Entrepreneurship is difficult in most circumstances, even more so in 2020. Yet this kind of business endeavor generally comes from passion and there is not much that can stay in the way of that. For instructional designers turned business owners, this period is one of great challenges and even greater opportunities.
With much of the learning having moved online and people looking for ways to ensure they become (or stay) competitive on the job market, there is a very wide pool of potential customers. The key is to be persistent and follow these useful tips for success.
Believe in yourself and your work
Most entrepreneurs don’t fail, they give up because they get overwhelmed by self-doubt. It’s good if you can keep a critical eye and evaluate your work but it does not have to go as far as underestimating yourself.
Self-fulfilling prophecies are real – if you believe you are going to fail you will unconsciously throw hurdles in your path, while if you truly think you’ll achieve success it will arrive sooner or later. Having a healthy dose of self-confidence will help you take some necessary risks and stay afloat if something doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Keep going on your education
Generally, entrepreneurs have to keep bettering themselves but it’s even more important if your own field IS learning. Having your own business in the present day highly dynamic environment means there is always something new just around the corner.
Comfort zones are the enemy of evolution so you’ll have to constantly challenge yourself and learn new things. It’s a sure way to train your mind to innovate and find creative solutions to complicated conundrums. Keeping up with the latest developments will also ensure you know how to stay competitive on the market.
Know that success is always the result of action
In business, good things come to those who go for them, not to the ones who wait. Great ideas are wonderful starting points, but they require action. The online learning environment is a very dynamic, fast-developing one.
If you have a good insight into what will be in demand, you need to execute that plan while it is still hot lest somebody else will snatch the opportunity. Planning is good but it should not hinder execution.
Stay close to your customers
Client behavior has seen spectacular changes in the past decade. People are less likely to stick with a certain provider of products or services just because they have made a purchase in the past. So, it is your job as an entrepreneur to cultivate that loyalty by listening to what they have to say and delivering on all your promises.
It might actually be a good idea to over-deliver, to create more value than it is expected. Going the extra mile for your customers will encourage them to keep walking with you.
Don’t lose your focus
Especially in current times, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of things. The digital age came with a lot of perks but also with the downside of having your attention drawn in many directions.
You must remain aware of your objectives and work diligently towards achieving them. It’s good to have a plan B, it’s not great if you are trying to go in several directions at once. Trust your initial decisions and stick to them.
Keep an eye on the competition
Trusting yourself does by no means mean that you should be oblivious to what is going on with your competitors. Information is power and in the age of fast internet, there is no shortage of the first. You don’t need to be obsessed or overly worried just make sure you are in the loop. Following social media pages and reading user reviews are good ways of gaining valuable intel.
Network. Then network again. Then network some more
Being connected with the right people is paramount when you are an entrepreneur. Professional relationships will greatly help you grow your business through lead generation and referrals.
Constant communication with people who have the same interests as you is the key to gaining insights, generating new ideas, and even forming lucrative partnerships. There is even a chance you’ll get funding for your projects.
Take time for yourself
My last piece of advice may seem to be unrelated to the entrepreneurial endeavor, but it is. Even if you often feel like you are your business, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy work-personal life balance. It’s good to be committed to your enterprise but for you to stay productive and avoid burn-out, you need to occasionally step back and change perspectives.
Having your own business is equally challenging and rewarding. Instructional design requires a big dose of creativity, a thorough knowledge of the audience, and the ability to adapt quickly to shifting demands. With the right connections and the proper mindset, being a knowledge entrepreneur is a rather good line of business at the moment.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.