We’ve been talking a lot this month about empowerment. The dictionary definition of empowerment is “power
That’s crazy, I know. Why would we need permission to do what we want to?
We don’t. But we do need to feel validated. That validation often comes from those around us, especially those in our field. When we are empowered to make changes, try something that the rest of the world deems insane or impossible, or just to stop something that isn’t working, we can transform ourselves and our business!
Empowerment and Transformation in Entrepreneurship
I spoke with several of our fellow entrepreneurs and asked them to share their advice and stories of empowerment and transformation. There’s a lot we can learn from their experiences, and maybe one of them will give you the ‘permission’ you need to take the next step in your business!
The Power of Knowing Your Worth
I just got offered an in-person interview from an Agency I applied to 8 months ago.
I actually applied to them twice. Waited… nothing. This is how the majority of my job search went. I was a new grad and my only experience was internships. I had one of my internships for a year. Shouldn’t that count as a year of experience? Apparently not in the Ad Agency world. I worked my butt off in school, worked hard to get an internship, so why was I hearing crickets?
A few weeks ago, I received an email from that agency saying they were building a new team and going through old resumes, and found mine and my new website. They said they liked what I was doing and asked if I would ever consider going full time.
First of all, I am full-time. Full-time income anyways. Second, where were you when I was a desperate grad 8 months ago? I could have been doing all of this work for YOU!!
I had a mix of emotions when I read this email, but my main thought was this, “I am just as valuable now as I was then, why did it take so long for them to see that?”
You have to know your own worth. Know your value. If someone else doesn’t see it right away, that’s on them, not you.
Looking back, I am so grateful I heard crickets because I may have never built my own business and created an amazing community of women entrepreneurs. I may have never been able to connect with all of you.
If someone doesn’t see your worth right away, don’t sweat it.
You are valuable.
You are worthy.
Stay positive and know that there are people out there who WILL see your worth and value.
Failure can be empowering and transformational
I started a company with friends in the Cayman Islands a few years ago, and for many reasons, it just wasn’t working out. The company shut down abruptly on September 29, 2016, and I was left scrambling. If I didn’t have a company, it meant I didn’t have a work permit which meant I had to leave the island since I’m an American immigrant.
I hired a law firm to help me sort everything out, and it took 92 days for my new company to be formed. I was back in business on January 1, 2017.
Then I broke up with my boyfriend mid-February, and I decided it was time to take the show on the road. I am a Business Coach and can work from anywhere in the world, so I got a student visa and moved to Italy.
Had the company not been forced to shut down, I don’t know if I would have been able to take my company overseas as easily. And it also made me realize I didn’t want to live on the island anymore.
Sometimes when things look like they’re falling to pieces, they’re really getting us ready for what’s next!!
Transforming Chronic Illness into an Avenue for Empowering Others
Recently, through a newsletter to my audience, I opened up about my personal struggle with chronic illness. The overwhelming response I received prompted me to start a brand-new business (www.chronicillnessentrepreneurs.com), all about helping other entrepreneurs who have chronic illnesses and disabilities.
The topic of empowerment and overcoming setbacks is really important to these women that are dealing with not only the normal issues that come with being an entrepreneur, but also the crazy unpredictability and unique limitations that come into play when you also have a problem like chronic migraines, depression, and pain, or diseases like Chron’s, fibromyalgia, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
One piece of advice that I’ve gleaned from this amazing experience so far is that not all “good advice” is feasible for everyone. The main problem that the women in my group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/chronicillnessentrepreneurs) speak about is that not everyone giving advice understands that there are people out there who literally can’t follow it, even if they wanted to. For example, a popular tip for better productivity is to get up an hour earlier. A lot of people who have chronic illnesses actually medically need as much sleep as they can possibly get. And this might even mean they have to take a nap in the middle of the day, too!
So, not all advice is equal. And if the advice doesn’t work for your lifestyle, especially if you’re dealing with chronic illness, then find another piece of advice. Or create a workaround that tackles the problem in a more feasible manner for you.
The Power of Getting Back Up
My business partner and I spent a long time preparing for our biggest launch of an online product. We’d studied Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Blueprint and we knew what we were doing. We’d spent a week offsite preparing, writing and really getting into what we needed to do.
To say we were excited was an understatement. We were buzzing and we knew our avatar. We knew we’d finally got it.
Into the launch week, we were going strong. Good traffic, good comments. Then we opened cart. Yes! A couple of sales! Except that was pretty much all that happened. After a few more days of open cart, we closed with total sales just over $10,000. Not a total failure, but this was a product in the $1500 range.
It was a hard blow. Not just to the finances, but to our sense of ability. It led to a period of deep reflection. It ended up with us changing our message to our market. That failure led us into a market where we’ve broken the $1M mark in total sales.
Without that collapse, we might still be fighting in a market where we couldn’t make it.
Allow failure to be your most powerful guide. Learn, grow and treasure each setback with pride. One day you’ll look back at each one as your greatest teacher.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fall
My advice, short and sweet, would be to not be afraid to fail because you don’t know what you can do until you do it.
When I first had the idea for my subscription box, it was really just a random “in a perfect world” type of idea – I didn’t know the first thing about subscription boxes and didn’t know if it was even “a thing” when it came to home decor. The idea swirled around in my head for a while and then one day I said screw it – made a plan, bought my inventory, created my prototypes, and set to launch. Best case scenario, it’s a success; worst case scenario, gifts are covered for the whole year! Now, I’m no Ipsy or Birchbox, but by just doing it, I’ve made mistakes and more importantly, I’ve learned so much. I’ve gotten subscribers from all over the country (and one international), but I wouldn’t have any of these lessons & milestones if I just mulled over the idea.
-Albie of Albie Knows
True Voice Tip for Entrepreneurs: Say one thing OUT LOUD that feels brave to say (each day) and watch what happens to your heart led business. Anytime you silence your truth it blocks abundance. Giving voice restores the flow of income and growth.
The Power of Community
As half of a husband and wife wedding photography team, I’ve learned many lessons about working with your significant other as well as the need for collaborating with fellow professionals. One of the key takeaways is that no business is an island and supporting your industry is so important if you want to truly make it your career.
In the early years of our business, we used to get together with fellow wedding professionals all the time. With the arrival of our child, however, we’ve had less and less time for casual meetups and we’ve learned to streamline our business activities. Unfortunately, this also meant that we stopped actively looking for networking opportunities and after a couple of years we were truly feeling isolated from the industry.
Now, 12 years into our business, Natasha and I are San Francisco City Hall wedding photographers who are learning once again the importance of working together with other professionals. There is something deeply satisfying about sharing, supporting, and even commiserating with your fellow colleagues.
More recently we’ve been thrilled to discover the Rising Tide Society which has monthly meetups. Even better is that the focus is all about cooperation and supporting one another – something us wedding photographers can really use.