Today I stumbled across the script of a speech I gave 20 yrs ago -- it was my first speech as a successful entrepreneur. I was very surprised to find it and was a bit apprehensive to even read it. I thought it would be funny or even embarrassing, to read those words I wrote all those years ago. I’d made my own way at that point, but I still had so much to learn and I still do. I must say I was very surprised to find the words were every bit as true TODAY as they were then; particularly my top ten tips , so I thought I would share it here.
“Thank you for rewarding me for what I always assumed was abnormal behavior.”
I spent most of my career feeling like I’d been born inside out. I always had different solutions and ideas than my colleagues, and as I climbed the corporate ladder, it seemed I was always off a rung. When I did finally “make it” in the corporate world, I realized I it did not feed my soul, so I left.
I started my first company with the help of the best selling book, “How to incorporate yourself in NC” It wasn’t one of my my smarter moves but it got me going.
Today there are many do-it-yourself options, but if you haven’t yet started your business, don’t use the self-incorporating kits. It seems quick and easy, but in the end you can really benefit from professional advice and counsel so you can do it right the first time!
My entrepreneurial experience taught me it takes a TEAM to be successful. A team of smart people who are experts in areas you aren’t! This award is for everyone on my team, I am so grateful to be on this journey with you.
Being an entrepreneur is having a dream, a goal, vision - whether it be a software company or a lawn mower manufacturer, and going for that goal with everything you’ve got: your heart, your soul, your entire being.
It won’t always be easy.
Being a software entrepreneur was a roller coaster ride for me. At first, I didn’t know anyone who was “anyone” in the community. In the beginning, I actually had my power and phone cut off as I bootstrapped my dream. But eventually I was successful. I sold my company and suddenly everyone knew me ... And I was able to keep the lights on!
Being an entrepreneur also means having to cancel dinner engagements, ski trips, and more because there’s always something going on with the company that needs your undivided attention. It really helps to have supportive family, friends and colleagues!!
There are some very successful entrepreneurs in this audience, but for those of you who are just starting out, I’d like to leave you with my top ten tips:
1. Don’t go it alone
2. Leverage your ego, don’t bronze it
3. Surround yourself with people as smart or smarter than yourself.
4. Practice getting up off the ground so it’s a natural reflex
5. Articulate and share your visions
6. Develop and maintain a sense of humor
7. Trust and respect your partners
8. Have unlimited passion and stamina
9. Don’t take yourself too seriously
10. Focus, Focus, Focus”