Entrepreneurs: What would you tell your younger self about navigating your career?
Laurel Springs, an online K-12 school, launched an eight-week program for its postgraduate students so they can prepare for an entrepreneurial career back in January. Programming was produced in partnership with the corporate coaching firm and used one-on-one sessions with EPL coaches, self-rated assessments tools, and interactive learning modules to encourage students to consider future entrepreneurial endeavors.
During the virtual event, the entrepreneurs across a range of industries and locales shared thoughts on their professional journeys and what they wish they knew earlier. Consider these snippets of their talks, and how they might apply to your own career:
Anita Shekar Akerkar, self-employed voice-over actor, on building ‘a village’:
“I didn’t want to admit at all that I was failing, or feeling like I was failing. But over time I realized that I had to start telling people that I was an entrepreneur. Because not only is it good for business and the future, but you also begin to realize, there are a lot of people around you that can be that support, that village that you can rely on for the good moments and the bad moments. To give you advice, to give you comfort, to celebrate. Don’t go on this journey alone. Having people along by your side is really critical.”
Ciara Pressler, author and founder, on being profitable:
“First-time entrepreneurs especially, are really stuck on their first idea, or their main idea, so [learning] how to test and get feedback and then accept and apply that feedback [is essential]. I think things are going that way, but that’s not taught, or it wasn’t taught when I was in school.
“And then financials. The point of a business is to make money. I understand it’s also to be fulfilled and have a creative exercise, but at the end of the day, if your business isn’t making money, unless you’re independently wealthy, you don’t have a business. It’s a hobby. [Understand] how business finance works … what is cash flow, revenue, business taxes. I’m still learning a lot of these things, and the earlier you understand it, the more you know how much risk you can afford.”
Dick Eaton, entrepreneur and angel investor, on emotional bandwidth:
“How do you actually handle stress? How do you handle the roller coaster emotionally, of the startup experience? Because there is going to be extraordinary highs and extraordinary lows. And so part of that is your own emotional intelligence, your own wherewithal, and also part of it is your own board of advisors. Who’s in your ecosystem who you can go to and rely on for emotional sustenance?”
Christopher Rollins, entrepreneur and executive coach, on aligning employees with your mission:
“It’s really important to me and my business to live out in the world from a place of clarity and purpose, and I think that’s important for a lot of entrepreneurs, to be really clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing. So when you go to then build a team, if that’s your goal, it’s [about] sharing your story and sharing your vision and why you got into the business, and sharing your values about what’s important to you. That’s what creates the unity around working toward your goal.”-30-
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