I am an entrepreneur, not by choice originally, but an entrepreneur nonetheless. About two years ago, I found myself pregnant with baby #2, unemployed and raising a toddler. Our little angels cost money to raise, and we needed two incomes to keep life running as smoothly as we possibly could.
I've always had a job since the age of 12 (Yes 12!). I'm not one to shy away from work, and I'm not one to stay down and make excuses for why things are so hard. After much prayer and reflection, I actively made a choice to use my gifts of writing and gab to forge my path to entrepreneurship.
So here I am, two years later, and the founder/CEO of Mom Talk with Denise LaRosa, LLC. Much like being a mother, being an entrepreneur is full of its joys and challenges, ups and downs, naysayers and haters; and so many are quick to judge you and offer up their two cents or more. While I'm a newbie to the world of motherhood and entrepreneurship, I have already learned a wealth of life lessons to last me for a lifetime. Here are just a handful of them...
- Patience. Wow! This one remains a challenge for me. I thought motherhood taught me patience in a way unlike anything else had taught me prior to becoming a mother...Then I became an entrepreneur! As an entrepreneur, you will work countless hours, with little to no monetary gain to show for your efforts. Oh and if that's not distressing enough, you will witness other entrepreneurs wiz by you with a speed and ease that leaves you scratching your head in frustration. "Slow and steady wins the race" has become one of my mantras. You must have tunnel vision in this game, keeping your eyes on the prize. Begin with the end in mind, in other words, focus on your WHY. Why did you become an entrepreneur? Do you want the flexibility and financial freedom that will allow you to spend precious moments with your kids? Focus on your WHY and keep on keeping on.
- Consistency. A very accomplished entrepreneur by the name of Donna Baxter (CEO of Soul Pitt Media) once said, "Just keep showing up." You see, there are times whenever I put out a blog post, or a podcast episode and hear crickets, but I must keep showing up on a consistent basis because you never know who's paying attention, seeing your efforts. Also, you never know who may be looking for exactly what you have to offer and because you are consistent, they easily find you and spread the word.
- Persistence. Don't have thick skin? Well, you better get some or get out of the game of entrepreneurship! Count on hearing NO so many times that you think it's your middle name! People are going to tell you NO, look at you sideways or talk about you with a snicker. GET OVER IT! In the midst of those hundreds of NO's, you will indeed find YES's that have the potential to catapult you to the next level.
- Dedication. As an entrepreneur, you have given birth to another child. Think of how committed and dedicated you are to your child, or children. Just like there are days whenever your kiddos test you and have you on the brink of "I can't do this anymore," some way, somehow, you manage to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, hold your head up high and take care of business. You must approach your business the same way. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR CHILDREN and NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF AND YOUR DREAMS!
- Determination. There is no room for indeciveness in the game of entrepreneurship. Once you make the decision to do this thing, you gotta stick with it and be determined to succeed! If you waiver in your belief and confidence, people will smell that from a mile away. The sad truth about some folks is that they love to see you fail. You will be surprised at who's got your back and who doesn't. But if you don't have the determination to succeed, then how can you expect anyone else to believe in what you're doing? You better work this business girl!
- Hard work. Thought you worked hard at your 9-5? You have not experienced hard work until you become a true entrepreneur! My work day starts from the time I open my eyes until the time I close them at around 2 a.m.! As a work from home mom, I find myself jumping between editing audio, to doing laundry, to bathing my girls, to writing a blog post and so much more! Yes, you got in this game to ultimately have flexibility in your schedule and achieve financial freedom, but be prepared to make some major sacrifices before you see that day when you're lying on the beach, soaking up the sun!
- Indifference. I don't care what people think about me. No, really, I don't care. One valuable lesson I've learned along this journey is that our society has wired people to value what you domore than who you are. Once I left the teaching profession and became a serial entrepreneur, it became very obvious who really "supported" me as a person and who didn't. Listen, when I mention support, I do not mean that a person has to buy my product, read my blog posts or listen to my podcast. A simple smile or "Congratulations for pursuing your dream" is considered support. Entrepreneurship challenges the status quo. You will discover that some people don't consider what you do to be work unless you wake up, shower, drive to a bricks and mortar job, "work" all day, drive home, have dinner, go to sleep, then wake up to do it all over again. I know entrepreneurs who are making upwards of six and seven figures, and people still question what they are doing. Oh well! As long as what you're doing is legal and your immediate family is on board, forget the rest and keep it moving.
- Strength. The definition of strength is "the emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult." Yes, owning your own business can be exciting and fun, but it will also be distressing or difficult at times. Get ready to flex those emotional and mental muscles!
- Values. Once you are in business for yourself, everyone will want a piece of you. It's essential that you set clear boundaries as to what you will and will not do in your business. Hold on to those values no matter how glossy and profitable an opportunity presents itself to be. Trust me, you do NOT have to sacrifice your values to be successful! The right opportunity will come your way soon enough!
- Empathy. I always concerned myself an empathetic person. I mean, I was voted "Friendliest Girl" in high school and "Miss Congeniality" in pageants! But it wasn't until I became an entrepreneur, and not by choice at first, that I tapped into another level of empathy. Bottom line is you never know what someone is going through - financially, emotionally, physically, etc. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Use your business to serve others, not just your own needs and desires. That, my friends, is a guarantee formula for success!
Did I leave something out? I'd love to hear from my fellow MOMPRENEURS! Keep rocking your business ladies! Check out my MOMPRENEUR Series where I give you FREE access to over 2 hours of advice, tips, strategies and inspiration from five incredibly successful entrepreneurs!