Two weeks ago I flew to San Diego to attend the Entrepreneurial Experience conference organized by Amy Porterfield. I was prepared for heartwarming inspiration from guest speakers Jasmine Star and Marie Forleo. I was expecting tons of technical tips from Amy - the queen of online marketing. But I got something more important: a reflection on my mindset. More precisely: my entrepreneurial mindset.
WHY MINDSET MATTERS FOR YOUR SUCCESS
In the midst of figuring out strategies, looking for new clients, taking risks, and making decisions on thousands of small tasks, it’s easy to:
Lose the big picture: why are you in this game at all?
Burn out (and turn into a momma bear: hide in a cave and sleep through the tough part of your business)
Feel more and more lonely in your journey
I’m pretty sure you don’t want these to happen. But if you run your own business - and especially if you are new to it - there will be times when you inevitably run into these issues.
Luckily there’s a powerful force in you to tackle the burnout, loneliness or demotivation: your mindset.
This event in San Diego made me realize how important is to continuously train and strengthen my entrepreneurial mindset. The right mindset can mean much more for your business success than any email marketing tips, productivity hacks or knowing the latest Instagram trends.
You can learn those pretty easily. But building the right mindset needs more determination. It requires you to accept change, leave your comfort zone and have a laser focus on your goals.
So here are my top 7 takeaways: my mindset pitfalls, big realizations and how I can fix them. And you can too.
GO AGAINST YOUR FEAR
On the way to San Diego, I set next to a girl. Well, it was more like squished. These Air Canada Rouge Airbuses can be quite small at the back where I like to sit. Inevitably, I peeked a bit onto her laptop, noticing that she was working on a presentation that had online marketing relevance… I started wondering: “Maybe she’s coming to the same event?”
But I hushed the curious voice in my head and turned to the window instead, watching the deep wrinkles that cracked the terracotta soil - also called as Grand Canyon - slowly and majestically passing by.
Now guess what: that girl, Someya was attending the event. We ran into each other the second day and soon realized that we live in the same small town about 5 minutes from each other.
Follow your gut and go against your fear.
OK, no need to jump off a clift though. What I mean:
Put shyness aside and reach out to a stranger. You’ll be positively surprised.
Take the leap. You’ll never be fully prepared for the risky steps. But if you know that it helps your business - and doesn’t hurt others - go for it.
AIM FOR A NURTURING ENVIRONMENT FIRST
I loved how welcoming this event was. From the very first meetup until the last moments of the conference, everyone was kind, open and approachable, even Amy, Marie and Jasmine who are all big stars in their field of expertise.
Why? Because Amy and her team nurtured a “no one is left behind” mentality. We felt empowered to ask another attendee if we can join her for lunch or take a selfie together at the conference photo booth.
It was like first day of kindergarten: a bit frightening but still, there’s the possibility of life-long friendships. I wish our everyday life would be the same.
You must create an environment for your customers where they open up, bloom and bring in positivity. This is beneficial both for them and your business.
Look at your customers as humans, not as numbers on your Google Analytics dashboard. What would make them happier, what would make them overcome their challenges?
Genuinely focus on them first and you’ll gain trust. Trust will lead to sales and success.
YOU ARE A BIG DEAL - BELIEVE IT!
The other main message from Amy throughout the weekend was that “You are a big deal!”
Yep, no technical secrets to her success, no crazy-complicated strategies. A simple but strong sentence.
I first thought, that’s great ‘cause my hubby tells me this all the time.
But do I really believe it? Can I stand in front of a mirror and tell myself: you are a big deal! Not always.
And you know what? There were people who heard this for the first time ever. Who admitted that they couldn’t believe it. There was a lady who confessed that she went hiding in the washroom because she wasn’t feeling worthy to join others for lunch. Tears fill my eyes when I think back on her words because there were times when I felt the same. We all had these dark moments of self-doubt.
That lady was a big deal because at the end she faced her fear. Others would have hidden their weakness or pretend that it doesn’t exist. But she confessed it in front of 400 people.
This experience made me realize how important is to track my progress and look back on my achievements. I don’t mean bragging. This is more about confidence building.
We all have days when we feel unworthy of praise, when we yell “I’m still not where I want to be!”
When this moment rises: take a deep breath, think about yourself 5 years ago and how much you’ve learnt since then. Go and face a mirror and tell yourself: “I am a big deal. I can do this.”
QUALITY OF RELATIONSHIPS MATTERS
It was liberating to talk to people who understood how it feels to be in an online business.
These people knew why I'm so obsessed with my Instagram feed (“Is it good? Should I take off the text? Are my captions ok?”). They knew how it feels to be confused about best blog headlines and how to build up an online course. They faced the same self-doubts and the same Mont Everest-size dreams.
I also had to admit: most of the people I’ve met were much more ahead in business than me. This felt intimidating first but I soon realized that I can still contribute. We went on different paths, we have different strengths and even if you are a newbie you can give useful advice to a seasoned entrepreneur.
At the end, waiting for our flight to Toronto, our little Canadian group of entrepreneurs agreed that we have to get together again.
Have friends in the business world. Yes, you won't go out for cocktails and share your crazy high school anecdotes with them. But they will provide a sounding board for your ideas and a cheerleader team for tackling your biggest challenges.
Also: take notice on whose advice you take seriously. Your elementary school friend with a nine to five corporate job might want the best for you but is it her life that you want to live?
Look for mentors, entrepreneurs who are ahead of you in their business and ask for their opinion instead.
DITCH THE EASY ROUTE
There was an awesome girlboss at the conference called Melanie Howe whose words touched my heart because they pointed at my main weakness. She said:
"It's too easy not to go for it"
I noticed that many times I take the easier route. I look for quick fixes, shortcuts. First, I thought I'm just a bit lazy. Or plain unmotivated. I even said multiple times that I'm not good in those tasks, like "I'm not a numbers' person, so I'm not taking bookkeeping seriously.”
I will be super honest with you now: it's plain selfishness.
If I go on the easy road, I'll only have small wins. And if I only have small wins, I'll never make it big and never be able to help others. I keep my skills and talent for myself.
Always choose the right action not the easier one. How do you know if it’s the right one?
The right decision requires:
Stepping out of your comfort zone
Change (in your abilities, knowledge, personality)
Facing your fears
Accepting that some people will judge you
Following your values and focusing on your vision / dream
REMEMBER THE BIG PICTURE
All the speakers were amazing but I learnt the most from the audience - the questions they asked and their aha moments.
One of this was when a business coach Luis Baez asked Marie Forleo when is the best time to start giving back for a good cause. Marie said: “Start small now if this is an important part of your mission and how you want to lead your company”.
This was huge for me, because it brought me back to the day when I decided to leave my corporate job. I remember clearly: I saw a newspaper in the cafeteria with a front page article about Syrian refugee kids and their exclusion from education. This exclusion leads to a whole generation of hopelessness.
That was the moment when I knew if I follow my boss's footsteps I'll never be able to help a bigger circle than my little family. I must build a successful business. I must set an example. I must figure out a way to give - not just money but jobs, education, love.
But in the past few months I lost this. I lost the original force that pushed me to resign. Luis's question reminded me to stay focused on the big picture not just the everyday hustle.
I'm small now. Honestly, I hardly make a few hundred dollars from my products. But I must figure out a way to start living by the values I envisioned for my big and successful future company. I'm figuring out ways to do this and you'll hear my plans soon.
What is your big reason for being in business? Do you reflect on it regularly?
If not, it’s time to change:
Start journaling about your dreams, goals and vision. Write about them from a viewpoint as you’ve already achieved them. How would it feel, what would it mean for you, your family, team or community.
Create a Vision Board and hang it in your office. This will keep you motivated whenever you feel lost or tired.
Talk about your big goals to fellow entrepreneurs.
If you want to incorporate philanthropy into your business, start it now, start it small.
No conference, course or school can help you if you then go home and do nothing. Successful entrepreneurial mindset means taking action and applying what you’ve learnt.
Luckily, Amy knew this and assigned our tables to follow up on next goals we want to reach in 7 days. It was motivating to read how much the team could achieve in one week. My goal was to create my first core freebie and landing page with a welcome email that says more than just “Hey yo! Here’s your freebie”
The Torontonian attendees also made a decision to hold regular meetups which I’m looking forward to contribute to.
Take action and apply what you learn day by day. Don’t forget: Better done than perfect.
For this takeaway, I also recommend you to listen to this podcast with Brooke Castillo and Amy Porterfield. Brooke tells you why delivering a B-minus job is better than an A-plus and why it’s important to “sitting down and produce something” instead of “sitting down to work on something”.
This is by far my favorite episode from Amy Porterfield’s Marketing Made Easy podcast.
WHAT HELPED YOUR JOURNEY TO A BETTER MINDSET?
Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear what helped you to a mindset shift that your business benefited from. Leave your thoughts in the comment section.