Over the years I have made time to connect with other women business owners to chat strategy, operations, growth etc. This year I have gotten to know Natalie Mangrum of Maryland Teacher Tutors. We had the privilege of speaking together on a panel at the Daily Record’s Women’s Leadership Summit in March of this year. We chatted about turning Obstacles to Opportunities. I’m so happy to have Natalie sharing her wisdom here!
One of my favorite things to tell newer entrepreneurs is that overnight success is a lie. I love bringing up well known success stories like those of Oprah, Beyonce, or Michelle Obama. These women worked incredibly hard to achieve the level of fame and success that they now hold. And so can you.
Entrepreneurship and business success is not an easy formula. It just takes good ol’ work ethic and good ol’ thinking. Lord knows there’s no shortage of advice for business owners trying to gain exposure, build a brand, and pursue their passions. Here are the 5 things that I’ve learned and held onto in my short timespan as a business owner. I hope that you find them useful.
I was the kid in school who didn’t have to work to get straight A’s. I never studied, barely finished my homework on the bus, and stayed in the hallways way too long hanging out with friends. When I became an entrepreneur, I became brutally aware that this method would no longer work for me. And that was quite the rude awakening. I was used to things coming easily, but more than that, I was used to things coming quickly! I felt like I was spending hours working in and on my business, with little to no results. Until one day, it seemed like the skies opened and everyone knew about my brand. Please be patient. And don’t give up. Just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, keep going! That just might be when your breakthrough comes!
Let me be very honest. I felt really stupid putting up Facebook and Instagram posts when I had 5 followers. Why in the world am I spending time on blog posts when no one even knows the Maryland Teacher Tutors website exists? And don’t get me started on videos. I spent days learning iMovie and figuring out how to create and edit videos about our services. And the only person who liked and commented was my mom. But I kept at it! Now, our videos are consistently shared and we have thousands of FB and Ig followers who look forward to our content. Keep on truckin’ baby.
This is going to sound weird, but one of the most common compliments I get from parents, tutors, colleagues, and strangers is that I am nice! Who knew this was such a lost art? I try to be honest, knowledgeable, and helpful – but none of that matters if I’m not nice to people. So, please be kind. Most people will like you better if you are!
Be a professional.
I’ve been cursed out, hung up on, talked about, slandered, and mistreated. I’ve had parents yell at me at the top of their lungs and tutors disappear on me out of nowhere. We live in a fallen world so chances are, this has happened or will happen to you, too. Whenever I am in a situation where someone is no longer respectful, I remain calm and professional. I treat people with respect, even if they don’t provide that same courtesy. And in the rare case that someone comes back and apologizes, they are grateful for my response in the situation. I never want to give anyone an opportunity to associate negative feelings towards my brand. And neither should you. So please, remain professional at all times.
Be a sponge.
Millions of people have gone before you in business. Hundreds and thousands of people are successful in business. Hundreds and thousands of people are happy to talk to up and coming entrepreneurs about ups, downs, failures, and successes. Maybe you don’t know hundreds. Maybe you know one. Reach out to that one! Get out your tablet or notebook, and take copious notes on what they share. Learn everything you can and don’t isolate yourself! Wisdom is a gift. And it’s free.
Maryland Teacher Tutors Website: www.marylandteachertutors.com
MTT Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marylandteachertutors
MTT Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marylandteachertutors/
Natalie Entrepreneurship FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/nattymangrum/
Natalie Mangrum Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nattymangrum/