I NOW believe in the power of taking ACTION!
But for years I believed in a system, the system we’re all suppose to follow, go to school, graduate, apply for college, get in, major in something that will give you a good paying job and finally get that paying job. I didn’t really consider the possibility that I could do something on my own.
Ok, ok but before I get ahead of myself, it wasn’t that I believed I couldn’t do it but it was more of “this is what I’m supposed to do, I need to get a job.” Can we all relate?
Now let’s rewind back to my childhood when I was actually an entrepreneur in the making and didn’t even know it. When I was 5 years old I made jello and sold it to my class-mates during recess telling them I wasn’t just selling jello, I was selling them a “birthday party treat and experience” (let me tell you that was a big selling point!). For those reading this and being like, “Why would jello be a birthday experience?” In Bolivia every birthday party you go to you will have jello before singing “happy birthday” and having a slice of cake, don’t ask me why I just realized that makes no sense but it’s a MUST. So, did I sell the jello? Oh yes! Did I get in trouble at school for it? Oh hell yes! Then came a time I took flowers from my garden and mixed them with water and made perfume (not proud of killing those flowers!). Then attempted to make birthday cards using newspaper and recycled magazines and took them to every family meeting to showcase my newest designs, and just like that I was already an entrepreneur at the age of 5. Now, was I a conscious entrepreneur when it came to saving the flowers, trees and selling all-purpose sugar to kids, maybe not but hey I had it in me!
For years after that I was all caught up in the system and what I needed and what was expected of me and for my future. But it wasn’t until I turned 23 years old when it literally took just one coffee and a conversation with a friend that changed my entire life. The conversation started with, “What if we launched a digital magazine, something similar to a social media channel where we connect and share events of Bolivians around the globe.” Ok, this BLEW MY MIND! I immediately said YES! Did I question, plan, thought about it before answering, NO I just accepted the offer went home told my parents and quitted my 9-5 a week after. That was the first time I took REAL ACTION!
Now, here’s the thing, it sounds like I was ready to live the DREAM life of an entrepreneur, the life I was waiting to have yet I didn’t realize that I was about to go through some serious falls before really having any type of success. Here’s the part when I say, I believe in the power of taking ACTION but I believe in taking ACTION with some sort of plan and purpose. I’m not saying take years and aim for the perfect plan and execution before you launch cause it will never be perfect, you can fix it as you go but at least know where you’re standing, what to expect and how to navigate.
With that said, here are the 5 mistakes I’ve made when starting my business:
MISTAKE #1 : Took ACTION without a plan!
You don’t need a perfect cut out business plan you can have a few things sorted and planned along the way but you do need some type of PLAN to get started. An idea isn’t a plan and I learned that after I launched my first business! I was so pumped about doing and launching something new and different that all I wanted to do is START! So, we did we launched after a month of having the idea and although it scaled and grew it took a while to really pave the way towards profitability. As I went I began to notice I needed to work toward making KPI’s and a full-on business plan. It really all began to come together after we launched it rather than launching with a clear mission.
The mistake was that since we didn’t have a clear business plan when we started we had more falls than we should’ve and it also took longer for us to really scale. Now one thing I don’t regret is TAKING ACTION but if I could go back I’d take decision-making and execution with the head rather than with the heart! Don’t let your excitement and creative mind take you away from focusing on the hard and tough side of a business, the one that will actually make your idea a business.
MISTAKE #2 : Thought my age mattered!
It doesn’t! You will never be too young or too old to be an entrepreneur! Please remember that! So many people think you have to be a young millennial to be a change-maker today but guess what age doesn’t matter, ACTION DOES!
I thought I was too young when I started and seeing other entrepreneurs in the media industry when I launched my magazine and being the youngest one it really made me insecure. I felt I was inexperienced, I felt so many times like I didn’t belong there but you know what? OWN IT! Learn to trust your process and learn to trust yourself. Being an entrepreneur is so many things but the most important one it’s all about HAVING CONFIDENCE! If you don’t own up to what you do, if you aren’t your biggest fan, if you aren’t the first one talking about your business and rooting for it, friend, no one else will!!
MISTAKE #3 : Waiting to invest in a team!
This was such a big one for me! I thought I could to wear 10 different hats when I launched my first business and nope you can’t and you shouldn’t! Investing on a team is the best investment you can make for you and your business, you don’t only need a support system to grow but know that not every corner of your business is your strength! That is such a powerful thing to ALWAYS remember, just because you’re an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have it all figured out, you might be incredible on the business/finance side of things but not so much on the marketing and branding, hire specialists for those areas that aren’t your strength and level up your business!
MISTAKE #4 : Care what others think
I come from a very small city in Bolivia, a city where we’re all caught up on what everyone else is doing. I grew up this way, and for me it was all about if I do this “what will people think.” With social media today we’ve all been dragged to this kind of mentality, we’re scared to share or start conversations based on what will people say, what if they like it, what if they don’t, what if it’s dumb, what if I look bad, and I can keep going and all I can really tell you is STOP! Stop caring, whatever you do people will ALWAYS have an opinion, sometimes it will be good and others will be bad, but that’s just how it works so YOU DO YOU!
When I moved the US and started building my online presence my worry was “If I start sharing content in English what will my friends say?” I did get a couple of messages from people I knew saying “Karla did you forget how to speak Spanish?” My response was “No boo, I did not but this isn’t my personal page it’s my business page I’ve got to deliver and speak in the language that speaks to my target audience and that identifies with my clients.” That’s it! I’m here to serve my people, my clients and my audience when it comes to my business platform, so just do YOU don’t get caught up on what people have to say, KEEP SHOWING UP the way YOU THINK IT’S BEST!
MISTAKE #5 : Expect fast results
Can I get an AMEN for this one? This is the most common mistake every entrepreneur makes! I’m sure if you’re an entrepreneur reading this you have your hands up and are screaming “AMEN (please insert Oprah’s GIF here”). Here’s the thing, NO SUCCESS WILL EVER COME QUICK! Know that memorize it rinse and repeat it to yourself on a daily basis my friend!
Not because we now get our groceries to the door with just one click means that your business will become successful in just 24 hours. Friends, don’t get fooled by the easy and comfortable life the Internet has given us, success is still old school, it doesn’t come overnight and it doesn’t come in a 2-3 day priority mail package. This is a long run, this is more than a marathon it might even take years to see huge results. Be patient, be persistent, and know that if you’re in for the game you have to show up everyday regardless the result, you have to keep trying regardless the outcome, because today might not look good but a year from now you might be siting on that office with a team and a profitable business that you’ve always dreamed of! Trust me when I say IT IS POSSIBLE! BE PATIENT!
So, after all these lessons all I can say is whatever you set yourself to do know you CAN TAKE ACTION! You’re capable of being all those things you want to be, just make sure you’ve defined your WHAT, YOUR WHY, YOUR WHO and your WHERE! Be intentional, be present, be patient!
Photo taken by: Marcela Ratsamy