I've learned a lot since I started working with successful entrepreneurs in my business and I'm grateful to the mentors that I've inadvertently gained, so I thought I would share some of the lessons I've gleaned through working with successful entrepreneurs and small business owners. My clients have shown me what it takes to be a good boss, to be a good leader, and to be a smart business person. These are 5 things that I have adapted into my own personal life and as a business owner.
1. Don't be afraid of no.
I used to take no's personally, but over time I've learned that no's are a necessary part of life and business and not to lose too much sleep over it because there will be another opportunity. Sometimes the client isn't the right fit or you aren't the right fit for the client and it's probably for the best. All of the successful business people, especially in the start-up world, refuse to take no for an answer. They keep persevering- from one investor to the next, from one meeting to the next, from one solution to the next. Sometimes when I think, "no, that's impossible," my clients have proven me otherwise, which brings me to the next lesson.
2. Believe in yourself and your product.
This is probably the most important lesson for anyone who is trying to sell themselves and their venture or trying to create a great team that will support you in bringing your vision to life. Passion is what keeps successful entrepreneurs working tirelessly and endlessly to bring in the next investment, customer, client, etc. and to keep pushing through the rough patches.
3. Don't be afraid to ask.
It's an old adage, "never be afraid to ask." This is perhaps the biggest lessons I've learned personally through working with my clients. When my clients want a lower price, they aren't afraid to ask or have me ask. It's the art of negotiation and I've learned in business everything is negotiable. I've also learned that if you aren't clear about something, then it's always better to ask than to go forward and do something that may waste your time or your client's time.
4. Stick to your guns.
I know many VA's in my business who have been burned by the "negotiators" in the business world (refer to lesson #3). Sure, someone may know your value, but they are going to try to get the best deal for themselves. Know your value and know your worth. If you have a price, stick to it. Don't sell yourself short.
5. Follow your gut.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and if a potential client sounds difficult or an investor sounds like a time waster, then move on. On the other hand, if you have a good feeling about someone and feel like you've assessed someone's abilities thoroughly, but doubt yourself because of the cost or because you've been burned before, perhaps you need to look past your doubts and see if they are substantiated or not. Also, don't be afraid to cut someone loose if they aren't living up to their end of the bargain because you're afraid to be "mean" or "unliked." As Al Pacino famously quipped, "It's not personal...it's just business."