Enjoy this great article taken from HuffingtonPost.com by Jack Nadel:
July is the month when NFL football teams open their preseason training camps. Hundreds of young men compete for coveted roster spots, and it's safe to say most started playing football back in grade school. The value of this early exposure is also true for elite athletes in any sport. Think Tiger Woods, Venus and Serena Williams, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant. Acquiring skills at a young age with the help of experienced teachers can make all the difference.
A while back on 60 Minutes, a segment featured the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship, a special program founded by Steve Mariotti, and the crucial role of entrepreneurship in our economy and the advantage of getting an early start, especially for those who come from low-income communities. One conclusion was that preparation for a business career should begin in high school. In my case, I started at the age of 13 during the Depression. I worked as a florist delivery boy in New York City, and the experience provided an excellent foundation for future success. At a young age, I helped support my family while learning to deal with challenging people and unpredictable situations.
At the age of 19, I enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and my education took a huge leap. I served as a navigator and radar bombardier on 27 dangerous missions. In 1944, radar was a new technology, and I learned to embrace this leading edge in order to survive. Another lesson was how important it was to fly in accordance with a pre-designed flight plan. Each crew member had a specific role to play, and if anyone did not do his job correctly, we could all perish. Despite coming from vastly differing backgrounds, we developed infinite respect for each other and realized that relationships form the basis for success.
After the war I was ready and eager to immerse myself in commerce. Trans Pacific Traders was the first in a series of my profitable ventures, and each one was built on the knowledge gained from its predecessor. Later in my career, I came to understand that, in most cases, success is an evolutionary process. Today, my business journey spans 70 years, but even now it is still evolving. At this point, my major ambition is to help others become successful entrepreneurs. Our very democracy depends on a middle-class producing better goods and services and creating wealth.
In many ways, an entrepreneur's career is like a football game. Both combine a swift pace with a highly competitive atmosphere. The "game" is divided into four quarters. In the first quarter you assess the other team's strengths and weaknesses based on your scouting report. You size up the opposition and create a specific strategy to cross the goal line. During the second and third quarters you execute your game plan to the fullest. Getting there should be as much fun as scoring. In the fourth quarter you consolidate your gains and seek to safeguard a positive outcome.
These days, I'm not only in the fourth-quarter, I'm in the two-minute drill. There isn't much time left. I know exactly what thought processes brought me through so many situations, and now I have to get my message across succinctly. In essence, "targeted thinking" is at the heart of my advice. It is the ability to zero in on an objective and totally concentrate on efforts to make it happen. This is the most powerful ingredient in the recipe for entrepreneurial success. Along the way distractions will arise, and it is vital that we learn at an early age to harness the power of zeroing in on our business goals.
Change is always occurring, and the only thing that remains constant is that your future belongs to you--you are the one who makes the choices. This is the risk that everyone faces, but it is also the excitement. Overall, I am an opportunist pure and simple. We've all heard the classic debate about whether the glass is half empty or half full. Pessimists reflect on what is missing, while optimists see a brighter future. However, sometimes during their discussion, opportunists will walk in and drink the water. The advantage of starting early is that we allow ourselves time to grow into entrepreneurship. When the right opportunities come along, we will see them and act with confidence.
In light of my desire to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and pass on what I've learned from a successful career, and especially with those whom I can personally relate to and who may need it most, I've pledged to gift up to 100,000 high school students in the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship program with a digital copy of my award-winning book, "The Evolution of an Entrepreneur," featuring 50 of my best tips for surviving and thriving in business.
Both the NFTE organization and I agree that students can learn to become entrepreneurs and that entrepreneurship can be a gateway for those who might not otherwise have opportunities for financial prosperity.
At 90, I firmly believe that early entrepreneurial training can make all the difference for achieving success, and NFTE is proving this theory with their program statistics. Entrepreneurship became my ticket to get ahead in life, and I know it still does and will for others, too, I just hope more embrace entrepreneurship and take their future into their own hands sooner rather than later, for their own sake and for the sake of our economy.
Have you ever had a business that you felt inclined to close? Are you currently considering closing the doors to your business? Does the thought of it all give you anxiety? Do you wonder what to do next? You are not alone. Countless other entrepreneurs, including myself, have had those same feelings. I look back on those moments and I can now see that those were "breakdowns before breakthroughs".
Often times those breakdowns can be the best thing for you to experience growth. Several clients have asked me "How do you know when to walk away?" My response to each of them was the same. It is truly a personal decision that no one except the business owner can answer. Today on Social Media's "Throwback Thursday" I posted a picture of a private preschool that I owned for several years that I eventually had to walk away from. I have not openly talked about that situation for it was such a hard decision and it still stings a bit. So ladies, bare with me in this blog entry for it is a bit of a therapy session for me. :)
After the birth of my first son I was practicing law full time and had to rely upon childcare providers. I quickly become very unimpressed with the quality and high pricing of childcare providers. Those feelings caused me to begin to have visions of owning my own pre school. It came to fruition 6 years later when I purchased a daycare center that was literally in its last days. There were less than 20 kids enrolled and the center and it had a $7200 per month financial deficit. I worked soooo hard to pull the center out of the mud! I believed in myself and what I could do. I worked with professionals to create a structured curriculum, implemented extra curricular activities, introduced a foreign language program and so many other things. In less than a year I quadrupled enrollment and pulled the center from the grim financial state. As an attorney I knew very little about the childcare industry aside from what I would expect as a parent. I studied, I researched, I WORKED. I put countless hours and over $100,000.00 of my personal savings into this business. (Yes, that's the part that stings!)
Eventually obstacles started to arise. Obstacles that made it very hard and incredibly stressful for me to run the business. Telling you about all those obstacles would be an extra long post all in itself... or maybe even a short TV drama series :) I stuck it out as long as I could, but eventually made the personal decision to walk away from the business. I had to weigh my options. The stress that the business was causing & the attention it was taking from my family was not worth it. The amount of money I made from that venture could not possibly justify the huge effect it had on my quality of life. I loved all those children in the school like my own; however my quality of life was much more important. I considered those factors and the length of time that I endured the stress and it just made sense to walk away and maintain my sanity!
For awhile I felt like a failure. I cried, I was upset, I was disappointed....so many feelings at the same time. I spent so much time in the business that I honestly just felt lost and confused about what to do with all the extra hours I had in a day. Looking back on it I am positive that was the BEST decision; however at the time I could not see that.. not even a little bit. LOL. The only things I could think about was how this private preschool was what I wanted and how I worked so hard. I also beat myself up because I had spent money that very well could have funded at least one of my children's college education.
I'm slowly coming out of being hesitant to talk about it. Why? Because I no longer feel like a failure. I do not feel like a failure because now I know that I am NOT a failure. I turned the business around and accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. I had the pleasure of meeting and having relationships with over 100 sets of parents, loving on and nurturing over 100 children, supplying over 13 ladies with a job and was able to scratch a big task from my bucket list! I lost money. So what? Money comes and money goes. If I was able to save that amount once I had to reassure myself that I was totally capable of doing it again, but now because of what I learned in that savings journey, I can do it quicker than I did before! One business did not work out the way I had liked. Ok. So what! There are several others that have and still are doing well. That is the chance one takes as an entrepreneur, right? It took me 6 weeks to continously remind myself of this and grieve. After that I picked up my feelings and was on to the the next venture.
It was a tough experience, but a necessary experience. If you are considering closing your business here are
3 Questions you should ask yourself before shutting your doors:
1. Is what you are experiencing truly your hearts desire?
2. Is continuing in this business going to drain you even if its a raging success?
3. Does the thought of the business magically disappearing and you moving to something new bring you excitement and a sense of lightness?
Once you have the answers to these questions you can make a better decision. Remember, when it comes to tough decisions like this it is your heart that has the answers; not your mind. If you have a business that you are considering closing or if you have a business that closed, don't let that be the end all! It happens. It is the UGLY in the good, bad and the ugly of entrepreneurship. When you were learning to ride a bike you fell off, right? You did not get on the first time and ride with ease. If you were anything like me you were determined to learn to ride even more after a fall! I bet after you fell and put a bandage on your knee you got right back on. It is the same thing with entrepreneurship. If it is in your blood to live a life of entrepreneurship there is nothing you can do about it! It is a trait that you are stuck with. Knowing that fact about yourself, don't let one disappointing experience keep you off the bike. Get back on the bike, regain your balance and peddle with even more force and determination! A quitter never wins and a winner never quits!
Have you ever walked away from something and found that walking away was a huge blessing? Leave a comment below and share your story- including the biggest take-way lesson learned. Let someone else that ma be experiencing this know that it is ok!
1. Create a strict budget and live by it. As an entrepreneur your income may not be steady; you may have good financial periods as well as low financial periods. Creating a realistic budget and following it will prevent you from over spending and feeling regret later. It will also allow you to have a resource for the periods when your income is low.
2. Commit to a savings plan. Even if it is $5.00 per week, get into the habit of putting something on the side. The easiest way to commit to saving is to make it automatic. Having an emergency fund can help with unexpected car repairs, an emergency plane ticket, etc. There are so many unknowns that can happen; it is important to be financially prepared.
3. Set weekly financial goals. As an entrepreneur there is no cap on how much money can be made. I remind myself of this as I determine how much I would like to make for the week. I pick a realistic number and I write it on a post-it and stick it on my bathroom mirror and another on my computer. I am reminded all day of what I need to attempt to achieve. It is a great motivator and the incentive is twice as great J
4. Think about retirement. Given the fact that as an entrepreneur you may not have a 401k plan to contribute to, I suggest opening an IRA or creating some other financial plan for retirement. Although you may be a young entrepreneur now you will one day be an old entrepreneur. Plan now so that you will not be an old broke former entrepreneur!
5. Invest in Yourself. Making and investment in yourself can be the best business investment you will ever make. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” Imagine yourself as the axe. You can accomplish so much more and accomplish your goals so much quicker once you have honed your skill. Honing your skill can come from purchasing material to improve, seminars, training, etc. Take advantage of as many opportunities to improve yourself and your skills.
If you have a skill , gift or talent or any type of expertise you should not be BROKE!! EVER!! NEVER!! NO EXCUSES!! We all have something unique about us. We all have something inside of us that was meant to touch someone else's life. We all have what it takes to plant and grow our own money tree!
As a well educated and intelligent woman I’ve been broke. Yes, I’ve been broke. I mean penniless broke. Scared I am about to be on the street with my children broke! Contrary to popular belief it is not easy for an attorney to get a good paying job practicing law. With so many markets oversaturated and so many firms closing, it is difficult to land a really good job. It is even more challenging when you come from a family of just regular hard-working people that are not well connected. Combine all those factors and it leaves many attorneys with loads of money owed to the government and working in jobs not related to law. They may also have to take jobs that pay less than their monthly student loan payments. What looks so glamorous to some is nothing close to glamorous for those that live it! Talk about stress…SIGHHHH!
After numerous interviews and sending countless resumes I was sad, frustrated and pretty much just fed up! I refused to feel defeated. I knew that my classmates that were actually working in big firms weren’t any smarter than me. I knew that I hadn’t gone to college and law school to be broke, sad and stressed! I decided to just put myself out there and start offering my services to anyone that needed them. Sometimes even for free. Yes...I said FREE! I gave out business cards to everyone I made eye contact with daily. It took some time and lots of effort, but it worked! I built a successful law practice and changed many of my clients’ lives. After years of practicing domestic and criminal law I knew that was not my passion. My passion was definitely in law, but a different type. My passion was also in entrepreneurship as I personally ran my firm like a well-oiled machine. I knew that I had the business mind to operate a profitable business, to market a business and to make something out of nothing. I took my legal expertise and knowledge of myself and used that to make an eventual career change that made me happy! I am now on a mission to show as many people as I can that with the desire, the courage and the hard work that they too can make a living sharing what they already have burning inside of them.
So what if you do not have a law degree! Who cares if you didn’t go to college! I can hear people saying '...but I don't have any talents', but the truth is everyone has talents; everyone has something that they can use to help someone else. If you don't know what your talents, gifts or your expertise is, you simply haven't discovered them yet.
So now here is the harsh reality…If you don’t know these things about yourself or what you are best suited to offer, you need to change your lifestyle. I say this because if you were living life to its fullest potential you would know soooo much about yourself. You would know what makes you happy, what gets your heart pumping and what you would definitely stay clear of daily. It took a bad divorce and me being faced with the challenge of being a single mom to a 2 yr old and and 3 month old to figure out some things about myself! Ohh geez… I don’t want to go back to those days!! Don’t let a life altering event be the catalyst to figure out what talents, gifts and knowledge really are. You are wasting the breath that you have been given if you do not discover these things about yourself.
If you have discovered your talents, your gifts, your expertise and you are not using them you have got to stop wasting them! You are truly taking what God has given you for granted! If you do not use your talents and expertise you will spend every hour that you work helping to build wealth for someone else. Many of the wealthiest people in the world became wealthy from using and sharing what was inside of them. If you really want to build wealth, the best way to do this is to build your own successful business doing what you love thereby building your own wealth and prosperity.
Think about your favorite hairstylist. What if they never picked up a pair of cutting shears? What if Steve Jobs never experimented with operating systems? What if Oprah never got in front of a camera? What if Michael Jordan never picked up a basketball? What if the architect that drew the plans for your home never studied the ins and outs of architecture? What if Suze Orman decided to keep all the financial knowledge she acquired to herself?
I am no different than you. You are no different than the people I mentioned above. If I can do this then you can too! Trust me! The secret to it all is in a few steps:
1. Dig Deep: Determine what you have to offer as a service, a product or information that can help others. Evaluate your skills and all that you have to offer. Determine who you can help and how you can help.
2. Get a Plan/ Strategy Determine how you will package yourself to appeal to those that you want to help. In addition develop a strategic plan for how you will reach the masses.
3. Dollars- Determine what you are going to charge for your specialized service or product and GO!
If you are currently working for someone and have no desire to leave that’s ok too. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. However, you can still make a residual income using what is already in side of you. It is an excellent practice for you do not know when you may be laid off, sustain an injury….whatever! By counting on yourself to make money, either as a full income or residual income, you can never go wrong. There’s nothing more rewarding than making money from doing something you love.
Once again, if I did this you can too! EASILY!!! Those skills are there. Take some time over the next few days and ask yourself, “What skill is trapped inside of me that’s just burning for me to capitalize!” Stop wasting time :)