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Some people think that successful entrepreneurs just get lucky, or that they are an “overnight success.” That’s not really how it happens.
How it usually happens is by taking deliberate steps. I’m here to tell you about how we did it, and what the most 5 important things were in achieving our success.
I’m sharing this with you because I was once in a place where I could never have imagined that I would spend my 30’s retired, living in a dream home and going on amazing vacations. But then we made it happen, and it was awesome! I want more people to be able to do the same.
I’m sharing this with you to encourage you to create a plan to follow your dreams, and you can begin by taking action right now.
Here are five steps that we took to create a $50 million company that we then sold, allowing us to live a dream life for several years.
1. Brainstormed ideas.
In the early days, before entrepreneurship, I had a job. However, I knew that I wanted to start a business with my then-husband. We actually had no idea what we were going to do, so we organized brainstorming sessions between ourselves and with smart business people who we knew. We talked about it obsessively until one night, while eating pizza with my dad, we came up with the idea of a temporary employment agency for title insurance people. Believe it or not, this idea that may sound super random was actually the makings of a brilliant plan. Which leads me to my next point…
2. Had good timing!
This isn’t really a “step” but it is incredibly important. As Bill Gross from IdeaLab says in his famous TED Talk, “The idea matters a lot. But timing matters more.” In Southern California in 1996, we were recovering from a recession and an earthquake. People in the title insurance business who had been laid off were ready to get back to work, and home sales were picking up quickly. The title companies needing to create policies were hiring fast. Because we were solving a specific problem, we were in such high demand that no one minded doing business with 27 year – olds who were flying by the seats of their pants!
3. Just Did It!
Instead of hemming and hawing, self-doubting or procrastinating, we jumped on the chance to launch the company. As we were young, and just starting out in our careers, we didn’t see it as a giant leap. I can still remember my co-workers asking me about taking such a big risk. I was like, “I’m in my 20’s with an entry-level job, what do I have to lose?” We bought a book called Starting a Temp Agency for Dummies, and we made a business plan. Then we got to work! We planned, wrote down the plan and followed the plan.
4. Got advice.
We knew from the beginning that there was SO much that we didn’t know, so we kept asking for advice. We followed the advice when it made sense, and we passed on what didn’t sound like the right ideas for us. For example, during the first Internet boom, we created a job site. An advisor had told us to get as many users as possible but not to worry about making a profit. Instead of listening to him, we followed a plan that made sense to us, and we stayed in business while many of the dot com startups imploded.
5. Assembled the right team.
When the business started growing like crazy, we were also starting a family. As I was on bed rest for 9 weeks with my first pregnancy, we realized how important it was to add to our team. For the right people, we were generous with equity. We often swallowed our egos, allowing our team members to shine in areas where they were better than us. For us, our goal was to exit. With that in mind, we were happy to step aside when appropriate to let others take the lead.
And there you have it. 6 years later, we sold our company for multi-millions of dollars, allowing us both to stay at home to raise our 3 little girls for several years.
It wasn’t easy, but it was fun. When we finally sold the company, lots of people said how lucky we were. I have no doubt that luck did play a role in our accomplishments. However, I attribute these 5 steps to being the secret to our success!
Is the entrepreneurial drive eating you alive? Stop living in the world of
DO YOU SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF A TEAM OR AN ADVISOR BUT YOU