As you probably know by now, I do quite a lot of mentoring of small businesses and Entrepreneurs from all over the world. The businesses are all different but most (myself included!) are going through the same things. I wanted to share with you today something I’ve heard a few times now and I’m very grateful to my lovely mentee for letting me share this today. I have of course taken out her name and any reference to the type of business to protect her identity as requested.
I have been mentoring this person for around 16 months, I was very lucky to be there for her day 1 when she reached out to me for help and she has been an ideal candidate for mentoring along our journey together (I’ll talk about what that entails another day!)
Recently, as she approached a year of her business we had a long Skype call to review the year. Like most businesses in their first year, it’s been up and down at times but mostly it’s been a great year for her business so I was really surprised when during our call, she suddenly become very emotional and started to apologise for letting me down. Letting ME down?? She explained that a year in to her business, she has realised that this isn’t what she wants to do, it’s not what she thought she was getting in too, she hadn’t realised just how hard it can be and it’s all been just a bit much for her, leaving her burned out and stressed. She felt like she’d failed and let herself and me down.
Here is what I said to her – not everyone has to be an entrepreneur! Just because you admire other people doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it too. Success is not a template, it’s something personal to everyone and it looks different to every person. You can not be simultaneously successful and unhappy, thats not how it works. Remember, it’s only Success if you’re Happy! If you’re not happy, it’s time to change things, even if you’ve put lots of work into what you’ve done so far. See it as a learning experience and move on.
I myself spent lots of time studying law and preparing for a career I was certain of, until one day I wasn’t anymore. I walked away from years of education and training, not to mention time and money to start my business doing something I LOVE and I’ve never regretted it.
This person is still super ambitious and committed, she wants to be in the field of her business and has lots of plans, hopes and dreams within that industry but she doesn’t want to be working 20 hour days, having everything on her shoulders and worrying about dealing with suppliers, clients, stock, payroll, contracts, equipment, insurances, tax etc etc… all that super fun stuff you get to stress about when you own the place! You know what, I totally get that, it’s not for everyone (it’s not for me some days! lol) Just because you’re not feeling the love for Entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you can’t be a great success and still have some of the good parts of what that entails.
Trust me, this is the person every Entrepreneur is looking for. Someone who has ideas, vision, ambition and KNOWS and understands just how hard it can be so will be loyal (more valuable that any other skill on your resume!) and dedicated. That support is invaluable. The position of ‘Number One’ (if you’ll pardon the Star Trek reference) PA / Assistant or whatever you want to call it, is massively underrated – the person who will be right alongside you, fully invested and wanting to make things happen, getting excited about stuff, coming up with ideas, researching, helping you, being someone to listen and advise and a shoulder to cry on, doing the late nights with you and making you a cup of tea when it’s all just too much is the things most Entrepreneurs dream of finding and is all too rare.
So, if you’re in this position here are some things to remember.
- You have NOT failed or let yourself or anyone else down, you have narrowed down your vision of success – what you do and don’t want – and the sooner you do that, the better
- You have a fantastic and rare skillset that you can take to someone else in your field
- You have amazing experience that will massively benefit another small business and allow you to have a great career.
- You have still created something of value whether you sell that or use it as a selling point to get where you want to be
- You can still be super ambitious, career minded and part of something amazing!
So, if you have decided that Entrepreneurship is not for you, don’t despair, you aren’t alone. Polish up your resume, write an amazing covering letter outlining what you want, remind yourself of the amazing skills and experience you have and most importantly get out there and approach your dream companies with it – don’t wait around for a job to be advertised, your unicorn skillset is too good to wait around!