Entrepreneur Success: 15 Tips to Zoom Business and Life

entrepreneur success tipsApproximately 80% of small businesses fail within the first year. How many of the people you know who have started a business have truly succeeded? How many of them put on a happy face yet are still at every networking meeting looking for business?

I spent 15 years working in corporate America for startups to fortune 500 organizations. Although I enjoyed it for many years, as the economy began to tumble it became less fulfilling. I survived 13 layoffs at one company alone, yet it came at a cost of life balance.  I started to lose the passion for marketing and business. I was losing myself and the goals and dreams that once inspired me.

After turning in a financial plan that took my life back I was fired. Yup, not laid off but fired within five minutes of hitting send on the email with attached plan. I was fired by the same CEO who just a few short months before recruited me big time with empty promises.  They made me believe they respected my time and I would not be working 24/7. However, even though I took the company online sales from a negative $30k/mo to a $1.2 million annual run rate within three months, it still wasn't enough. I was literally working around the clock yet still felt like a number. I knew there had to be a better way.

I will never forget the day I drove into the garage. My husband had just been laid off and we had just moved into a new home. I remember jumping out of my Lexus SUV stating “well, it happened honey, I got fired.”

As I started to look at jobs and talk to companies they all sounded the same. Yes, I could have all the money again. Yet, it also came with a required suitcase strapped to my back with constant travel from Florida to California on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Or I could make a change and follow the dream of being an entrepreneur I had since I was in 5th grade. Well, the story is too long for this blog post. The bottom line is I went for it. I hopped on Twitter and leveraged social media to build a full service social brand, content marketing, digital marketing, conversion optimization agency, Marketing Nutz.

Had someone told me two years ago that in less than two years we would be a global company with several offices in the U.S. and over seas, an extended and rockin' global team, amazing International clients, I would have told ya' “wow, really, that's cool!” My next question would have been “awesome, wonder how I am going to fund that?”

Go Big or Go Home!
it only takes a seedIt only takes a seed to turn your passion and vision into success. I had no rich daddy, no silver platter. I didn't even have hands on experience with Photoshop as I always had a team who did those things! I sold my Lexus and traded it for a VW Bug. We moved to a smaller home. We made required changes to enable us to make our vision and dreams a reality. I tapped into relationships of 15+ years and people who I had been paying their mortgage for over a decade as copywriters and developers.  My husband left corporate and joined me last September, almost exactly one year after I started. Hard to believe my blog, “Pam Marketing Nut” is just a few weeks over a year old!

We have lots going on behind the scenes. People frequently ask us why we don't attend more networking meetings. Because we have been working on a business platform. A sustainable platform for life and business that will support both us and our clients.

There are no words that describe seeing in real life your sweat and tears bear fruit. We have upcoming big announcements of new services, clients and more. What we are most excited about is how we'll be set to help and offer clients ranging from solo-entrepreneurs to enterprise, global accounts.

Many ask us how we did it and what was our secret.  I'll tell ya', there is no secret. The key ingredients are belief in self and vision and dedication to make it a reality.  We still have a long way to go and know much of the book is unwritten.   As I always say “God's plans for your life are far bigger than your dreams could ever be.”

15 Tips for Entrepreneur Success

1. Believe in yourself and your vision! If you don't believe in yourself who will? If you don't believe your vision is worth investment neither will your clients, partners or investors.

2. Go big or go home. In this economy status quo is not an option.  You either do it or don't. Play to win.  I have not strayed from my original vision written on the back of an unemployment statement two years ago. When you “go big” big things happen. If you “go small” then you'll wind up right back where you started from, or worse.

3. Focus on a sustainable business platform versus short term revenue. It is tempting to accept the big contract and check that will help pay off your car, mortgage and fund a nice big fat vacation. However, do such only if it is going to help propel your business in the right direction for sustainability. If it doesn't build your business, but instead takes away from your vision, then don't do it! Sell your car, sell your house, whatever you have to. Make the sacrifices now to build and reap the benefits exponentially as the platform comes together.

4. Don't sweat the competition. Know what your real competition is. Make friends and work with the ones you can. We're all better off in this world as a team than we are as one.  Your real competition are those who are in front of you, not necessarily behind you. Keep a closer eye on the ones who are behind closed doors with unknown clients versus those who spend their days bashing you and any organization or association who gets in their way. Focus on quantitative and qualitative data in researching competition. Know what they do, how you can do it better and what differentiated value you can offer your markets. Spend more time on your business then you do on theirs.

5. Don't worry about future funding, focus on executing to vision. I know entrepreneurs who have spent more time trying to get funding than they have working on their business. Build a business platform or product that knocks the socks off the market and the investors will come to you versus you having to track them down.

6. Hang with the right peeps.  If you hang out with 9 brokes you are guaranteed to be the 10th.  Surround yourself with builders, not joiners. Avoid the wanna be clients who only want to treat you to an endless supply of free lunches. Focus on people who value your time and expertise.

7.  Hire the right peeps. Don't rush to fill a position and settle for wrong skill set, experience or personality fit with the rest of your team. Ensure you hire folks who provide balance to your weaknesses and strengths not an exact clone. We are going thru this right now and have a critical role we are filling which is head of digital strategy for our Mumbai, India office. We're yet to find the right person and are in no rush to fill it for the goal of filling the role. We've got key team members in place and know the right person will be found soon. If you know of a rockin' social and tech savvy leader in Mumbai, let me know.

8. Trust your gut. I don't have to explain this one to most of you.  If it feels bad deep down inside then it probably is. If it's a business or partnership deal meet with the person or team in real life. Look them straight in the eye. If your gut tells you no, listen.

9.  Perfection is the enemy of good.  If you wait until it's perfect you'll miss the window of opportunity. Time to market is everything. One day can kill a client deal. However, balance perfection with good. Don't launch junk to the market. Set a minimum baseline up front for key projects. Don't go to market without them and don't delay launch to market for additional items unless they are justified.

10. You are what your community, partners and clients says you are.  You can work on corporate brand and messaging all day.  However, if it doesn't ring true with who you really are, what your services deliver then it's all for nothing.  Same holds true for your competition. You can bash them all you want. However, if your past and future clients love them you are in for an awakening unless you accept reality very soon.

11. Learn from mistakes. The first step in learning from mistakes is admitting you are wrong. Balance being flexible with sticking to your original vision. Often times Plan B is a revised version of Plan A. It's all how you look at it. Don't be too hard on yourself if you wind up at Plan D or E by the time you find the method that works.

12. Don't be afraid to fire a client. We have all been there. You know the clients I am talking about. The ones that don't value you, your services and don't want to pay for it either. If you are losing sleep, hair and sanity from a client relationship then consider giving it up. It doesn't have to be an ugly break up.  Your time is better spent on clients who appreciate what you do and can be a partner as you build your businesses together.

13. Keep your mouth shut. What happens on Twitter goes to Facebook, LinkedIn, the local Chamber and the neighborhood pub. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Keep your head down and keep pickin' cotton as my granny would say. If you are focused on the right things in your business you shouldn't have to worry about this anyway.

14. Take time for in real life (IRL). Celebrate the big and little wins. This is your ride so enjoy it. Embrace the bumps, the jiggles and the offroad excitement. Surround yourself with peeps who also like an adventure and are eager to pull you up out of the mud when you fall down.

inspire connect achieve15. Embrace your WHY. What does success look like to you at the end of the rainbow? If all you search for is a pot of gold you may find yourself disappointed. For me, success will be spending 90-95% of my time on social good related activities. I know this current chapter is simply a means to get there. I have no doubt not only will this chapter be one of success but the next one will be even better.

Your book is unwritten so get out there and write it! 

 

Your Turn

What do you think? Are you a new entrepreneur struggling with not giving up or knowing how to get started? What keeps you motivated? If you've already made it past the first two or three years and are now seeing success, how did you do it? What tips can you share with others?

Our 1 Year (actually 9 months) Video – Update coming soon!

2017-02-08T00:35:10+00:00

About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.

28 Comments

  1. PamMktgNut October 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    @jasonyormark thanks Jason! How is your weekend so far? It is stunningly beautiful here in Florida!

    • jasonyormark October 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      @pammktgnut Typical gloomy Seattle weather! Please send over some sunshine.

  2. janetcallaway October 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Pam, aloha. CONGRATULATIONS on your success! Though I knew a part of your story, I did not know the details.; thoroughly enjoyed the marketing clip.

    What I appreciate most, Pam, is that you decided to take back control of your life and made the changes necessary to accomplish it. While you still may put in some long hours, at least you are building your dream rather than someone else’s and, of course, how fantastic that you and Josh work together.

    Though decades ago I did work for others, even within the employer/employee environment I was entrepreneurial. To me being in control of my life is what matters–to have the freedom to be or do or have anything I want. To know that I am the one responsible for everything that happens in my life and to savor that knowledge.

    In my opinion, anyone in this day and age who thinks there is job security, is deluding her/himself. What happened with your last job is a perfect example–big promises, big bucks, big lies, you’re out! Even if people love their jobs, they need to think “what if” a big client didn’t pay and the company folded or “what if” there were a merger with duplicate positions eliminated and the list continues. They need to have a Plan B; ideally, a business that they start building part time on the side to generate income. Ig all goes well for them forever, then with their Plan B business they have made a few extra dollars and been able to take advantage of tax benefits.

    Two key ingredients present in every successful entrepreneur are “knowing WHY” and “100% Acceptance of Responsibility.”

    Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful weekend. Pam, this post made my heart sing. Thank you for sharig your story, this part of your life with us. Until next time, aloha. Janet

  3. janetcallaway October 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Pam, aloha. CONGRATULATIONS on your success! Though I knew a part of your story, I did not know the details.; thoroughly enjoyed the marketing clip.

    What I appreciate most, Pam, is that you decided to take back control of your life and made the changes necessary to accomplish it. While you still may put in some long hours, at least you are building your dream rather than someone else’s and, of course, how fantastic that you and Josh work together.

    Though decades ago I did work for others, even within the employer/employee environment I was entrepreneurial. To me being in control of my life is what matters–to have the freedom to be or do or have anything I want. To know that I am the one responsible for everything that happens in my life and to savor that knowledge.

    In my opinion, anyone in this day and age who thinks there is job security, is deluding her/himself. What happened with your last job is a perfect example–big promises, big bucks, big lies, you’re out! Even if people love their jobs, they need to think “what if” a big client didn’t pay and the company folded or “what if” there were a merger with duplicate positions eliminated and the list continues. They need to have a Plan B; ideally, a business that they start building part time on the side to generate income. Ig all goes well for them forever, then with their Plan B business they have made a few extra dollars and been able to take advantage of tax benefits.

    Two key ingredients present in every successful entrepreneur are “knowing WHY” and “100% Acceptance of Responsibility.”

    Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful weekend. Pam, this post made my heart sing. Thank you for sharig your story, this part of your life with us. Until next time, aloha. Janet

  4. rkarthikhebbar October 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    @KarthikTantri naanu 4 hottige jpnagarnalli irteeni! Kelasa mugeetiddahaage phone maadla?

    • KarthikTantri October 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      @rkarthikhebbar Oh kk… if i come early ll call u else neenu kelsa mugida mele u call me..

  5. SangitaSri October 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    @KarthikTantri GM Karthik! http://t.co/c2IhYgM7

  6. Sue Vest October 23, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Great story Pam!

  7. Amanda French October 23, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Loved this article! Very inspiring 🙂

  8. cpawebster October 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Pam,

    Reading this post was like re-reading the story of my own life this past year (only yours is better!). After years of being miserable in dead-end marketing and sales jobs, I decided to start my own business in July 2010.

    One of the biggest challenges was overcoming the “oh you are ‘another’ social media expert.”

    Social media was not my first choice or even my second. But, I had a passion for it (a key ingredient to success) and I knew I could help people understand the best way to use it. I never claimed to be an expert nor did I claim that a business could make millions using social media. I listened, learned, watched, tested, and re-tested. And, I never gave up.

    Fifteen months later, I have an established social media business. Those who have worked with me know I’m not your “tweet-for-hire” service and those who haven’t worked with me or taken the time to get to know me – oh well!

    When I reached my one-year mark, I wrote a blog post similar to this. It’s called 5 Steps to Being a Successful Business Owner. (http://bit.ly/pnHY1w).

    Kudos to you for believing and investing in yourself and taking the leap of faith. You truly practice what you preach and that’s fundamental! Cheers!

    Rachel

  9. airport_girl October 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    @PamMktgNut so how long have you been specialized in digital marketing?

    • PamMktgNut October 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      @airport_girl Since I can remember…. started programming in high school! lol

      • airport_girl October 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm

        @PamMktgNut you’ve quite the history then! Awesome.

      • cpawebster October 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm

        @PamMktgNut Programming? Then you know all the tech stuff! That’s where I lack, but I’m workin’ on it!

  10. Wittlake October 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Pam, inspiring perspective, thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Incredible what your business has become in just two years, how it started, and how you have gotten some of the balance you never had in the traditional corporate world.

    Look forward to hearing more and connecting in the future!

  11. WorkingNaked October 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Excellent! RT @JessicaNorthey Entrepreneur Success: 15 Tips to Zoom Business and Life http://t.co/Ln9LteGy RT @PamMktgNut

  12. hyteriglaus October 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    @lizstrauss Liz, I’m was kind of wondering,

  13. Stevefogg October 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Pam,

    Having the right perspective is so important. I’ve been in a similar situation to you. There is a point where what we do isn’t about the money, its about doing something we love. I don’t wake up and say I’ve got to go to work. I get up in the morning and just do what I love. I’ve just started to blog about my experiences in marketing and communications and came across your blog on Twitter. I’ve add you into my RSS feed. You have a really great blog here. You write with such clarity and in an engaging way. Keep it up!

  14. Probyn November 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Great food 4 thought! RT @PamMktgNut Entrepreneur Success: 15 Tips to Zoom Business and Life http://t.co/7lgpbC4I (check it out, @rosamyst)

  15. Jeffyshep December 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

    @PamMktgNut I like those but shouldn’t excellent customer service be at the top?

    • PamMktgNut December 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

      @Jeffyshep of course!

    • PamMktgNut December 1, 2011 at 11:23 am

      @Jeffyshep As for the refund, the best bet is to talk with the company It could simply be a misunderstanding. You are out of country, right?

      • Jeffyshep December 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

        @PamMktgNut Yes I am out of the country, I have spoken to them but they point blank refuse and I don’t know who I can turn to.

        • PamMktgNut December 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

          @Jeffyshep try one last time, document all and then see what happens. Did they state they refuse? If yes, get in writing the refusal.

        • PamMktgNut December 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

          @Jeffyshep just sent you a DM. 🙂

        • Jeffyshep December 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

          @PamMktgNut Ok

  16. thisismukund December 2, 2011 at 6:27 am

    @PamMktgNut a very nice article for entrepreneurs like me

  17. VinceSchilling January 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    @PamMktgNut Thanks for the 15 business and entrepreneur tips – Pam

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