Reflections on birthing a business
They said it would be the most difficult thing I’d ever do. Turns out, it is but in the most surprising ways. Here are some of my lightbulb moments from my first few months in business.
The noise is shocking. You’re supposed to keep an eye on the competition, right? PESTD. Conduct an environmental scan. I spent a couple weeks feeling off and couldn’t identify why. I realized I’d been inadvertently focussing too much on the competition, telling myself I was getting an understanding of the landscape. I had to pull myself out of the weird dark internet hole I’d fallen into.
I had to stop paying attention to the external environment quite so much and completely refocus on what I’m building. Gary Vaynerchuk, thanks for the reminder ❤ ! I’m now making a point of building relationships with my worthy adversaries and am really enjoying the process.
Headspace / mentality / attitude / whatever you want to call it is mega important. I’m learning this, real fast. Social media, including the casual morning Instagram scan, makes it way too easy to lose focus.
You’ve got to want to win, more than anything, more than you want to breathe. I heard this quote by Will Smith once, he said ‘I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me… But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: you’re getting off first, or I’m going to die’. Amazing. Like this is Survivor and I’m going to stand on the log post in the water the longest. Great, BUT I had to remind myself that there’s a firehose of learning and it’s okay to take a breath too. I’m learning that recharge moments are key and it’s very worthwhile to invest time into my own health/fitness/well-being even though it’s so tempting to bill just one more hour.
The opportunity to create is wild, just insane. It’s play! There’s no limit and I always feel like I can be doing more. The challenge has been prioritizing projects and breaking things down into 90 day chunks. Could I have learned this pre-business? Yes, but I got wrapped up and it feels different when it’s your own. You have more battery life all the time because it’s your dream, not someone else’s.
The fallacy of the overnight success and learning that this happens to exactly no one. There are so many stories about ‘overnight successes’ that in fact were ideas or companies in the making for year and years (read Wal-mart, AirBNB etc). The internet can make it look like great companies were built overnight and everything is awesome all the time. Well, no, there are highs and lows. There’s a lot of failing and rejection and moments of uncertainty. The magical thing is that you learn so much from these moments. It’s almost invigorating… Check, got that lesson under my belt, onto the next. It feels like a right of passage and a necessary part of the journey. I’m learning to lean in and love these moments too.
Ownership is wild. Every risk and reward is mine. I have no backup plan. I’m playing the long game and am trying to learn how to wear all the hats at once. It’s a crazy feeling have so much control over your own destiny and I sometimes find myself falling into an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and fulfillment.
I’m grateful I stopped dreaming and just did it, taking baby steps (on weekends, early mornings, and evenings outside of my full time job) until baby Beacon became a living breathing entity. I’m grateful for having a great mentor in my last role as an employee who pushed me outside my comfort zone on the regular and made me get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This made telling myself to ‘be brave’ and have faith that I could do it a whole lot easier. Thanks Debbie Bortolussi ❤!
I’ve decided, so far, that being an entrepreneur is about three things: dealing with rejection & failing fast, problem solving, like waking up in the morning and asking with excitement ‘what juicy problems am I going to solve today’, and it’s about being comfortable with risk. I think that last one is why most people don’t start businesses in the first place. To me, business ownership is the opposite of complacency. It’s forcing me to invest in myself and get better every single day. It’s a freaking wild ride and I am so down for the adventure.