This year marks my 9th anniversary of sobriety. Looking back, after everything I went through, I never thought I would end up where I am today, co-owning a successful business, having realistic goals and working hard to achieve them.
Ever since I was 9 years old and up until I was well into my 20’s I struggled with alcohol and drug problems. My first vice was alcohol, which I tried for the first time at a family party. When I was a teenager, I tried all sorts of drugs. I first tried marijuana and then other hardcore drugs like cocaine and meth. When I was 23, I got sentenced two years for drug use and drug dealing.
I’m telling you this because I want to let you know that I was lost. I felt like a rolling stone. I had thrown my life away. After spending some time in prison I checked into a rehab facility. One of the things, that I valued the most out of the many things I learned there, was realizing that I still had a lot to live for; I just had to find my purpose in life. Alcohol and drug detox was the hardest part of the rehabilitation program. At times I felt like it was worthless and that I would never find success even if I got sober.
But I pushed through those feelings, and I completed my recovery process. After rehab, my AA sponsor encouraged me to take some courses at a local college. I started taking web development classes, and I found out that I was really good at it. I started getting into digital marketing, and I also started taking more business classes which lead to finally finding my passion.
It took a lot of hard work, but today I can say I feel successful. I now own a digital marketing company with my brother and we have achieved great successes through the years. I am not going to deny that it has not been a bumpy road, but we have overcome many obstacles together. It’s been a very rewarding experience, and today I would like to share 5 things I’ve learned in my journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
- Always Playing it Safe
One of the many side effects of addiction is that you tend to lose all confidence in yourself. When I started my business with my brother, I was clean, yet I was still struggling with trusting myself when it came to making big decisions. This lack of confidence often resulted in me wanting to play it safe, so to avoid the chance of being disappointed.
Due to this fear of failure I missed great opportunities because I didn’t take risks. It wasn’t until I was finally able to get out of my comfort zone that I realized opportunities had been knocking at my door all this time, and I kept turning them away. I now understand that part of being a successful entrepreneur is taking risks when the moment is right. Of course, you might make a mistake every now and then, but the greatest lessons in life come from making mistakes. My advice is to go with your gut. I have found that trusting my intuition has led me to achieve my greatest successes.
- Not Knowing How to Make Decisions
Decision making is one of the most fundamental parts of running a business. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not knowing good decisions from bad ones. We all make bad decisions sometimes; It’s also part of being a human and an entrepreneur. However, not learning from them will make it even harder for your business to be successful, since you will make the same mistakes over and over again.
As someone who has made a lot of bad choices, not only in running his own business, but also in life, I have found that decision making is all about looking at your past experiences, focusing on your goals, using common sense, and using your intuition. Before making any decision you need to carefully analyze your options and realize which one is the best for you according to what you want to achieve and, of course, trusting your intuition.
- Not Setting Clear Goals from the Beginning
Looking back at my days when I was in the midst of my addiction, I spent a lot of time aimlessly wandering through life and not having any goals other than being able to get my next hit. Not knowing what your goals are and not having anything to strive for is not only bad for your life but detrimental to your business.
Setting goals gives you motivation and purpose. It gives you something to work towards. Make sure you state your goals from the very beginning and make sure they’re realistic. Write them down and put them somewhere visible, such as a whiteboard in front of your desk, a notebook you keep open on your desk, a sticky note you keep on your computer monitor, etc. This will keep you motivated and focused every single day.
- Thinking You Can Make it On Your Own
It’s easy for your pride to trick you into thinking you don’t need help from anyone.I’ve been there quite a few times. Although life kept showing me how essential it was to get help from others. I used to think I would be able to stop getting drunk and high whenever I felt like it. I used to think that the people who were trying to help me just didn’t understand me, and I thought that had it all under control. But if it wouldn’t have been for my family, my doctors and my sponsor, I wouldn’t have been able to share my story.
I know now that I can’t be successful on my own in life or in business. Learning from others and sharing your success with them is far more rewarding. My advice on growing a successful business is to make sure you are able to build partnerships with like-minded people as well as pushing your team members and exploring their talents to foster a collaborative and learning environment.
- Becoming Sedentary and Unhealthy
True success is not only about financial security, it’s about achieving happiness and feeling like all aspects of your life are well balanced. Moreover, you’ll never reach success if you don’t take care of yourself physically and psychologically.
During my long-term drug rehab, I learned how important exercise and a well-rounded diet are. It was then when I started practicing basketball and haven’t stopped since. Exercising helps you clear your mind since work can get very stressful at times; It also improves your overall health and helps you stay in shape and thus causing you to feel and look better. Eating well will boost your energy and keep you in shape.
Being a successful entrepreneur means taking risks, learning from your mistakes, knowing where you want to go and accepting help from others to get to where you want to go. It may get really hard sometimes, and you’ll have to work a lot but trust me, it’s worth it.
Would you like to share some advice on how to become a successful entrepreneur? If you have a story you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.