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Four lessons to remember as a new (or seasoned) entrepreneur

By Laura Dribin, CEO and Founder of Peritius Consulting, Inc.

What do you think of when you think of an entrepreneur? If you are not one or do not know one personally, you can skip to the images of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates. Images of obscene wealth. While this may be true for them, it is not the reality for many.

When you meet a “typical” entrepreneur, the reality is usually different. Being an entrepreneur is an exciting thing and: terrible line of work. There are so many things that can go wrong (and often do), but at the same time, those things can be so right. However, given that most entrepreneurs do not earn the fame and fortune of Jeff Bezos, why do so many entrepreneurs base their expectations of success on Bill Gates-type achievements? As a reminder… “comparison is the thief of joy”.

That’s the problem.

1. Know your goals

Entrepreneurs need to set expectations AND boundaries. From the beginning. While those expectations and boundaries may develop over the years, make sure it happens in a planned, thoughtful process.

2. Live your purpose.

Entrepreneurs are expected to do a lot to help their company succeed. However, it is easy to lose sight of your goals every day. Entrepreneurs must stay focused on their goals and live them. Spend time researching your goals regardless of the specific opportunity or ask. What has changed? Will this opportunity lead me down the rabbit hole or is this the direction I want to move forward in the future?

3. Calculation.

So, as the recession hit my company (we’ve been through many recessions over the years), I wondered why I hadn’t become as global as Bill Gates or as expansive as Elon Musk (were we kidding, “Shipping McKinsey?” about becoming). Our company delivers high quality work every time and our clients are extremely happy, but we have struggled to grow. What is happening?

As I think about my career, here are some key points I try to keep in mind (or wish I knew before I started).

Define, understand and live your goals

When I started my business, I was trying to get back into consulting work, but I wanted to avoid travel. I was about to become a new mom and wanted to make sure I could focus on my family. I’ve made all my business decisions around those goals. I often said “No”. It turned into lost opportunities and potential growth for my company, which was okay. I was meeting my (and my family’s) needs. I knew this because I had identified those needs before I started.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that money is often the driving force for entrepreneurs, and if that’s your goal, great. All your decisions should be about that goal.

Everyone needs a vacation

Often my best ideas come when I’m on vacation, or at least when I get back. As an entrepreneur, you are often expected to always “be”. It can be tiring. When you’re in chaos (as you often are as an entrepreneur), you’re forced to react to problems. In my experience, when I’m stressed and overwhelmed, I tend to make more emotional decisions. Getting away for the weekend or going on vacation has always brought me a fresh mindset to tackle all the other problems that come my way.

Love what you do

I always said that if I hated what I was doing for three months in a row, I would quit the business. It’s a guide that helped me through some bad times. I knew that if I didn’t feel good about the job/company for that long, I probably wasn’t doing good to my company, employees, vendors, and most importantly, my customers. Who needs a sad entrepreneur who doesn’t want to be there?

Life is too short

I am a successful entrepreneur who can do something else when I get tired of my role. Make sure you find time (not just for vacations) to do the “other things” you love to do. You know the saying. “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.” As I mentioned, I love to travel, so I decided that at my age, if I continued to work, I needed to find a way to fit in more travel. So for the past four years I’ve chosen international sites and decided to work remotely (I was a digital nomad before it was cool). Don’t sacrifice your hobbies/interests on the altar of entrepreneurial success.

4. Set your priorities — Now.

Entrepreneurs can put their heart and soul into their company, and that’s totally fine (if that’s what they want). Creating a company is not easy. it takes a lot of work, but still, not everyone is going to be a Musk, Gates, or Bezos, and achieving that kind of entrepreneurial success doesn’t have to be without the sacrifices that have to be made along the way. I’m pretty sure if I prioritized growing my company as my #1 goal, my company would be bigger than it is now. However, that was not my intention.

Mission accomplished!

I can say that I achieved my goals that I set all those years ago. While in my weak moment I may question why I am not older, the truth is that those were not my life goals along the way. In turn, I actually built a phenomenal company that allows me to be proud of the work we do for our clients, enjoy the people (present and past) who have worked alongside me to get us here, and the life that which allowed me. live while taking care of my family. I have my needs taken care of. This is something most entrepreneurs need to remember so they can continue to love what they do and who they are.

Laura Dribin is the CEO and Founder of Peritius Consulting, Inc. Prior to founding the company, Laura worked as a management consultant for the Big Five and at Microsoft Corporation. With more than 25 years of experience, he brings the hands-on leadership needed to guide project teams through complex initiatives and help organizations develop and improve their project management competency.

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