Nicole’s Entrepreneurial Life: I’m on an Ideas Freeze
I haven’t written an update about my “Entrepreneurial Life” in a while and with so many people asking me how things are going, here it is.
The last few months have been interesting. I went from being overly optimistic about my layoff being a huge “blessing in disguise,” into somewhat of an identity crisis to new a period of calm. Everyone told me layoffs spark a lot of different emotions, and now that a bit of time has passed I see what ya’ll are talking about.
It turns out that working from home is not nearly as glamorous as I had fantasized it would be while I was working in my cubicle. Therefore I’ve been working from a client’s office a few days a week. I didn’t realize how much getting up and going somewhere each day meant to me. Nor did I realize how much my self-confidence would be affected by looking put together (rather than spending my days wearing yoga pants, a pony tail and no makeup!) and collaborating with co-workers on a daily basis. I also realized that I identify (perhaps a bit too much) with my career. The loss of these things is what sparked the identity crisis/lull.
In fact, while on a beautiful (pre-layoff planned) vacation in Florida a few weeks ago, I freaked out and started to think the solution was going back to work. But the truth is that there IS no perfect solution.
I’ve tested several products and services out over the past almost 4 months and many of them turned out differently than I expected. I’m now realizing that this is all part of the entrepreneurial process. Even the largest, highest grossing & oldest companies are in a constant state of developing, testing, failing and moving on.
I’m also realizing that things take time. I’ve finally narrowed down what my company offers and identified what to spend time on and what to cut. It is a great feeling to hit this milestone and enter 2012 with a clear idea of where I’m going.
I keep seeing the following quote pop up in various articles and blog posts and I couldn’t agree more with it:
“Most ideas are born and lost in isolation.” – Scott Belsky
Beware of having too many ideas.
It can stunt your growth and keep you in the same vicious cycle. Most entrepreneurs are extremely creative and FULL of big ideas. Ideas are our greatest strength and our greatest weakness.
I often tell recent grads that work isn’t always going to be fun, glamorous and sometimes you’re just doing work- not changing the world or contributing to a huge life-changing cause. I think the same thing is true of owning your own business. It takes planting a LOT of seeds before you get a few flowers to bloom. That is not the fun part but it leads you to closing business, which gives you a sense of purpose, challenge, accountability and all the other “warm fuzzies” (and the money required to eat!) that entrepreneurs are ultimately seeking.
When I started Ms. Career Girl, it took me about 6 months to get a clear vision for where I wanted it to go. Once I did, I created a vision board which I checked in with frequently. Every action I took was based on going toward that vision. In order to go toward your vision you must:
- Cut out distractions – this may mean spending less time with certain people
- Carefully choosing how you spend your time
- Not asking for everyone’s opinion (because it really doesn’t need to make sense to anyone but you)
- Leaving new ideas on the back burner
I think this quote is a much better fit:
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.” – Swami Vivekananda
Although it may take you some time to select the best idea, once you get it- don’t lose sight of what you want. The great brands and companies of our time stay true to their original value proposition, style and product and then just make simple adjustments and improvements from there.
Thanks to all of you who email me, tweet me and encourage me every day! You guys have been a bigger part of this journey than you know!