How to Become the Entrepreneurial Fire: 3 Hot Tips to Fuel Fulfillment & Success by Elisa Schmitz
In a world that is strewn with obstacles of every imaginable kind, is it possible to achieve your goals and aspirations? YES! Remember, pure gold comes out of fire.
I recently sat down with Anita Brick, director of career advancement programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, for an episode of the inspiring podcast, CareerCast. We covered so many great topics, from viability to resilience, redefining failure and success, and finding the path that’s right for you. We talked about how it’s easier to succeed if you know your why, and when you know who you truly are. Most importantly, we discussed how to transform obstacles that can block the progress of each of us into the unstoppable fuel of fulfillment and success.
I shared my top three tips for becoming the entrepreneurial fire:
1. Preparation: Do your research and understand your market.
I had recently graduated with my master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and was expecting my first child. I was insatiably curious about what was going on with my belly and my baby. I had so many questions but there were few places to go for answers.
I researched the market to find a pregnancy magazine. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I asked my friends and family for insight – without much luck. I then asked every professional I knew in the expectant mother world what they thought about this lack of timely pregnancy information in the market: my midwife, my obstetrician, my childbirth educator, my salesperson at the baby boutique. Everyone seemed to agree that there was no pregnancy magazine out there and that, indeed, it looked to be a gap in the marketplace that needed filling.
I created a market research survey to ask other expectant moms if they also wanted pregnancy information in magazine format. When 98 out of 100 pregnant women I surveyed said that they would subscribe to a pregnancy magazine such as the one I described, I realized I wasn’t alone. Other pregnant women wanted this information as much as I did.
My gut instinct had been backed up by data gathered from experts and consumers in the space. I had found a legit hole in the market, and that lit my entrepreneurial spark. By starting with gut instinct then following the data, I was able to create and execute on my vision. As I grew the business, I leveraged the combination of my instincts and hard data to ensure the business was on the right track. Using tools like surveys and message boards for feedback and to continually leverage consumer insights, we were able to deliver what our audience wanted and needed, which fueled our growth. The key is to always be in tune with your market.
2. Passion: Do what you love – that’s your why.
Find the thing that you are most passionate about, that lights a fire in you. Once you find it, you’ll want to dedicate yourself to it. That dedication fuels your motivation to bring your best self to it every day. As you see progress, you’ll work even harder at it. You’ll get so good that others can’t overlook you. You’ll become the obvious choice for opportunities that align with your expertise. You’ll get so good that others simply can’t not notice.
Striving to be your best becomes a virtuous cycle: the more you love what you’re doing, the more of it you will do; the more you dedicate yourself to it – by practicing or working at it – the better at it you will become. Dedicate yourself to your personal best every day. Don’t obsess about what others are doing every day. The only things you can control are your own actions and efforts, so make them count. Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to others. Compare yourself to yourself. If you are improving, you are succeeding. Through your dedication, more and more opportunities will arise, and you will continue to achieve.
As you become better and better at it, others will start to notice and recognize you for it. As you become known for being the best at it, like a beacon, the flame within you will shine so brightly that others will see it for themselves. You will have become the fire.
3. Perseverance: Don’t let life’s setbacks keep you down.
Everyone faces challenges, chaos and fires. But it’s those who persevere that are more likely to succeed. Perseverance means you’re undaunted by mistakes, failures and fires, knowing you can bounce back. It means you have fortitude and are willing to stick with it, no matter what. You’re determined to see it to conclusion, even in the face of adversity. And if there’s a setback, you have the mental toughness to try again and again until you succeed. When you do what you love, the passion you feel gives you energy to stick with it, even when things are hard or go sideways. That’s perseverance.
When building my businesses, I didn’t always have the answers and I ran into many roadblocks. Learning to run a business required trial and error: from securing intellectual property to building awareness; from managing finances to hiring a team. But every time we solved a problem, generated exposure for the company, achieved a revenue milestone, or improved our team, I was fulfilled. I loved what I was doing so much that it never felt like “work.”
Perseverance also helped me through work-life balance challenges that often felt insurmountable. But because I was so passionate about what I was doing, I stuck with it. Whether that meant taking an important call from a rocking chair in the nursery, jotting down ideas in line at the grocery store or combining business trips with family vacations, I found creative ways to further my goals.
I’ve found that when you pursue your passion with unwavering determination, chances are very good that you will stick with it to conclusion. That’s why one of the best answers I can give to those who ask me “How can I achieve success, too?” is this:
Do what you love, work harder than anyone else, be relentless and stick with it, and success will follow. Because when you love what you do, you’ll be good at it. When you love what you do, you’ll open door after door for it. When you love what you do, you’ll be recognized for it. When you love what you do, it’s contagious. When you love what you do, you’ll be passionate about it. And that passion you feel means you’ll never “work” a day in your life.
Order your copy of Become the Fire: Transform Life’s Chaos into Business and Personal Success.
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