Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My dad is my hero. I know, it sounds so cliched. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually realized this. I think the older you get the more you start to notice. He is the greatest man I know and will always stop what’s he’s doing to help. While we don’t have deep intellectual conversations, I learn so much from his actions and how he treats other people. I’m grateful to have learned so much from him over the years.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Just do it! Stop waiting around. Stop making sure every tiny detail is perfect and stop putting it off. Sure, you might not have everything in perfect condition for launch. But you’re more prepared than you think. You just need to pull the trigger.
For some reason, we are much better at preparing then we are at implementing. I’m guessing it’s the unknown of what will happen when we actually do it. I’m sure Steve Jobs had reservations about launching his first computer, but he just did it. I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg knew Facebook wasn’t perfect when he launched it. But he just did it.
This can be said for every successful business. It was never perfect from the get-go. There will be issues. Changes will need to be made. However, you won’t ever know what they are or how to fix them until you actually launch. It can be scary but I don’t think it’s nearly as scary as the unknown of never going for it.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Just one? The one I struggle with the most is making decisions too quickly. I like to just rip the band-aid off and get moving on a decision. This hasn’t turned out well a number of times.
My biggest heartache was my decision in choosing a CRM system. I just wanted to pick one and move on. Obviously, that’s not the best strategy when it comes to the brain of my business. Twelve months later it was quite apparent I didn’t make the right decision. And, if you ever had the privilege of changing CRM systems, it’s not a pleasant experience. The amount of time and pain is a bit excruciating. I learned my lesson the hard way.
Now, before making any crucial business decision, I take 1-2 days to weigh my thoughts. I’ve found that it gives me time to reflect if it’s really the best decision or not. This has been huge. Since implementing this strategy, I change my decision about 50 percent of the time. And it’s always for the better.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I do exactly what I hear from every podcast that I’m not supposed to do: I check my email. I know I’m supposed to not look at my email until later in the morning, but I feel a sense of accomplishment by completing this small task.
I am a very process-oriented person. So, after I clean up my inbox, I move on to my goal list. I create my weekly goals on Sunday night for what I’d like to accomplish during the week. And no, it never goes go as planned. Things pop up and life gets in the way.
However, I feel by having my calendar blocked for the goals I’m trying to accomplish that I can see exactly what I need to be working on at all times. It’s linear and that’s how my mind works. I never have to wonder what I need to do next.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Create a budget. You have to have a realistic idea of what’s coming and where it’s going to be used. Flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to cash flow is never a good idea.
I’m not saying you need to be over-the-top conservative but you need to be cognizant of your expenses. If money going out isn’t being utilized for a core function of your business or it’s not generating the needed ROI, you’re going to need to reallocate those outflows elsewhere.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Get the word out! Whether it’s on social media, in-person meetings or networking events, get the word out on your passion. Don’t be pushy or make people feel uncomfortable. Rather, give out free advice so they know you’re good at what you do. Show your passion and always willing to help.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
My definition of success has definitely changed over time. The older I get, the more I look at it differently. Early on, I would say more money proved that you were successful. While I still believe money can be a factor for success, I think it’s a minor one. Other factors have much greater importance.
My main gauge of measuring success today is happiness. I believe you can’t have one without the other. Success brings happiness and happiness brings success. I find this to be true in my own life and for other successful people I surround myself with. Happiness can bring so many benefits that seem to affect all aspects of life positively.
While I am happy in my life right now, I don’t know if I would ever say that I’ve “succeeded” in my business. As long as I continue to be happy and keep helping others, I know I’m on the right track.