Entrepreneurship requires inner strength, resilience and a sense of eternal optimism.
These traits help you navigate the heroic path of discovering who you are, what you’re made of and how truly invincible and powerful you are.
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Throughout the journey of starting, launching and growing a business, you’ll feel like you’re on a never-ending rollercoaster of highs and lows. One day you’re jumping for joy because a big customer says yes to launching your new product in thousands of stores, and then the next day, you’ll be slammed in the face with yet another disappointment or stress-inducing challenge. And so goes life as an entrepreneur… but the good news is, you have the power to decide how to respond to every curveball life throws at you.
So, to help you become a superhero in business, here are a few words of wisdom to live by.
As an entrepreneur and an executive with over 20 years of experience in business, like many people, I’ve faced more rejection than I can count. From being ghosted by retail chain buyers to hearing no from customers I’ve worked hard to earn, rejection is an inevitable part of this experience. However, in moments like these, we truly find out what we’re made of.
But, on the flip side of all these disappointments, I’ve been fortunate to experience great success and amazing opportunities in various facets of my businesses (including working with hundreds of the top brands and retailers on the globe). So I know both sides of the coin and am grateful for all the pivotal moments on my path to success.
I believe that we’re drawn to entrepreneurship because we have a vision of a better life — for ourselves, our families and the world around us. That said, my father was one of the men who inspired my entrepreneurship journey.
My father was a self-made serial entrepreneur and a true example of the “American Dream.”
As a high school dropout from New York who had to get a job shoveling snow to help his struggling family earn a living, he ultimately ran and launched multiple businesses. In his early years, he served in the military, bussed tables and became a door-to-door salesperson. Ultimately he became the Publisher of the first single-volume African-American history encyclopedia (during the Civil Rights movement) called “In Black America.” This encyclopedia helped thousands of men and women earn a living while empowering their communities and families. My father then went on to run a successful merchandising company. He most recently built Creative Balloons Manufacturing Inc., our family-operated global business celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, helping millions of people and brands celebrate life’s special moments with fun-filled balloons.
Over the years, he taught me many valuable lessons in entrepreneurship, especially regarding overcoming challenges and rejection.
1. Drive, determination and mindset are paramount to what we know
Since my father never had a formal education, he realized at an early age that he’d have to be more resourceful and hard-working than most, so he became street-smart and ultimately learned what it takes to start and run a global business, one that has proudly been a national supplier to major chains like McDonald’s for over 45 years.
Don’t let your education or lack thereof prevent you from feeling worthy or deserving of pursuing your passions and becoming successful. Always remember — if all else fails, just Google it (or, for that matter, just read an article by Entrepreneur). Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And as Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figureoutable.
2. Persistence and resilience are absolutely imperative if we want to make anything happen in life
As a kid, I vividly remember hearing my father on the phone calling one potential customer after the next, which ultimately helped him land many national accounts (including Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Mrs. Field’s Cookies and more). Whether we dream of developing a prototype for an innovative new product, landing a major client or changing the world with our revolutionary products or services, we have to believe in the purpose behind what we’re doing. Keep waking up each day to reach your goals and win. Even A-list athletes have bad days and losses, so keep striving, working hard and believing you’re a winner. You have to envision success first to achieve it.
3. Boldly pursue your dreams, no matter how big or wild they may seem
Want to land that big chain? Go pitch them! Looking to score a key investor? Send them a presentation deck. While you might not get a positive response from everyone you contact, all it takes is one “Yes” to open the door, leading you toward the next open door. And while you’re hearing no’s, do your best to find out why — was it the wrong timing, do you need to tweak something in your pitch, etc. Look at rejection as a form of redirection or recalibration.
Just remember that Bill Gates pitched to 1200 investors, out of which 11 said yes. Because of the few who aligned with his vision, he’s now one of the world’s most influential and successful people. So, even if you’re rejected, you can still skyrocket to success.
Bottom line: Never be afraid of rejection. Yes, you will hear a no, or worse, you’ll get ignored, but unless you try, you’ll always wonder, “What if?!”. And more importantly, you’ll never hear a yes unless you’re willing to ask for what you want