written by Jim Frawley
Jim Frawley is an executive and organizational coach, host of the Bellwether Hub Podcast, and author of “Adapting in Motion: Finding Your Place in the New Economy”. Jim is also a triathlete and competed in his first Ironman event three years ago. He has been a guest on our podcast, Wedotalk with David Jaques:
We have asked Jim to tell us what he has learned about becoming an entrepreneur and building a business.
Here is what Jim has to say about his entrepreneurship journey:
As many of the readers of this will know – the entrepreneurship journey is unlike any other. The risks we take on (emotional and financial), the challenges we face, and the satisfaction we feel are on a level that I, personally, could never reach working within the confines of a corporate office.
Some would say it’s because I’m hostile to authority; I prefer to believe that I just like to forge my own path. My time in corporate was beneficial – I learned much that informs my decisions today. But there was always something missing, and taking the jump has been instrumental in helping me both challenge and find myself in a much more productive way.
It’s not easy – and advice comes in many forms. Plenty of detrimental mistakes have happened – but I’ve been fortunate to adapt, evolve and continue to deliver for my clients. I attribute my success not to luck, but to these five philosophical steps to help me figure out my path.
The first philosophical hurdle I jumped over was to recognize the value in the Jean Jaques Rousseau quote: “How can anyone be satisfied in life if they aren’t satisfied with the one person they can never be separated from?”
Belief in your ability, and recognizing and accepting your flaws, drive everything in terms of productivity and what other people see. We don’t have time to harp on our own insecurities; like most challenges in business, we have to hit them head-on so we can focus on the bigger picture.
Second: Un-Learn Corporate
In reflecting on how best to grow my business, I had a realization that the limitations and structures imposed on me from my 15-year career in corporate were limiting my entrepreneurship journey: what I was doing, and the way I was thinking about what was possible. It was a major process to “unlearn” these limitations.
There are no rules in entrepreneurship – which is fairly mind-blowing when I think about it.
Third: Your Peach Tree
One significant hurdle we have to get past when building our business is recognizing that we have to sell ourselves, which is incredibly difficult and potentially emotionally wrecking. We live in fear of social rejection. I read a quote that changed my entire philosophy on networking, selling, and how to approach other people:
“You can have the greatest peach tree in Georgia; some people just don’t like peaches.”
Oftentimes, not winning a client has nothing to do with you. It’s just an objective fact that there isn’t alignment.
It isn’t respective of you as a human, and this quote reminds me to dust off and move on.
Fourth: Find Your Voice
About 3-4 years into my work, I made it my annual goal to “find my voice.” Entrepreneurs must have opinions and a belief system in place. Just spitting out what others say leaves you in the middle of the pack; unoriginal and uninteresting. I went deep: What did I care about? Why was it important? What did I believe?
Did it matter?
The only way to truly have a belief system is to fully understand all aspects of a challenge; and challenges to my belief system force me to absorb, question, and learn.
A healthy inner dialogue drives this belief system.
Fifth: The Race is Educational
We grade ourselves by seeing where we are in relation to others. But that’s irrelevant to getting things done. Our relative relation to other entrepreneurs isn’t about “winning” – it’s about recognizing what other people are doing well and learning from it.
You won’t “win” everything – you are building something sustainable and pulling in info from everywhere.
These are my five over-arching philosophies that help me filter information and make decisions for the business.
As businesses, economies, clients and more evolve, I’m sure my top philosophies will adapt to it, but that’s part of the entrepreneurship adventure!
If you are a small business owner or freelancer, find out how Wedo can help your entrepreneurship journey: