Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs – and Sarah Boyd knows this better than anyone else.
Ups: There is no greater feeling than turning a dream into reality. Downs: Sure, you have a business idea. But where do you even begin? If you’ve ever felt this way, you aren’t alone.
Entrepreneurship is a satisfyingly risky journey—the hardest part is actually quitting your 9 to 5 job to make it happen. Still, there are thousands of entrepreneur success stories that prove creating your own business, blog, or product is worth the risk if you believe you can make it happen.
Founder and CEO of SIMPLY (formerly known as Simply Stylist), Sarah Boyd, knows what it takes to build a business from the ground up, which is why she began orchestrating SIMPLY Conferences to unite entrepreneurs from all walks of life at a single location.
#1: Network, network, and network some more!
This is a HUGE one! It doesn't matter if you meet someone who is in an industry that has absolutely nothing to do with your passions, you should still get their business card, connect with them on LinkedIn, or exchange email addresses. Networking is so important – especially when it comes to blogging and creating digital content!
Business people LOVE helping entrepreneurs! Why? Because they were once in your shoes and know how hard it can be to get your foot in the door. The more people you know, the better!
When I first moved to LA, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, I went out almost EVERY SINGLE night to every event I could. That's when I made so many relationships and friends that I've kept in touch with over the years. All those friends I struggled with at 21, are now fellow girl (and boy) bosses I do business with daily!
#2: Learn to develop thick skin.
“That'll never work.” “You should consider going in another direction.” You might as well get these phrases embedded in your mind now because ‘no' is going to be a word that you will hear far too often!
If you develop a thick skin early on, then getting turned down won't derail your long-term plans. Instead, ‘no' will become a form of motivation! Besides, someone who doesn't share your vision isn't worth your time anyway. It was a blessing that I worked in Fashion PR for almost 10 years before starting my business… I was used to rejection!
#3: Don't ask, give back.
One of the most common mistakes a budding entrepreneur makes is thinking they can go to successful businesses and ask for favors! Large companies receive thousands of emails on a daily basis, which is why many inquiries fall through the cracks if the company doesn't see a benefit in investing their time into a project.
Instead of asking what a business can do for you, stand out from the rest and tell them what you can do for them! Same goes for new contacts you meet. Connect them with opportunities, and help without asking for anything in return. It will come back in the long run, I promise.
#4: Believe in yourself.
If you believe in yourself and your product, then everything will fall into place! Sure, your dreams might take a little longer to achieve than you had originally anticipated, but having a confident attitude will take you farther than you think.
I always remember when I first started SIMPLY, I created a huge vision board and believed all of those things would happen. Four years later, I would say 90% of my ‘dreams' came true! Visualization is so key.
#5: Don't be afraid to take action.
If you really want something, go for it. Attend a SIMPLY conference or SIMPLY online course, listen to motivating podcasts, become knowledgeable of your industry, network, keep in touch with fellow entrepreneurs, and keep moving forward. No one is stopping you but yourself!
Editor's Note: This post was originally written by Kristen Philipkoski and published on October 14, 2015. It was updated by Laura Kell on July 3, 2018.