If you've decided to set out on an entrepreneurial adventure, congratulations. Welcome to the club. Deciding to go after your dreams, pursue your passion, and put your work out in the world is a decision that you didn't take lightly. There are probably a handful of people who think you're nuts, and another handful who will support you in this adventure. Have you patted yourself on the back for making it this far? Excellent.
However, making this choice is just the first step to living your new dream. If you want to start out on this journey with your best foot forward, let's talk about five ways to rock your newbie entrepreneur status.
- Join a entrepreneurship group. For me, it's the Young Entrepreneur Council. Joining any organization of like-minded people can help you get things squared away. Chances are that not everyone in the group will be newbie, which means there are seasoned entrepreneurs available to share their stories of what works and what doesn't, and answer the crazy questions you'll have as you get started.
- Get a mentor. Entrepreneurs, no matter their industry, are crazy supportive of people starting out. If you see someone doing something you admire, shoot them a note introducing yourself, your vision, and then just ask them if they have some time to answer some questions over coffee. Don't abuse this, obviously, because there is a difference between mentoring and consulting. It should be pretty clear which role the person on the other end would like to play.
- Don't beat yourself up. When I started my company 3Ring Media, I solemnly swore to myself that I would network my face off and meet people that need help boosting their businesses in this crazy online world. And my first client came as an opportunity to serve as the director of marketing and events planner for the dropzone where I learned to skydive. However, come July, I realized that I had done nothing to help build 3Ring because I was working so much with that first client. I freaked out at first, but then I remembered that 3Ring is my business; I run this show. Sure, I hadn't come as far as I had hoped, but I did learn a lot while working with that first client.
- Make time for yourself. Don't get so caught up in the excitement of actually getting work (or selling products, or whatever you're doing) that you forget why you got the work in the first place. Take time to keep growing. Attend a conference. Go to a networking event. Grab coffee with an entrepreneur you admire.
- Keep going. Really. I panicked that I hadn't marketed myself better; nobody had heard about 3Ring Media since I was all hyped up on quitting my last job to start this whole "living the dream" thing full-time. I was convinced I was going to fail as an entrepreneur. Then I snapped out of it and got back to hustling. It really was that simple—keep going.
Sydney Owen is the founder/CEO/President/Main Peanut in the Packet at 3Ring Media, a digital and emerging media consultancy, and the Director of PR, Marketing and Events at Chicagoland Skydiving Center, allowing her to combine her passion for all things social with all things skydiving. She is also a member of The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business's development and growth.