorporate flexibility by simply noting the tasks you want to complete that day within a set of hours and crossing them off as you complete them.
My gift to you: Entrepreneur Work Schedule Template
While developing the Launch Your Business Now 10 Day Challenge, I had to cut some material to make the challenge manageable. In doing that, I’ve decided to give you a sample of what you can expect including a template for you to adopt it yourself. Introducing the Entrepreneur Work Schedule…
You can use this blank template to create your own schedule for working on your business tasks. This is a fillable PDF so you can complete it using your laptop and conveniently refer to it while you’re in work mode on your phone or laptop. You can even convert your completed schedule into a jpg and make it your desktop or smartphone wallpaper.
With a hybrid of the techniques mentioned above, you can be well on your way to having time for work AND personal life.
You can download this template and more in our new CEO Resource Library. This space will be where all blog post upgrades from this site live and you get exclusive access as a member of our CEO community.
If you were not aware, January is National Mentoring Month. Mentoring is something that is near to my heart. I have created two mentoring programs and led a couple more. I think mentoring is so very important and is in line with the “it takes a village” belief for growth in any person, young and mature. I have a continued pursuit for the right business mentor for me – in the meantime, I will preach the gospel of being a good mentor.
One of the easiest ways to be a business mentor is within your company. As a company leader, people are looking to you for direction anyway. This is a good opportunity to influence someone’s career and even hold yourself accountable to your own beliefs professionally and personally. This is one of my favorite aspects of owning a business with staff!
At one time, I mulled over some mentoring possibilities to influence younger people without neglecting my own children or family. Some more possibilities for business professionals to mentor include (listed in order of increasing responsibility):
Speak about your business expertise at your children’s school. You never know how your story will influence the sponge-y minds of children. Your 20 minute talk may open possibilities that didn’t exist for them previously which is an unforgettable moment for them. The future for them, you and your community could be forever changed by your one act. Seriously.
Join leadership or speak at meetings of local professional or college professional development groups. Members of these groups seek new information at every monthly meeting. Information you are able to give would increase their knowledge in an area in which they may sorely lack. Making an appearance on a regular basis (which could be quarterly), may give others the picture of something to strive after.
Volunteer with or sponsor a local Future Business Leaders of America and/or Junior Achievement chapter. These organizations are ripe with young people who are vested and interested in business. They would be an open audience for what you do. You could also simply volunteer with your local school district.
Become a Girl Scout or Boy Scout Leader. Scouts participate in a variety of activities to shape their character. They usually meet once per week, and engage with one or two leaders in their club. Commitment depends on your role. FYI – I’ve been a leader in Cub Scouts for the last three years 🙂
Become a Big Sister or Big Brother. This would involve one on one mentoring of a child who has been deemed in need for this type of attention (not necessarily “at-risk”). Commitment is about four dedicated hours per month.
Foster a child (or two). Good foster parents are in dire need throughout the country. Welcoming a child into your home… your sanctuary… one who is likely experiencing major turbulence at home… could do more to shape their lives than any other experience they have had thus far. Usually there are no additional financial expenses for bringing a child in your home and typically you will receive payment (one reason people do it who really shouldn’t be). You must consider the implications for anyone currently in your home but I’m sure the experience would be rewarding for all involved – in some way you will grow and so will that child.
Beyond these formal opportunities, there are always the informal prospects of making sure you speak to your siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and neighborhood kids on a regular basis – asking about their interests and where they are going with them as well as letting them know what you do and how you got there… share stories that they can relate to like people used to do way back when.
When you want to have a mentor, it’s imperative that you BE a mentor. How can you expect for someone to give to you and you don’t give to anyone else? Being a mentor also helps set expectations for what that relationship could look like when the shoe is on the other foot. Frankly, you may attract a mentor just by the initiative you show at being a good mentor.
To find a business mentor, identify people who have a career similar to what you want and possibly similar life circumstances. Contact them, introduce yourself, share information that helps their goals and ask questions that can help you get closer to your goals over a few points of contact. Do this would be after you add them to a spreadsheet, or put together a profile sheet so you can have a clear understanding of why the person would make a good mentor for you.
If you have a mentor and you have not taken the time to thank them, please use January to show your full appreciation. Actually, January 21 is Thank Your Mentor Day so you can use it to write a blog post, take an ad out in the newspaper, post a video on Youtube or just give them a phone call to share your appreciation for the influence they had on your life.
Do you have ideas for how to become a mentor or solicit a mentor(s)? Please share them in the comments.
When it comes to starting a business, if you’ve ever wondered
So many ideas… which one should I pursue first?
you know you want to be an entrepreneur and start a new company, but have somany ideas that interest you today…
Things can get overwhelming… so much that you may decide not to pursue anything.
How about I help you with another way to look at things 😀 I’m sharing what I wish I knew when I was going through this process. First, consider these ways of breaking down your options.
List your business ideas in a free worksheet I created just for you to support you on this journey to be an entrepreneur. [copy to your Google Drive or download]
Business ideas you should NOT pursue right now (in no particular order)
Interesting but unfamiliar. You are really excited about a topic, but you aren’t very familiar with any of the ins and outs nor are you connected to anyone who is strong in the topic to partner with or even ask for support from. The time to ramp up your knowledge in this may be too much for now.
Doesn’t excite you. You have a strong skill but with no excitement behind it. Unpack the reasons why you feel this way but don’t immediately jump in to pursue using the skill on behalf of others. It will be like pulling teeth!
No experience or interest whatsoever. So you have heard healthcare (for example) is the best field to go into NOW. But you have no interest, education, experience or pull towards healthcare or anything related to it. The learning curve is too high to go into this type of business right now.
Not your dream… someone else’s. Your favorite friend has a great idea for a company and wants to partner with you. You are the organized one out of the two of you, but you have absolutely no interest in that business. Do you want to keep putting your dreams on the back burner for someone else?
Conflicting visions. You have another friend who has an interesting business idea that you want to be a part of. Then you hear how he insists on executing the idea, a plan which is out of alignment with how you want it to be done or even with who you are.
Although these scenarios could be considered at another time, now is not the time if you want to get started quickly.
Write down all business ideas you have a remote interest in. You never know how life and interests will change later.
Flesh those business ideas out when you get a chance… which is not now.
Business ideas you SHOULD pursue right now (in no particular order)
Align with your strengths. We all have strong talents or interests in something. It could be your love for gluten-free desserts or the accounting you can do in your sleep. Identify the top strengths requested by your family and friends.
Make your heart flutter. You know the kind of excitement you get when you mesh with someone new. Or, you achieve something you’ve worked really hard for. Sometimes we get that same feeling when we come up with the greatest business idea. Journal that excitement and return to it when business gets hard.
Scare you. The greatest business ideas for you will scare you out of the gate. You may even try to talk yourself out of doing it because you think it’s too big. Lean into the fear! Write down your fears and address ways to mitigate them.
Create change you desperately want to see. So many great companies were created out of frustration from encountering everyday problems. Even issues that come up at your regular job can inspire in this way. Think of problems you and people close to you tackle all the time. Describe how you would solve those problems. Bonus points if a product or service exists but you can think of a different way of delivering it.
Fit your entire being. We are given one chance to do this thing called life. Let’s try not to make it harder than it necessary. My suggestion: work in a way that fits best with who you are (i.e. fits your mission, purpose, values). Judge anything you want to do within those parameters.
At the end of the day, the best way to go into business now when you have a hundred ideas is to just choose one (or two) already and get started! Make sure your choice works for you and your support network so you can serve your community with your gifts and with minimized stress.
This free worksheet will help you track all of your ideas AND rank them so you can better evaluate and prioritize which business idea to pursue now.
Keep track of the rest for later, especially if they present a natural flow from the idea that you choose now. Once you get your first idea flowing with a good foundation and team, pursue the next big, interesting idea on your list.
If a person wants to give a donation of any size to his alma mater, a school who helped shape who he is and contributed to his ability to make the amount of money he’s made, who is anyone to comment so publicly about the matter?
Who’s to say this MULTI-BILLIONAIRE hasn’t already donated $400 million to poverty-related causes? Just because there aren’t press releases surrounding his other giving, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Did Paulson call him and confide in him that it was a choice between Harvard vs poverty for this philanthropic act? Why did Gladwell choose poverty and not cancer research, saving art education in public schools, child hunger, the cure for AIDS, sickle-cell disease or any of the other numerous underfunded causes?
Why is he so concerned about how someone else spends their cash?
Is this a prelude to a major Gladwell-led fundraiser to help the poor?? How exciting that would be with his influence and knowledge on the matter! I have the perfect cause for him – end homelessness.
So many thoughts, so little time to share them all. I really have other things to do besides concerning myself with how others spend their cash or what others think about it. Just know, when my time comes to make major gifts to my most cherished institutions and causes, I will not play in the sandbox with those who are determined to get attention about matters they speak on with no context or authority????