Awura’s September Reflection - 3 things I learned as an entrepreneur
Awura Abena Simpe
Awura is the founder of Creative Women Collective, an ex-lawyer specialized in intellectual property and incredibly passionate about sparking courage in creative women. And fries. And Brené Brown. And podcasts.
Photo: Carly Wollaert
In my monthly reflections on www.thecreativewomencollective.com I will push myself to share an unfiltered review of my month. A look into the behind scenes of CWC without all of the (awesome) Inshot effects which we use (and love) in our Instagram Stories. Check out my Summer reflection here.
Are you excited for fall?! I have been experiencing a lot of back-to-school type of emotions since the beginning of August. I am hungry for a new beginning. I long for doing things differently and most of all, I’m desperate to let go everything which is unnecessary in my life, in my mind and in my business.
Nature is a wonderful teacher. The lesson she teaches through our four seasons is one of my favorites: nothing in nature blooms all year.
As we step into our third year of Creative Women Collective, I would like to share my own lessons on entrepreneurship with you. If you haven’t already, go ahead and read my summer reflection blog where I look back on our second year and explain why I have been f-ing tired.
Lesson #1 - create your own definitions… of EVERYTHING!
And especially of the word success. I don’t often tell people they MUST do anything. However as an entrepreneur, you MUST do this. Define success for yourself, don’t let ANYONE define it for you. Like NOBODY. Not your BFF, not your mother and definitely not Instagram. Before you ask advice from anyone, or let people advice you without asking, reflect and create your own definition.
Doing this will help you to focus on your own vision, because as you know, distraction is EVERYWHERE. In other people’s images, announcements or achievements. Yet, when you define success for yourself, these distractions will not easily blur your vision.
However, you are a human being. Therefore you will be tempted to change your definition of success as a consequence of random posts which pop up on your screen.
Extra: To embrace lesson #1 to the max, also learn how to focus successfully in a distracted world. Over the summer I read Cal Newport’s “DEEP WORK” on this topic and my relationship with social feeds hasn’t been the same. Click here to check it out.
Lesson #2 - experimentation
I often describe the first two years of Creative Women Collective as the experimental phase. Or as my friend Dena from NOUMENON describes this: the playground. Because looking back, I have been experimenting non-stop during the first two years. Although I have a bit of experience in creating online platforms (I’ve been a comic, fashion and food blogger), CWC is the biggest thing I’ve build. Ever.
I jumped into the world of entrepreneurship without a whole lot of knowledge about entrepreneurship. I therefore had no other option but to experiment.
Experimenting has taught me a lot. However, there is a point where experimenting can turn into procrastination. The process of building a business is about more than creating. Business is also about managing, strategizing and most of all growing. After exploring the playground, you will have to build on your experimentations, and - the thing I have an incredible difficulty with - choose.
My message for you is this: choose to do a few of things only, and choose to be the best YOU can be, with the qualities YOU have and based on the things YOU find important. The rest is a f*cking waste of time. The rest of the FOMO-related activities will leave you drained, as they suck energy, time and money out of you.
If you are interested in starting a business, start with an experimental phase which is focused as much as possible (and re-read lesson #1 as often as necessary my friends). However, don’t get stuck in the experimental phase, and dare to choose.
Extra: Reflect monthly (or even weekly!) to stay on top of your game. After 1,5 years of doing business I started writing monthly reflections on the blog from the start of 2018, and thank God I did. These blogs forced a regular look into the mirror and opened my eyes to the ways I was wasting time, energy and money.
Lesson #3 - Relationships
Relationships are everything as an entrepreneur. You are doing business with people, for people and thanks to people. To build relationships which go beyond the superficial you will have to invest time.
In your team, in your clients and in your network.
Although all of these relationships have a different dynamic, the investment of time is necessary for all. This time is optimized when your position on lessons #1 and #2 is crystal clear. If you’ve put thought into your identity (lesson #1) and are aware of your strategy (lesson #2), you are able to communicate this to people with authenticity.
Because next to time, relationships are all about connection.
Are you able to connect with people on a human to human level? If you realize nobody is superior or inferior to you, you will be able to talk to anyone who is open for a conversation. Because guess what, not everybody is, and that’s OK!
Also, when you bump into a person you are able to connect with on a deep(er) level, realize this is a special thing. This is the type of relationship which is worth investing in. Everything else is - you’ve guessed it - a waste of time.
Extra: If you would like to dive deeper into the topic of connection, go ahead and read my blog for #cwcsummerschool on this topic!
Awura Abena Simpe