You’ve Got Nothing to Fear, But Fear…

The thought process of looking into starting your own business can be an intimidating, and isolating adventure. Stressful concerns and doubts that entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs feel are often valid since the responsibility and pressure are no joke-but well worth it if you’re a passionate and patient dreamer. It’s important to surround yourself by solid advice givers and remain willing to see things through. That being said, having the kahunas to decide to go for it is probably at the top of that list. Those that go for it separate themselves from the crowd. Entrepreneurship is all about isolating a problem and fixing it by creating and implementing possibility. But, there are many of us who haven’t taken that step yet and struggle with our own internal narrative (…why we can’t do it or won’t succeed). Excuses and fears, while sometimes valid, (often not) are something many of us become self-inflicted victims of. If you’re someone who has thought about going out on your own but never did, this straight to the point article I found on Inc.com, “15 Worst Excuses Not to be an Entrepreneur”  might resonate with you.

…It’s likely that one of your excuses is that you don’t have enough time–so let’s get right to it:

1. I’m too scared.

Join the club. Every entrepreneur is scared.

So you have a choice: Let your fears hold you back… or use those same fears as fuel to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Complacency is the enemy of achievement and fortunately fear drives complacency away.

2. I don’t have the right connections.

Between company websites and LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms you can reach almost anyone besides the Pope and maybe Bono. In fact some people are surprisingly accessible (maybe that’s one of the secrets of their success?).

Of course they may not respond. If they don’t that’s probably your fault.

Start small. Start feasible. Build a foundation. A great network is like a pyramid with a wide base, not a thin vertical line that goes straight to the top.

And never forget that the more influential the person the more they’re besieged with requests. Have a good reason to connect, give before you expect to receive, and you might be surprised by who responds.

3. I’m too late.

Yeah, Jobs beat you to the graphical interface and mouse, but Xerox beat him. Zuckerberg wasn’t first in social media. The list goes on. Innovation is never one-and-done; some of the most successful companies are based on refining earlier ideas and innovations.

You’re only too late if you’re not willing to be better, faster, stronger, or cheaper than whoever got there first.

4. I can’t get anyone to listen.

People will listen to anything that is entertaining, interesting, heartfelt, amusing, shocking, informative, titillating, stupid, satirical, controversial, sad, silly, sexy…

If you can’t get anyone to listen, the problem isn’t them. The problem is you.

What you want to say is irrelevant; change your message so it means something to the people you want to reach.

Then they’ll listen.

5. I don’t have the money.

As Growthink founder Dave Lavinsky says, being an entrepreneur is the art and science of accomplishing more with less–less money, less people, less time, etc.

Face it: You will never, ever have “enough” cash or capital or funding. Never. If you don’t have enough capital to launch your business the way you plan then change your plan.

You can’t always control what you have, but you can control what you choose to do with what you have.

6. I don’t have the time.

Everyone has the same amount of time. The only difference is what you’re willing to do with your time.

If you were trapped underground and only had 24 hours worth of oxygen you wouldn’t check your Twitter feed or chat with friends or spend a little “me time” in front of the TV. You’d dig your butt off the entire time.

Apply the same level of importance and urgency to what you want to accomplish and your schedule will instantly clear. Finding the time is always a matter of how badly you want it.

7. I don’t have the skills.

No problem. Go get them. Go to school. Read a book. Read 10 books. Talk to friends. Get a part-time job at a small business. Get a part-time job in a completely different industry.

Find someone who has done what you want to do and volunteer to work for free in return for the opportunity to learn.

Does that seem too hard? Like too big of a price to pay? Or simply not fair? Then accept you will never have the skills and stop complaining.

Skills and knowledge are earned, not given.

8. I can’t think of a great idea.

Dreaming up something new is really, really hard.

Reacting to something that already exists is really, really easy.

Walk around and start complaining (to yourself). You’ll see tons of problems that require solutions. Those solutions are ideas.

Or walk around your business and start complaining. There are tons of problems you can address.

“New” is hard to imagine. “Better” is much easier.

Again, most companies are built on “better,” not on “new.”

9. I can’t take that risk.

Any risk you take today is a risk you can recover from. In time you can overcome almost any setback, stumble, or failure, and emerge stronger and smarter and better equipped to succeed the next time.

If you never try all you will be is regretful: When you’re old and grey and “done” you’ll have to look back on your life and think, “I wonder what might have happened if I had only…”

That’s one risk risk you should never take.

10. I’m better at planning than execution.

No, you’re not. You’re just too lazy to do the grunt work. Or you think you’ve already paid your dues. Or you think you’re above it.

Or–pick your excuse.

Every successful entrepreneur I know can and does, when necessary, roll up his or her sleeves and outwork everyone else nearby. (That’s one of the reasons they’re so successful.)

You don’t need some undefined innate quality to be good at execution; all you need is discipline.

11. I can’t stop until it’s perfect.

Sure you can. You just don’t want to.

Maybe you’re insecure. Maybe you’re afraid. Maybe you fear rejection or criticism.

Do this instead. Do your best. Then step back. If a little more work will result in a markedly better outcome, go for it.

If a little more work will not make a difference anyone but you will notice, let it go. Then you make improvements based on the feedback you get from the only people whose opinions really matter: your customers.

12. I’m not comfortable doing it that way.

I was raised to be humble and self-effacing, so I hate to say I’m good at anything. But sometimes I have no choice; taking advantage of certain opportunities requires confidently describing my skills, experience, and accomplishments.

If you’re not comfortable doing something because it violates your principles or ethics, by all means don’t.

But if you’re not comfortable doing something simply because it will take you out of your comfort zone, you’re just rationalizing.

And you’ll never be more than you already are.

13. I can’t find anyone who gets it.

Oh, they get it: They get that it sucks.

Truly great ideas can be described in a few words. Truly great products can be described in a few words.

When no one seems to get it, the only person not getting it is you. Let go of your pride and agenda and “unique point of view” and figure out where you’ve gone wrong.

14. It’s too hard.

Long journeys are hard.

Individual steps are easy.

Say you sit on your couch all day and you decide to run a marathon. You’re right: That’s too hard. But you can go out today and run a lap or two. Or you can walk a few miles. You can take one small step towards a difficult goal.

And then another. And then another.

Or say you want to lose 50 pounds. That’s too hard. But you can eat one meal differently. Or you can take a walk at lunch. Or say you want to open a business. You can look at possible locations. Or work on your business plan. Or talk to a potential supplier. Or get advice from a mentor.

You can’t accomplish any difficult goal overnight, but you can accomplish one step, however small, towards that goal.

Think about the end of a journey and all that will be required along the way and you’ll never start.

Instead, just do one thing that will help get you there. Then build on it.

That you can do.

15. I’ll be too embarrassed if I fail.

Failing in public can be embarrassing, especially since some people love to talk about the misfortunes of others.

Those are the same people who would never dare try something themselves.

Don’t worry about them.

A whole other group of people will respect you for taking a shot. They’ll recognize a kindred spirit.  They’ll empathize. They’ll encourage. They’ll pick you up. They’ll know what it’s like to try and fail and try again.

Why? They’re people living their lives on their terms.

Like you.

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The Conclusion: ‘I-Do’s’ of daterViewing

With this conclusion to our last 6 posts, our daterViewing series on HyperVocal has come to an end with this last blog post (but there will be more on other fun stuff) . We hope you have learned something helpful throughout this series and that the series provided some valuable resources and guidelines to follow if you find yourself daterViewing.

We all know it has become more difficult to balance and succeed in both our personal and professional lives. We want the right job, the right relationship and all at the right time. Don’t give up, it’s all possible – but know that it won’t always be easy either!

While most folks will size you up the minute you walk in the door, and we all agree that first impressions are crucial, keep an open mind when you go on a date or an interview for a job that doesn’t immediately feel like “the one”… Take the time to enjoy the dating process. Don’t skip the necessary steps and jump start on planning your pending wedding. Don’t make him the priority over of getting to know the other person yourself, (by waiting to see what s/he thinks and waiting on them) give YOURSELF the chance to decide if s/he’s really a good fit for you or not. When you rush this process, you start to lose your own free will and miss out on the real RED FLAGS many folks tend to ignore because they get so excited; they want the other person to be as perfect as they hoped they might be.

For more, read the full blog post at http://hypervocal.com/tarasilver/2012/the-i-dos-of-daterviewing/

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Top Five Startup Tips From Spanx Billionaire Sara Blakely

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Women Leading the Future Conference Video

Check out the Women Leading the Future conference video, an inspiring DC event hosted by Ladies America on Saturday, May 5th, 2012 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The daylong conference will include a network of women leaders and empowering discussions with some of America’s most influential women. See http://womenleadingthefuture.org for more!

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SilverStrategy InTheCapital

Many thanks to InTheCapital.com for a very kind article on us.

SilverStrategy Shows DC Clients How Versatile Your PR Firm Should Be

When I first met Tara Chantal Silver, her genuine smile and charming candor quickly gave me the impression that she wasn’t your typical PR/Marketing person that you tend to run into at D.C. events. My suspicions were soon confirmed when our conversation led to her company, SilverStrategy, and the work she does for her clients. It would be disingenuous of me to say that I haven’t met my fair share of PR companies in D.C. that represent the typical fare of contractors and non-profits, and that when somebody mentions PR the expression “a dime a dozen” certainly comes to mind. Fortunately, this is not the case with Tara. Shattering many of my preconceived notions about what Marketing and PR firms do for their clients, I was impressed with how versatile her organization was and the depth of the results-driven-consultations she provides to her clients.

One way I noticed SilverStrategy quickly sets itself apart from other Marketing and PR groups was that they don’t cater to one specific market or industry: they work with the best, regardless of their field or practice. Whether it be a food blogger, non-profit, or a bustling aerospace organization, SilverStrategy understands brilliance and challenges clients to become more dynamic. For Tara, the name of the game is strategy and how to best utilize resources. She often coaches her clients in matters well beyond matters of PR by approaching her work from a holistic point of view. Tara helps clients decipher where they should best focus their energy and resources, providing keen insights that many organizations and companies tend to overlook. Her prowess is evident in her work and her impressive clientele list, which has included organizations like the Producers Guild of America, Urban Farming, Livingmaxwell.com, and the Artists and Athletes Alliance to name a few. Her commitment and passion for the local entrepreneurial community is both impressive and evident in the co-founding of DC Entrepreneurship Week.

Another quality I find refreshing about Tara is her voracity and openness with her clients; she’s not afraid to be candid about business, which explains the incredible relationships and connections she has been able to foster between her company and clients. Tara also boasts one of the most absurdly extensive network of connections I have ever seen. She has a massive list of contacts that range between a variety of industries and organizations, which she leverages to the benefit of her clients by ensuring their work gets in front of the right people and her ability to create impressive, strategic partnerships.

The full article can be read HERE

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Desperation vs. Enthusiasm: Surviving the Dater-Viewing Experience

Below is the latest daterViewing post I wrote for HyperVocal. The entire piece is linked here.

So, you might have been unemployed for the last three to six months and are now feeling as desperate as your dating attempts have left you frustrated. We’ve all experienced low points, those moments when it seems like there is no point of return to normalcy or happiness. The last few dater-viewing posts will put you well on your way to success.

How you come across in these instances will help decide your fate, so listen up. While interviewing for a job, show enthusiasm and interest, but balance it so that it doesn’t come across as desperate, even if you have been unemployed for a year, sell yourself. Feeling unwanted or undesirable quickly translates to making you feel like you’re at a low point. Make sure you exude confidence and optimism, so don’t let your interviewer know how discouraged your job search makes you feel. Sell yourself well and show value, because discouragement will tarnish your worth. Just like how men and women are put off by clingy folks, your future boss wants to know that you are a viable and valuable candidate for the job, and so should you!

Some do’s and don’ts for you…

http://hypervocal.com/hyperactivity/2012/desperation-vs-enthusiasm-surviving-the-dater-viewing-experience/

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Surviving the Cut-Throat, Exhausting, Make-or-Break-It “Dater-Viewing” Experience PART IV: VERBAL PREPAREDNESS

While it’s human behavior for us to make assumptions about new people we meet based on non-verbal cues (posture, clothing, gestures, eye contact, use of space) how you handle yourself within the “met” will be what helps you to score that round two!

Non-verbal cues remain crucial in creating first impressions but ensuring that you’re establishing a growing relationship lies in word power-verbal communication.

Whether it is your future boss or your soul mate, your best bet is to always put your best foot forward through both non-verbal cues as well as verbally and below is an outline of some helpful hints and do’s and don’ts to get you started. Master this and you’ll be on your way to not only figuring out if your date is as creepy as his wink was but also potentially scoring a new job with that intimidating looking interviewer …

DATE INTERVIEW
DO’S Be confident. Sell yourself. Highlight your attributes but keep your ego in check.Ditto

Ditto

Past dating experiences not always appropriate for a first date.

Upon a first meeting, the female should be doing more of the talking (at least over 55%).

Sure, but don’t drill

Ditto

DittoBe polite and curtious.

Try to create an environment where there is more of a conversation if you can –“ping-pong” a back and forth over a drilling Q&A, so the convo is more at ease and you can feed well off of each other.

Show how your past experiences will benefit the company you are interviewing with.

Upon a first meeting, the interviewee should be doing more of the talking (over 65%).

Have prepared questions.

Show interest and stay engaged.

DON’TS Show strengths/talents, but don’t act arrogant and don’t recite your resume.Don’t talk negatively, don’t bad mouth ex’s, in fact don’t talk about them at all- it’s not hot!

Don’t lie.

Don’t grill your date with questions. They will feel uneasy/put on the spot, judged, tense and annoyed.

 

Ditto but ok to talk through professional experience in detail and talk up your resume here!Don’t bad mouth former employers.

Don’t Lie.

If you handle yourself correctly interviewer will ask questions in a convo style and not grill.

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