There’s No Such Thing as An Exit Plan

I know the title isn’t necessarily true. We live in a world of choices. If you actually wanted to stop or quit doing something you can. It’s not the end of the world. But in the world of entrepreneurship there’s no such thing.

I say this a lot but quite honestly it takes a certain type of person to be an entrepreneur. It’s either in you or it isn’t. Simple as that. You are either willing to do what you have to do as an entrepreneur or you’re not.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and discussing the concept of entrepreneurship with a lot of people. One thing I’ve observed is that people seem to think of their business – the business they started – as their “side hustle.” And then they say, “Well, if this doesn’t work out then…” But this is completely reversed. Entrepreneurs need to see their business as their main hustle. What they do. Their other jobs are their side hustle. There needs to be a shift in the way we talk about our businesses.

I’ve started a number of my businesses while I’m working full time or part time jobs at the same time. I’ve also started businesses while I own other businesses. There’s no shame in working while you have a business. You do what you gotta do to survive! But the part that hurts my heart is when I ask someone about what they do. They down play their passions. They talk about their business like it’s a side thing “on their spare time.” They don’t take their businesses seriously. 😔 

I remember when I started my first few businesses. I try to dumb-down my passion for what I was doing and making myself sound less excited or proud about what I was pursuing. I would say things like, “Oh you know, we’re just starting out so we’ll see.” Or, “Well I’m an office manager but I have this small thing I do on the side.” Or, “We’re just a small operation that is run by my family.” If I don’t treat my business like a viable business then why would I expect others to?!

When I changed my mindset and took my business more seriously – that was when I started to see more steady and exponential growth. Even when my business was just run by me and/or family members, I treated them like employees in the workplace and I fully expected them to treat me like an employee as well. Separating business and personal is super important.

I also stopped “winging it” and “waiting to see what happens.” Instead I created measurable milestones, goals, and action steps. I created a budget, sales goals, and strategies to hit those goals. Sure, most of the time it didn’t work out the way I wanted and some things took longer than I had hoped. But my attitude toward my business was the key. My attitude, my drive, and my strategy changed it all. Taking myself and my business more seriously changed everything.

You know what got me to change that mindset? I told myself that there’s no way I’m allowed to give this up. There’s no way I want to give this up. If I really want this like I say I do, then this has to work. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. As business owners we need to see our businesses as the end-all-be-all. Yes, sacrifices have to be made. No, it’s not going to be easy. Yes, maybe in time. It might even take longer than I thought. But trust me, you’ll fail before you begin if you have an exit strategy if it “doesn’t work out.” It will work out. You have to believe it, know it, and live it. Give it time. You’ve just got to hustle until it does.


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