By profession, I am a computer science graduate. I did a graphic designing crash course and right after that, I designed a logo for an eCommerce website. Luckily, I got selected as an internee in that firm. So, the first lesson I learned after venturing a foot into the professional world was: Education never stops, and no matter how well-drilled and erudite you think you have become, it is your skills that get people’s attention in the market.
I am a devoted learner of life and business. My first job in an eCommerce store taught me a lot. I was usually the first to cross over the threshold at work and was no stranger to burning the midnight oil. I was so deeply immersed in the system that I wanted to learn everything happening in my industry, and everything else that is going on beyond my field of interest.
The reason behind, right from the time when I could identify a dog from a cat, and count my secret stash of chocolates, It was my dream to start a business and make it a thriving success.
My interest took root in ecommerce and I wanted to build my own store and sell things online. I gathered experience in digital marketing, delved deep in how to drive massive traffic to my website, and started brainstorming ways to turn those visitors into clients!
My journey began with a website, a graphic designer, and a customer agent who was my friend. In the earliest days of our fellowship, we whiled away the time with playing checkers because we received no orders. The day of deliverance arrived at last when we got our first order. Although it was a small value order, I was over myself with joy. In fact, everybody was excited to get the ball rolling at last.
Since I consider myself rather a newbie back then, I became the jack of all trades, getting my feet wet in everything, failing continuously in the effort to juggle multiple facets simultaneously, and learning from it. Which was certainly a bad decision, because our time on this planet is numbered, and in that time, we need to eke out a decent living, make an impact and die happily.
But, as they say, life is not all rainbows and flowers. In life, everything is defined by moments. In some moments we succeed, and in some moments, we learn. Failure is inevitable. but I believe in taking risks & sharing my knowledge with others. So, here goes my lifelong lessons which I learned along the way of pursuing my business idea.
1: Spend time in creative imagination
“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.” ~Albert Einstein
There is so much talk about mindfulness and meditation. But people find it difficult to maintain focus while they ruminate. The best way to meditate is to solicit a place of blissful solitude, close your eyes, and lose yourself in a higher dimension. Now, use the power of silence to immerse yourself in the taste of success and feel the sweet savor of accomplishment tantalize your tongue.
Imagine your website receiving record traffic on that day. Customers placing an order on your website and feeling happy about it. You are delivering orders with ease and your bank account is adding figures by the day.
This is one form of creative visualization that I have consistently capitalized on to achieve the impossible. The second stage of visualization is to be more creative with your mind’s eye. Going outright wild with it. Here you need to envisage the bigger picture in your mind. If you can portray your grand success in your mind, you will be able to achieve it soon.
Instead of squandering your energy on Pokémon and other such distractions, use your imagination. We’re all blessed with a beautiful mind that can create incredible things.
2: Take online courses for free
This goes back to the idea of gleaning knowledge for the sake of gaining skills. No matter how accomplished you become in any field, there will always be new developments and things that you are oblivious to.
The good news is that there are tons of online courses that you can jump on free of cost, and get drilled in without spending a dime.
There are myriad great course offerings as well, such as Udemy and Coursera, they are offering a wealth of priceless courses at a very limited cost.
When I first launched my website, I got this idea in my head to jump into the social media realm on my own. So, instead of hiring an agency, I invested my time and efforts in watching YouTube videos. These courses helped me with garnering a basic understanding of social media and I was able to jump-start the business.
After the initial success, competition got stiff and I was forced to look into the SEO. Again, I invested three whole days on the internet, watching videos and tutorials, learning various methods on different forums.
If you invest time in something, you get results. And once again, my brand was able to stay afloat in the competition.
3: Mastering Social Media Marketing
If you are willing to generate sales and expand your reach, you need to ace your social media marketing game. There is a tough competition out there, and if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition, you need to reach out to the maximum people and get yourself heard.
One of the lessons I learned is that the ‘world needs you. Despite all the competition out there, there is still room for your brand. Develop a social media strategy around some core values. Be authentic, be passionate, and be uber-friendly to your customers.
One of the best lessons I ever learned is that the world absolutely needs you. It wants you to be YOURSELF and be truly unique. And it most certainly doesn’t want you to sit on your butt and waste your talents. Be yourself and like anything, learn from the experts, who are succeeding at creating beautiful, inspiring messages on social media.
4: Learn the art of converting connections into raving fans
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~African Proverb
Independence is good. But you cannot build a startup on your own. You need to solicit help from others. Social Media is a sure-shot way to build strong relationships & foster bonds with your customers.
You need to hear Seth Godin talk about building a tribe. This tribe will become your repertoire of raving fans, who will become your ultimate brand ambassadors. You don’t need a master’s degree in psychology to understand the desires of your customers. You just need to analyze data with the right tools that are available in the market.
Gary V in his book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, talk about doing two things for the customer before asking them to reciprocate a favor. Offer something. Offer something different. Ask for a favor. Repeat. Once you meet more people, you’ll keep learning and growing. And you’ll gain allies and fans of your own who will help you build your brand.
5: Focus on execution
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~Sylvia Plath
Persistence is the key to success. As an Entrepreneur, you will face tons of failures. But make sure that those failures don’t stop you from trying again. Think. Execute. Fail. Try again. Fail harder this time.
Eliminate time wasters and focus on executing your ideas. In your business, try different strategies. Some will work. Some will not. But, the real success comes from failing with consistency. While hiring anyone in Google, it is necessary that they have mentioned more than one incidences of failures on their resumes, which goes a long way towards providing a testament to their courage and how they dealt with the adversity and came out stronger.
To conclude it all
Starting a business seems like a bed of roses. Contrary to the popular belief, “they got lucky,” there is no such thing as luck. Luck, itself is the doorway that opens with hard work.
In my whole career, if there is one advice that I want to give out, it is never to stop educating yourself. When the world is busy focusing on the competitors, take out some time for self-improvement. Until one day you will be successful yourself, and people will call it an overnight success or a fluke of luck.