If you focus on enjoying the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, you may just become better at it in the process. Here's how to have your cake and eat it too. By Molly Reynolds (Freelance Marketing Consultant)
Most of us have eaten our fair share of cupcakes – completely ignoring the white elephant in the room.
What's the problem? Well, for starters, the frosting (aka the best part) is all at the top of the cupcake. So you eat the top and it's heavenly! But then you're left with the bottom, which you either throw away or eat, simply because you don't want to waste it. Let's face it though – you're not really enjoying it.
Wasn't your mind blown when some genius came up with the idea to cut the bottom off the cupcake and place it over the top like a sandwich so that all parts of the cupcake had frosting? Problem solving at its finest.
Entrepreneurship (like cupcake eating) can cause us to take a somewhat narrow view of our daily tasks.
We get so focused on the end result (finishing the cupcake), that we don't realize that it could have been a whole lot more enjoyable.
Here are some tips from some seasoned entrepreneurs to enhance your startup experience:
Don't Be Afraid to Pivot
Danielle McDowell and Janell Shaffer founded My Best Friend's Hair, which was akin to Match.com for hairstylists and their clients. Great idea! But in starting their business, they realized that there was more of a demand for beauty products. So they decided to pivot and created Loxa Beauty, a one-of-a-kind e-commerce site that provides commission to a local salon or stylist with every customer purchase made online. Loxa was such a huge success that it was acquired by industry giant Sally Beauty.
"Changing your business model does not mean you failed. It means you learned, listened, and let the market lead you," McDowell and Shafer suggest. "Great companies are always pivoting, you just don't hear about it. So don't be afraid to do it, too. It might just be your ticket to a multimillion-dollar acquisition like it was for us."
It all goes back to cupcakes, ladies and gentlemen. Don't get stuck in your ways. If there's a better way to do something, then do it!
Work Smarter, Not Harder
You've heard the phrase. But how do you actually make it happen? Serial entrepreneur Ben Pappas suggests it's by getting out of your head.
All the daily tasks rolling around in your mind can drive you crazy if you're not careful. Clear your brain by taking the time to write down your thoughts and prioritize your day. "Being able to see my thoughts organized gives me a feeling of control," Pappas says. "And it makes me excited to keep working on the boundless possibilities that are out there – without becoming overwhelmed."
Keep Your Work and Home in Balance
Pssst. Taking a break to do something you love will actually help you be better at your job. Ask Bryan Papé, founder of MiiR, a company that makes products for active people. "I wish I would have known how much of my life [being an entrepreneur] would take over. The whole work/life balance is kind of a misnomer because when you start something with your own time and money and are super passionate about it, it begins to become all-consuming."
Bryan balances life and work by taking time every day to get outside, whether it's biking, hiking, or simply going on a walk with his wife. And it helps his business! "My best ideas and problem solving usually occur on a hike or bike ride," he says. "There's something magical about nature, use that to your advantage."
If you work in a way that doesn't fulfill you, your life will pass you by. Don't let that happen. Always remember, businesses (like cupcakes) are meant to be enjoyed.
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About the guest blogger: Molly Reynolds is a former Chief Marketing Officer, with a strong passion for helping creative innovators see their start-ups fully realized. She gives regular marketing lectures and seminars for universities, professional associations, and business summits. Most recently, her work has been featured on Yahoo!, AOL, The Huffington Post, and Business News Daily.