It was the summer of 2011 and I was about to embark on an entirely new journey in life. Not only was I going to marry to an amazing man that November, I had also decided I was going to be starting a business of my own.
Two life changing events in one year - both extremely exciting and slightly stressful.
But at the age of 24, I was feeling invincible. It was this confidence that allowed me to set out in this new direction, but quite possibly this same confidence that blinded me from some very obvious oncoming setbacks.
I am fortunate enough to say that I recently celebrated a fourth anniversary with my husband, closing out our third amazing year of marriage with a beautiful and serene trip to Kauai, Hawaii.
And, although it has taken some time to come to terms with, I am also fully aware of the opportunity that lies ahead of me now that, after four years of owning my first marketing agency with my former business partner, we decided to close our doors and embark on new journeys, allowing us an opportunity to fulfill our individual passions.
The moral of the story? In the excitement of the entrepreneurial life, and the thrill of the moment, it's easy to lose sight of what is most important. There are two critical mistakes I wanted to share with you today to help you avoid potential setbacks when you've set out on starting a business.
Losing focus of your brand purpose
You're starting a business for a reason. And your compelling desire to have a positive and powerful impact on the world has empowered you to take this step. This destined brand purpose should be at the core of everything you do, and should guide all of the decisions you make. When starting a business, we are 100% committed to the idea of doing what it takes to become successful and have this impact, and fairly confident that this commitment is all we need to get there - since we know the world needs what we are set out to offer!
But, as entrepreneurs, we are hard-wired to become excited about the opportunities that lay ahead of us, and it is easy to become distracted by items that won't help us serve this purpose or reach these predetermined goals. We will consistently find ourselves surrounded by individuals with great intentions, but disruptive suggestions or guidance.
Don't lose focus.
You know why are you are starting a business, and you alone will have the best judgement in deciding which direction - whether it be your next marketing campaign, or a new product to add to your offerings - will be most in line with helping you carry out your purpose.
As Gary Keller's book, The ONE Thing, so eloquently outlines, behind every successful person is their one thing, and only your ability to dismiss distractions and concentrate on this one thing stands between you and your goals.
Ignoring the financial reality
In true transparency, and for the sake of helping you avoid future mistakes, we should have realized that our financial situation was not what it should be. But we're entrepreneurs, not financial gurus!
Whether or not this is the case, you should have someone appointed to managing your finances that understands the trends they are seeing and the true health of your business. As much as we may feel that spending time keeping our finger on the pulse of our financial situation distracts us from serving our purpose, this financial health is what will allow you to continue to have the impact you want to have.
You can't touch the lives of thousands if your business isn't financially stable.
I am fortunate enough to be able to say that the dissolution of my former agency has allowed me to regain clarity around my core values, my brand purpose and the true impact I can have by supporting small businesses in their venture to change the world. And, while there will always be lessons to learn as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, hopefully I've shed some light on a few lessons you can vicariously learn through me rather than going through them yourself!