Being your own boss is hard work. You need to be driven, accountable, and on the ball. And the idea that you aren’t answerable to anyone is quite the fallacy indeed, because in fact, you are answerable to many. You have customers, team members, bankers, landlords, and anyone else that enter into your business picture, so don’t let that myth run too rampant in your head. And did I mention time? Yes time…you’re accountable to that as well. We enter into business with what I believe are many ‘untruths’. Is success what we endeavor for? Of course, but are we usually successful quickly? Hardly ever. What I would like to do is shine some light on those little reality checks that entrepreneurs need to remind themselves of early on.
- Everyone will want what I have. Sorry, but if you’ve had an idea, the likelihood that someone else has had that idea is pretty high. The difference between you and the next person is how you are going to market yourself and set your business apart from the rest. Make no mistake it’s pretty competitive out there.
- I will make millions. Ummm…no. Will you be successful? Yes, if you approach your business successfully, keep a good head on your shoulders and be smart, but it usually takes time to amass “millions”. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t make Facebook in a day.
- I can make my own hours. Well, yes you can, but keep this in mind, many entrepreneurs work more than the average 9-5 job. So yes, is it your choice whether you work during the day or during the night? Of course it is! Just anticipate doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
- I don’t have to listen to anyone. Yep, another misconception. You need team members and customers to build your business, so if they’re unhappy, you will be as well. Everyone is accountable to someone. Everyone!
The most important thing I can say to you is work hard. Work harder than you ever have in your entire life because doing this business requires superhero ambition and the capacity to see your own weaknesses.
Are you the type of person who holds your feelings in, only to explode days later? Or do you like to talk to people when you experience discord? When you need to ask something of your team, are you demanding and short, or soft spoken and direct? These are all important things to keep in mind when running a business, because being a strong leader means being a strong communicator. Read through the following list to see if there are some areas where you could be bringing stronger leadership traits to the table.
- Being trustworthy. People won’t open up to someone they feel they can’t trust. If you give the impression that you are willing to listen and take an interest, it’s more likely that your team members will feel like they can share with you.
- Being clear. Don’t beat around the bush and use lots of flowery language. People appreciate directness and clarity, so don’t let your message get lost in a long labyrinth of words. Time is short these days, and the straighter to the point you are the more you will come across as someone who knows what they want. Don’t hesitate either to expect the same from your team as well.
- Taking the time to talk. Small talk, although short, it’s an important tool for letting people know you care. You don’t want to give people the impression they’re just another cog in the wheel, stop for a minute and chat, or sit down for a coffee if you can and work on some relationship building conversations.
- Listening. Some people like to hear their own voice…over and over again, but a good leader knows when to be quiet and listen. Having an open mind and letting team members share their ideas will build a sense of trust, so sit back and let everyone else do some talking!
- Leaving the arrogance at home. No one likes someone who talks too much and doesn’t have the talent to make things happen. If your unable to do something, don’t pretend that you can. Be wise enough to draw from the strengths of the people around you and you will gain respect from others. Good leaders understand their weaknesses and surround themselves with people who can balance those weaknesses out.
- It’s all about the tone. With the rise of text messaging and of course email, the phone call has become a dying art form. Billions of text messages and emails are sent every month in the U.S. alone and the trend shows no signs of letting off the gas. While these methods of connecting may be convenient, your message is often lost in translation. There is no tone of voice, no expression and certainly no passion when you limit yourself to just looking at a screen. So forego the Emojis for a few minutes and pick up the phone. It could make a big difference in someone’s life.