The Newbie Mindset & Why You Should Embrace The Ugly, Beginning Stage Of Business
In my day, we grew up wearing princess style prom dresses, scraggly eyebrows, and awkward hip-hugging jeans. If you’re over the age of 20, there’s a chance you actually had a rough, ugly stage while growing up. Nowadays, many teens get to skip that stage and break out at age 15 with perfectly manicured nails, brows and with perfectly toasted highlighter glazing their cheeks and cupid’s bow.
Just like many of today’s online entrepreneurs, they don’t want to have an ugly stage. They don’t want to struggle putting on eyeliner just like new online entrepreneurs don’t want to start with zero followers. Like it or not, having a perfectly manicured brand and receiving big checks from name brand sponsors are hot right now and many newbies want to just have “it” already.
Regardless of how hard we try to push past the newbie stage, there are three limitations that haunt newbies as they begin to navigate the online business space. The quicker we acknowledge these limitations, the quicker we can succeed, produce better content and extend our influence and paychecks:
Limitation one: Expecting a “Rule Book”
Many of us see the “hurry up and quit your job to live your best life” posts everywhere overlayed on a generic jet hopping photo of a thin woman wearing designer stilettos. Quitting and being your own boss is sexy and freeing but, there’s one major shift that will inevitably trip you up: you no longer have upper management to lean on.
As an employee, your work usually supports the company on a level that the CEO cannot be bothered. While you are completing your Tuesday to do list, the CEO is completing plans for next year. You usually don’t get to see what it takes to excel the brand to the next level from your seat like the CEO does. There are meetings you don’t get invited to because your level of expertise as employee may not cover long-term company strategy and tactics.
Just like everyone is not cut out to work in the office’s C Suite, everyone is not cut out to be their own boss. Don’t let anyone tell you that working a day job is no longer cool. Employees are still needed and more importantly, as your own boss you will be expected to manage employees and cultivate the relationship with your audience.
Just like everyone is not cut out to work in the office’s C Suite, everyone is not cut out to be their own boss. Don’t let anyone tell you that working a day job is no longer cool.
But there’s one reason why people bash the employee mindset, and it’s not just because many employees get too comfortable. It’s because there’s a huge internal shift in being an employee and being a CEO. Right now you may get a list of specific tasks to complete and add to the company “dish.”
But what happens when you are expected to figure out what the menu is, gather all of the ingredients, cook, invite people to taste, sell the recipes and do it all over again next quarter?
Unfortunately, entrepreneurship does not come with a rulebook. Contrary to popular belief and New York Times bestsellers, there are no concrete rules in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a constant cycle of the following sequence:
- “How can I do this?”
- “Let me Google it.”
- “Dang, can I do this?”
- “Let me figure it out and start planning.”
- “It’s time to work on this until it’s complete.”
- “What if this sucks?”
- “It might but, I won’t know unless I keep going.”
- “Wait, I don’t know how to make that work.”
- “Let me Google it.”
- “It’s time to get this out into the world.”
- “How can I make this more efficient and better the next time I release it?”
The moment things start to make more sense, people all of sudden are starting to see you as “successful” and you barely even feel like you know what you’re doing. It’s because you’re figuring it out and you have something to show for it. And if you’re not figuring it out, you’re paying someone else who has already gone through the sequence above countless times.
Mattie James, of MattieJames.com, once said something during a past Periscope broadcast that stuck with me. She bluntly said a statement along the lines of, “if you don’t have the time, you need to have the money.” Meaning, if you want your brand to prosper, you either make the time to figure it out yourself, or you hire someone with the expertise to help you.
You can’t have a brand that flourishes on social media by logging on twice a year. You either have to learn the skill of creating social media campaigns and schedule the content yourself, hire a social media manager or watch it slip through the cracks.
That’s why it (literally) pays to level up mindset wise. When flip phones switched over to touchscreen phones, many of your parents didn’t want to switch over. What happens is the longer you stay stagnant and expect things to stay the same, the more obsolete your original plans become. Touch screen phones turned into phones that can recognize your face, your thumbprint, and even your voice. What can a flip phone recognize besides your finger hitting the same number keys over and over again to send a decent text?
What happens is the longer you stay stagnant and expect things to stay the same, the more obsolete your original plans become.
Why would someone who is on a “virtual reality” level answer “flip phone” level questions that were answered on Google 10 years ago? “How can I start an email list?” is not a question I will stop my day to answer. Did you go through the entrepreneurial sequence of discovering answers for yourself? No? So, you want me to go through the entrepreneurial sequence for you and relate it to your brand? FOR FREE?
As an entrepreneur, you really just know how precious your time is when you decide to bypass questions and messages from people who refuse to put in the work. As you grow you learn that a lack of entrepreneurial mindset, leadership and self-education will make you fail before your brand ever makes a cent if you let it.
As you grow you learn that a lack of entrepreneurial mindset, leadership and self-education will make you fail before your brand ever makes a cent if you let it.
Limitation two: Pasting someone else’s brand unto your’s
The annoying, and yet inspiring, thing about entrepreneurship is that we see a lot of brands posting their glorious “SparkNotes” online. By “SparkNotes,” I mean the screenshots of their long notification log of confirmed sales from PayPal, the announcement that they had their highest amount of blog views this month and whatever else can be cutely packaged on Instagram or in a tweet.
What we don’t see is the strategy behind where these wins transpired from. We get the “SparkNotes” instead of the full story. We didn’t see that the first two launches failed and that’s why they are so excited about their recent PayPal notifications. There are hours and years put into building a brand that we may never see.
This is THE reason why hopping in direct messages to ask questions can be obnoxious. Because not only does the DM hopper usually not understand the level of work it takes to hit major goals, they are expecting it to come in the same package it came for the person who put in the original work. It takes time and experimentation to truly discover how to make your brand tick. For example, The Oprah Show was wildly successful because her show entered the scene when she had little competition, and talk shows were flourishing. Her brand became the talk show phenomenon to emulate. Now think about how different the success of other similar shows has been using similar tactics since the 80’s. How many talk show hosts are there who launched over twenty years ago that tried to copy Oprah’s success and barely cracked the surface?
There are a lot of strategies many of us use that work, and there are just as many tactics that many of your favorite online brands use that will not work for you. That level of strategy and figuring out what makes your audience purchase and grow like wildfire takes serious time and usually money.
That’s why it’s completely okay that so many different brands speak on the same niche. What for your audience loves may barely stir another audience of another brand and vice versa. Your audience is looking for your voice and your insight, not someone else’s regurgitated brand.
There are a lot of strategies many of us use that work, and there are just as many tactics that many of your favorite online brands use that will not work for you.
Limitation three: Bypassing small wins
I’ve worked at jobs that I could basically stop the company from filing for bankruptcy and barely get an emailed “thank you” from the manager sitting 3 feet over from my desk. It negatively impacted me to the point that it made it harder for me to celebrate my small accomplishments. When I left that job, I had to relearn what it felt like to celebrate hitting minor goals or finishing a to-do list.
When you’re an entrepreneur starting from scratch, you’ll have days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed. You’ll have days when you won’t be excited to open your laptop or respond to anyone’s emails. You’ll have days where sales barely trickle in. On those days, it’s easiest to throw in the towel if you have not made a habit to celebrate even the smallest wins. Any and everything from getting a new email subscriber to being contacted about a collaboration with your favorite brand is a win. Revel in it. Roll in it. Soak in it. Unfortunately, tough days will come, and they usually come in the form of imposter syndrome or someone’s “you’re not qualified for this” email.
In conclusion, updating your mindset, owning your brand and your accomplishments will put you in a position to win. It is imperative to immerse yourself in your brand and your audience to make sure what you create is spot on every, single time. When you back off on creating, it is your job to make sure that your education never stops so that you don’t turn into a “flip phone” in a “virtual reality” world. Surrounding yourself with what it takes to grow, will break the limitations of the newbie mindset.
written by shay duriel davis
Shay Duriel Davis created her brand, The Bronze Hustle, in 2016 to provide resources and tips to black millennial women who are bloggers and online entrepreneurs looking to advance their content marketing strategies and audience growth. visit her website