Irrefutable Truths to Building Your Dream Business
As Voltaire famously wrote, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”—the perfect is the enemy of the good. You will paralyze yourself if you insist that everything has to be perfect before your launch your business. That’s why I love the “Lean” business methodology—because it encourages you to test as you launch versus waiting to unveil your masterpiece.
Why, when we know that there's no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No—the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect. – Brene Brown
You’ll Never Have It All Figured Out
Similar to the last point, business is not a “set it up and press cruise control” kind of venture—things are going to go “off course.” At Hera Hub we try not to use the word “failure.” I personally like the phrase “learning moment” (coined by the founder of WD-40, Gary Ridge) or the ever-popular “pivoting.” Whatever you call it, you will always be learning and pivoting. That’s just part of business! Yes, you need to plan, but be aware that it’s going to shift.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas A. Edison
Business is hard. Yes, anything is possible, but you are going to have to be willing to stay the course (even if there are pivots along the way). There will be long hours and lots of frustration. Some days you’ll feel like someone has socked you in the stomach—or, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “punched you in the face.” There will be many highs and many more lows. You must accept this and let your passion pull you through.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On!” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge
You need to understand that you are not your business. I see this often when someone is consulting or providing a service—they have a difficult time not feeling personally hurt when someone doesn’t accept a proposal or gives them a bad review. Men are much, much better at this. They compartmentalize things, while women mix everything up into one big plate of spaghetti! Do not—I repeat, do not—take things personally! Business is business. Get up, brush yourself off, and move on.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. – Wayne Dyer
Watch Out For “Shiny Object Syndrome”
In today’s world of constant bombardment, it’s easy to be pulled off track. Everyone will try to give you advice, whether you want it or not. This will be challenging for you if 1) don’t have a solid business plan and 2) you are not confident in your direction. Women are natural people pleasers. On top of that, they are often more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. I’ve seen one comment send an entrepreneur on a completely different course.
Keep focused on your core business, and don’t let the dozens of other ideas that come your way pull you too far off track. I recommend getting an idea journal or using a platform like Trello to note down all of those “great ideas” and “advice.” After you have a solid foundation for your business, then you can go back and explore some of these ideas.
Focusing is about saying no. – Steve Jobs
You will from time-to-time feel like a fraud. Note it, and get over it. Even some of the most successful women I’ve met tell me deep down that they are afraid of being “figured out.” Even Tina Fey once confessed that she sometimes screams inside her head, “I’m a fraud! They’re onto me!”
Dr. Valerie Young is a leading expert on the impostor syndrome, and author of award-winning book “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It”. Boys are raised to bluff and exaggerate. Girls, on the other hand, learn early to distrust their opinions and stifle their voices. They discover they are judged by the highest physical, behavioral and intellectual standards. Perfection becomes the goal, and every flaw, mistake or criticism is internalized—slowly hollowing out self-confidence.
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ “ – Maya Angelou
I am often asked—how do you balance work and life? My answer is quite simple “I don’t”—my work is so much a part of my life that I couldn’t possibly consider it to be something separate; an individual entity completely segregated from my personal life. My work does not feel like work.
I’m so passionate about my business because of the amazing women I get to support on a daily basis, through our space and strong community. I love helping others find what really lights them up... what allows them also to have work/life integration.
That’s why I have an insatiable energy and don’t feel drained after working 12 hour days. I don’t mind having an inbox that is jam packed with requests, questions, and introductions because it is all a part of something so much bigger; something that I love, Hera Hub.
Make it a goal to thread your personal and professional life together. Incorporate things you enjoy into your business, so it feels like you’re passing the time doing something pleasant rather than a task to be checked off of your list. Try to infuse “focused fun” by pinpointing what you love: drawing, talking, laughing, interesting conversation, list making, etc. and weave it into your business and work.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Confucius
Felena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment for growing businesses. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous. The company has three locations in San Diego, one in Washington DC, and continues to grow nationally via a licensing model. Her goal is to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business by 2020. Felena and Hera Hub have been featured in Inc Magazine, the BBC News, Forbes, and the New York Times. She is a published author and international speaker. Her book, “Flight Club – Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business” is available on Amazon.