In this new column we explore different topics with coffee as the catalyst. With new contributor, Lebo Matshego.
Stepping into entrepreneurship? Get your head into the game
Venturing out into entrepreneurship is a bold and courageous move. Not only are you following your passion and letting go of the safety nets of a consistent and stable income with benefits, but you're also contributing to the economy in an impactful way by starting something that will help create jobs and provide innovative business solutions.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of running your business, you have to start with getting your mind right. Since our thoughts play an essential role in driving our perspectives and how we see ourselves, you need to be aware of the internal dialogue you have with yourself as you prepare for entrepreneurship. Self-awareness is pivotal as you embark on this journey, so consider these three points to get your head into the game.
1. Believe in yourself
This saying may sound cliche, but to venture out and survive as an entrepreneur, you have to believe that who you are is more than enough, and the product or service you have to offer is valuable and will have a positive impact.
Life tends to throw curveballs that leave us disappointed, discouraged, or with the feeling that we're not good enough and don't have the ability or intelligence to do something impactful and significant. Naysayers are all around to spew more discouragement, and if you've experienced a toxic corporate environment, you can come out of there with very little confidence in yourself and your abilities. Insecurities and negative experiences have a way of seeping into every area of life, including your entrepreneurial pursuit. You'll have to deal with them head-on (therapy is beneficial) to start believing and seeing yourself in a more positive light.
2. Know your passions, strengths and weaknesses
Being passionate about the area of business you want to go into is essential. If you're half-hearted or getting into a line of business because it's the trendiest thing at the moment, you won't get very far. It won't be authentic to you, and ultimately, you won't believe in it. Becoming more self-aware is getting to know your strengths and weaknesses; what makes you tick and what makes you run in the opposite direction. You'll be able to leverage your strengths and know when to get help when you need it. Off-course, if you genuinely love what you're doing, you'll persevere through the difficult times.
3. Move out of your comfort zone
As an entrepreneur, you'll need to get comfortable with putting yourself out there, not having a stable income for a while and long working hours. It takes courage and perseverance to find new clients, pitch your business and deal with rejections and no answers. It's hard work to be an all-rounder, focusing on sales, marketing, business development, and all other facets of the business. This new and unfamiliar territory can be daunting, and you'll need to learn to ask for help and advice when you need it. If networking freaks you out, you'll need to pluck up your courage to start conversations with business people that you know and meet new ones. Getting out of your comfort zone will push your limits, but the experience is an opportunity for growth.
Editor's Note: Speaking from the experience of starting businesses in the coffee space, while self-belief plays a big part of the journey, my biggest lesson was trying to have the humility to know that you definitely will have many failures along the way and that's ok. My biggest piece of advice would be to go boldly and ask for what you want. Ask for the meeting with the company you think is way out of your league. Ask for the interview with a coffee celebrity that you think you won't be able to get. Ask to collaborate with people you respect, even if it scares you. Get up the courage to ask! - Melanie Winter