Sustainability Tools | JDC EXEC


about starting a business

Chad Prinsloo | Web Designer

Janine Do Cabo  | Sustainability & Leadership Development  |  JHB, SA

May 2020



Becoming an entrepreneur is both daunting and exciting.  Daunting in that it’s a new venture that’s never been done before and exciting in that it’s a new job that’s never been done before. 


With so many emotions surrounding entrepreneurship, it can very easily become overwhelming. 


If you’re a planner who delights in ticking boxes, dotting I’s and crossing t’s, then no doubt there’s a to-do list in place to assist you in getting the job done. 


What then do you do when the list of what you expected business to be and what you needed, doesn’t meet the reality of what being a business-owner requires.


Below are the 4 things no one really tells you about before starting your business.



1. There is no right person to be, just be you!


Now, if you’ve lived long enough, having worked under the employ of a decent number of employers, you would soon appreciate that business owners and leaders come in different shapes and sizes, each having in their possession a set of skills which you may subconsciously adapt as your own in your business.  And, as much as learning from others is a good thing, there will be times when your personality may not agree with that particular style of business. 


You will be able to recognize it when it feels as if you’re forcing a puzzle piece into the wrong place.  If that’s the case, look for ways to do what you need to in the style that makes you feel comfortable.  While figuring out what your way of doing business is, become a sponge and learn what works by application and what doesn’t in the same way.



2. Accept the fact that your own working hours don’t exist



So, I get it, you thought being your own boss meant waking up when you felt like and putting tools down just as quick, but in reality, that is not how you make your business successful.  There is a certain level of success that would allow you to have the flexibility to work a little less than usual, but that level requires you to slog and grind. On your long walk to that freedom, you need to make peace with adjusting your time schedule in such a way that you develop a work-life integration. 


What that means is, your hours won’t be set, your day may be unpredictable and you may sleep less than expected, but your goal is to get to the level of comfort that awards you some time off, till then, make peace with work-life integration.



3. It’s not easy to maintain the speed of success


Early success is evident; you’re passionate, driven, and ready to take on the world!  There does, however, come a time when you’re worn out and the orders aren’t coming anymore.  HOLD ON, this too shall pass.  Use this time wisely, spend time gleaning from mentors who have the ability to assist you.  Self-educate, strategize, and energize.



4. Mentors, did you say mentors?


Yes, indeed I said mentors.  Wise people learn from the success and failures of others.  Be wise and get a mentor.  Some people go through life with an unnerving sense of direction.  They always know where they’re going as if they have a built-in compass that points then north every time.  As a result of their assuredness, we tend to feel secure about them.  We feel that any surprises that come as a result of their decisions, would be pleasant surprises.  They are our role models, our unsung heroes. 


In the same breath, are the people who are the opposite.  Those who need direction and need reassurance with the decisions they’re about to make.


Which one are you?  Do you add or subtract from people?  Do they look to you for direction or, do you look for a direction for others? 


In conclusion, Marshal Goldsmith once said, “If we don’t control our environment, our environment will control us.”  Be flexible, be teachable, and keep moving forwards and upwards.




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