As you know from reading my previous blogs, I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time. The first time someone paid me to do something for them, I was only 16 years old. By 18, I started my own construction business. But, by 24 I lost it all.
Sure, there were a lot of external factors that caused the business to fail. The 2008 housing market crash was the main one. But, I was also a young, inexperienced business owner who really didn’t know anything about being a leader. I was arrogant, cocky and thought I knew everything.
I built that business up to 50 employees and just like that, I went bankrupt, got divorced, lost close friends and nothing to show for myself. I began doing a lot of self-reflection while planning out my next move. I realized that I was doing everything my way, even though I didn’t know what I was doing.
A Shift Into Digital Marketing and a Shift in Focus
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love technology. When trying to figure out my next business move, it felt only natural to work in the digital space. With my business and marketing knowledge, I started Business Marketing Engine to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
It wasn’t easy at first. For a while, it was just me and Rachel doing everything: sales, content creation, accounting, etc. But, slowly but surely, our team grew. It was during this time I realized the value of failure and being humble.
In my first business, I was only focused on making money. But I began to really value the team growing around me. They needed me to be their leader and I needed them to keep my company alive. It wasn’t just about making money. The relationships I established with my team helped my company grow more than I could’ve dreamed. We now have over 60 team members and counting…
It was when I really took a step back to focus on the people around me, rather than the money, that I really became successful. Over time, I learned what being a servant leader is all about.
My Advice to Young Entrepreneurs
I see a lot of young entrepreneurs in lots of different spaces. From marketing to tech to finance, you name it. I even have a number of young entrepreneurs on my team. For all of you out here grinding it out, trying to find your place in the world, here’s my advice to you:
- Look at people you admire that have been in business for a long time. How do they operate? What makes them stand out?
- Focus on relationships. Being money-hungry will get you nowhere in the long run. Entrepreneurship is a long game and it’s important to have a network of people around you that value what you do.
- Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It’s hard to ask for help, but sometimes you have to. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, delegate things or admit that you’re struggling. We’ve all been there before.
- Prioritize wellness. The whole “hustle and grind 24/7” attitude will only lead you to burnout and overwhelm. Remember that you are a person first and an entrepreneur second. Take care of yourself and always make time for your loved ones.
I hope my words of wisdom can help you on your entrepreneurial journey. Let me know what you think in the comments below and contact me with any questions you have. Here’s to your success!