Writing Your Success Story as an Entrepreneur 

The entrepreneur’s journey starts with a business idea fueled by their passion and life experiences, but turning that dream into reality can be a daunting task. When you combine the right strategy with dedication, creativity and hard work, though, you can write your success story as an entrepreneur.

At Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week (BREW), we invited several speakers to share how they turned their passions into profit while working toward a larger vision for their business — and their lives. Here are some of the highlights, along with lessons for writing your success story as an entrepreneur.

Pinpoint Your Passion

Passion has always been a key ingredient of a successful startup. But starting a business isn’t just about doing something we love. To sustain and grow a business, you need to find a passion other people can get behind, too — even if you have to get very creative.

Your inner child is your compass telling you what you want. “Listen to the things that you used to love doing as a child,” said Cynthea Corfah, solopreneur, journalist and social media specialist. “Chances are, that is where your passion lies. And that’s where the sweet spot is. That’s what’s going to keep you excited every day, if you pour into that.”

Corfah shared her own entrepreneur story to illustrate that. As a child, she wrote and published her own newsletter. She turned her passion for writing into a successful freelance writing and social media career. She also enjoyed throwing parties for her friends — a love of hospitality and community that she now manifests through Brunch for the Soul, a women’s empowerment group she founded.

People are attracted to you for your passions, said serial entrepreneur Aaron Pearson. That’s an opportunity to build on what you know and love to create a viable business. A sincere belief in and love for what you’re offering to clients and customers gives you an edge in marketing and selling. After all, when you’re passionate about something, you want to share it with others.

Once you know you want to build a business based on your passions, don’t just think about it — ‌do it. “Start now and figure it out on the way,” Pearson said. “There may be some bumps — a lot of bumps. But you can’t figure it out without starting.” 

Find Your Genius Zone

Founders are often seen as the driving force behind a business, inspiring their teams with a powerful vision for the future. They are the visionaries who have the courage to take risks and build something great. But to become a successful entrepreneur, you need to make the time to focus on what’s important. And you can do that by entering your “genius zone.”

“When you are living in your genius zone, you are truly living as the visionary in your business, and as the visionary in your life,” said Anna Dearmon Kornick, a time management coach, speaker and author.

Your genius zone lies at the intersection of passion and proficiency, she continued. When working, we can fall into one of five “zones”:

  • Distraction zone: high passion but low proficiency
  • Drudgery zone: low passion and low proficiency
  • Disinterest zone: low passion but high proficiency
  • Development zone: high passion and an opportunity for high proficiency
  • Desire zone (genius zone): high passion and high proficiency

Once you find your genius zone — the tasks you’re extremely passionate about and also very good at — you can enter a flow state, when you’re at your most productive. 

A state of flow is a mental state in which a person is completely immersed in an activity, to the point where it becomes almost effortless. It’s a feeling of being completely engaged in an activity and being able to complete tasks without feeling overwhelmed. Busy entrepreneurs need to achieve this state of flow to succeed. By being able to completely focus on a task and become immersed in it, entrepreneurs can be more productive, efficient and creative.

Become the Visionary

Becoming the visionary in your startup starts with freeing up time to focus on work where you can have the greatest impact. “As visionaries, we should be spending our time with more intention, we should be spending our time in the zone, we should be spending our time in that state of flow,” Kornick said. She cautions against “getting bogged down spending our time spinning our wheels, trying to make our weaknesses into strengths.” 

To make the greatest impact in the least amount of time, you have to learn to do three things, Kornick said:

  • Eliminate: Look for tasks that fall outside your genius zone, such as managing payroll or tracking social engagement. These are candidates for outsourcing.
  • Automate: Look for opportunities to automate simple or repetitive tasks, such as sending invoices, posting on your social channels or scheduling calls or meetings. It helps to automate tasks in your personal life, too, like scheduling your bills.
  • Delegate: Finally, Kornick said, “[t]ake a look at what’s left — the things that you haven’t eliminated, the things that you haven’t automated — and make a list.” Prioritize what’s left for delegating. This is a really good opportunity to tighten up your standard operating procedures for other people to understand and apply.

Kornick recommends four tools for every visionary to keep in their toolbox. First, she said, a calendar helps keep all of your competing priorities organized. A system for capturing ideas — an online filing system, a notebook — allows you to return to and apply them over time. Collaboration and communication tools keep everyone aligned in their purpose and in sync in their actions. And a client management tool helps you keep track of all your client work and customer engagement.

Once you’ve committed to turning your passion into profit, and taken steps to become the visionary and devote your time and energy to what matters most to your business, your entrepreneur success story is well on its way to writing itself.

If you need support thinking through business ideas or unscrambling your schedule to find your genius zone, remember there are resources available to help. Nexus Louisiana provides the coaching, capital and connections you need to bring your success story as an entrepreneur to life.

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