“Do Not Give Up. The Beginning is Always the Hardest.” – Fortune Cookie

It’s been a while since crafted a “Fortune Cookie Friday” post! For those of you not familiar, Fortune Cookie Friday Fortune cookie-April 2013involves me unwrapping – and interpreting within a small business context – the so often overlooked nuggets of knowledge inside one of those folded confections that accompany takeout Asian cuisine.

Today’s fortune: Do not give up. The beginning is always the hardest.

Could this have been any easier? This fortune is about as relevant to solopreneurs as you can get.

Starting out as a solopreneur or small business owner IS difficult. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re blowing smoke. Among the challenges that small start-ups face…

  • Getting others to see you as an entrepreneur instead of a [insert former position/career path].
  • Not having a consistent flow of income.
  • Funding of all the start-up essentials needed to get up and running.
  • Gaining traction in your networking endeavors.
  • Building a social media following beyond your BFFs.
  • Gaining leads’ confidence in that you’re every bit as good – and better – than your competitors who have been in the game longer.
  • Figuring out how to grow your billable hours and keep up with all of your other business responsibilities, too
  • Weeding through all of the marketing opportunities available and zeroing in on those that will give you the best results for your time and money.

And depending on your specific situation and type of business, you could probably add all sorts of new and different bullet points to the list.

But if you’re thinking of starting out as a solopreneur, don’t be discouraged! Self-employment has its perks as well. Among them…

  • Flexibility with your schedule.
  • The professional and personal satisfaction of building your brand.
  • New connections and meaningful friendships with others in the business community.
  • No dealing with petty corporate cliques.
  • The freedom to choose the professional learning and development opportunities you’re interested in and can gain the most from.
  • The freedom to choose your customers.
  • Increased self-confidence.
  • The sky is the limit! With time, talent, use of the right resources, and a lot of hard work, you can accomplish your goals.

So, yes, the beginning is the hardest when you start a small business, but keep your eye on the prize. Growth and success don’t come easily, but they do come to those who are willing to put forth the effort, who aren’t afraid to expend energy to the cause, and who can adapt to change.

What can you add to the challenges and perks of starting a small business?

Fortune Cookie Friday: “You Will Be Fortunate In Every Thing.”

Fortune Cookie Friday has returned! And with it, more profound business advice from within those folded confections we all love to crack open after a nice pint of chicken lo mein.

 

“You Will Be Fortunate In Every Thing.”

My last Fortune Cookie Friday post focused on how to facilitate and attract “good news”. But sometimes, despite your best efforts and intentions, you’ll find yourself faced with less than positive responses and results.

Success is never “a given”, and you’re bound to encounter a few occasional steps backward before your business continues to move forward. Setbacks can be a thorn in the solopreneur’s side. They can distract you from providing the quality your clients deserve. They can deflate your self-confidence and stamina.

They can do those detrimental things and more, but they don’t have to. Not if you don’t let them.

Your attitude toward adversity in business can do more than make you difficult or easy to deal with day in and day out. It can also affect your future success. If you view even negative experiences as learning opportunities, you truly will be fortunate in every thing. That type of open mindedness allows you to objectively take stock of situations that seem hopeless so you can:

  • Dissect them to figure out what went wrong.
  • Identify why they went wrong.
  • Determine if you can do something to avoid the issue again in the future.
  • Make your business stronger by taking action and making changes.

Turning lemons into lemonade is a skill set that all entrepreneurs should practice daily. Although none of us want to roll out the red carpet for bitter experiences, challenges do have a sweet side – after you acquire a taste for them!

How do  you deal with setbacks in your business? How have your failures or challenges helped you move upward and onward?

Fortune Cookie Friday: “Good news will come to you by mail.” – But you need to work for it!

The first Friday in June has arrived – and with it, another Fortune Cookie Friday! Time to explore the wisdom within…

 

“Good news will come to you by mail.”

Well, that sounds promising! But in business, good news isn’t generally something that comes from out of the blue without any sort of effort behind the scenes to make it happen. As solopreneurs, we have to give good news a jump start. We have to pave the way for good news to reach us.

How can you set the foundation for good news to come your way?

  • Do your homework to make sure your services and products are fulfilling a want or need in the market.
  • Network to build relationships and establish respect for – and trust in – your brand.
  • Be responsive to client inquiries and feedback.
  • Go the extra mile to be a source of information and tips that will help others succeed.
  • Make use of your social media channels and email to do all of the above, but don’t rely on them completely. Communicate through phone calls and face-to-face meetings whenever possible, too.
  • Be fair to your customers – and to your business – in your pricing.
  • Be patient.
  • Genuinely care about what you do every day; it will show, and people will notice.

Do all of these, and good news will surely arrive!

What do you do to boost the volume of good news that flows your way? 


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Consider joining the Dialing 8 Project! A forum for learning, sharing & getting the most out of your social media efforts for your small business.

 

Fortune Cookie Friday: “Your principles mean more to you than any money or success.”

Friday at last! And time for another Fortune Cookie Friday interpretation of a folded confection’s inner wisdom.Fortune Cookie wisdom

 

“Your principles mean more to you than any money or success.”

By definition, according to Merriam Webster, a principle is “a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption.”

We all have principles, but I doubt that most of us give them the attention of our conscious thought. In fact, I don’t recall ever really sitting down to take inventory of the “comprehensive and fundamental laws, doctrines, and assumptions” that guide me in my personal and professional life. What about you?

Principles run in the background for the most part. They subconsciously keep us on track ethically and they drive our motivation. As solopreneurs and small business owners, most of us strive for some level of money and success. But obtaining either of those is far greater if you’ve got principles like these guiding your efforts:

  • Work hard to achieve.
  • Welcome new ideas and approaches.
  • Treat others with respect.
  • Accept responsibility for your mistakes.
  • Aim to deliver excellence in all you do.
  • Always look for ways to improve and grow.
  • Be involved to make a difference in your community.

Your underlying principles might be similar; they might be different. Either way, you’ve got some whether you’ve pointedly thought about them or not. Why not take a few minutes to reflect on them and how they’re driving your efforts at work and at home?

I’d love to hear from you! Comment here to share your guiding principles. Do we have any in common?


Dialing 8 Project

Consider joining the Dialing 8 Project! A forum for learning, sharing & getting the most out of your social media efforts for your small business.

Fortune Cookie Friday: Business Advice in an edible wrapper – Be open to ideas on all fronts

Fortune Cookie Friday is here again with a new bit of business wisdom:Fortune cookie

“Be receptive to new ideas from all fronts.”

It’s easy to be open-minded and accepting of ideas when they come from people we know, respect and get along well with. It’s not as easy to be that welcoming when getting suggestions from someone you don’t exactly jive with.

But as solopreneurs looking to build our businesses in creative ways, sometimes we’ve got push our bias aside to discover and grow.

To suppress the knee-jerk reaction to instantly reject input from a person or group you don’t see eye-to-eye with, keep these things in mind:

  • You might not like them, but they’ve probably got some smarts – Give them the benefit of the doubt. There’s probably some hint of common sense or expertise in what they share. At the very least, what they suggest will get you thinking and lead you to new ideas of your own.
  • If they point out a weakness, maybe you do have room for improvement – Don’t dwell on their criticism, but objectively consider what they tell you and determine if there’s truth in it. They might have no justification at all for fault-finding, but if there is, wouldn’t you want to fix what’s broken?
  • Being gracious and grateful helps build burnt bridges – When you don’t have an amicable relationship with the source of a suggestion, it won’t hurt matters to hear them out. Resist eye-rolling and say “thank you” after they’ve said their piece. Common courtesy can go a long way in salvaging civility between people who haven’t shared common ground.

Most importantly, remember that looking to others with diverse views is a way to expand your perspective and go outside of your comfort zone. You don’t have to act on their ideas, but their thoughts could be the catalysts to new and successful approaches you otherwise might not have considered.

Have you ever found great ideas via people you don’t particularly have an affinity for? 

Got writing, editing or proofreading needs? I’d love to talk with you about the ways I can help you save time and put your best marketing foot forward with my freelance services.


Dialing 8 Project

Consider joining the Dialing 8 Project! A forum for learning, sharing & getting the most out of your social media efforts for your small business.

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