“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better”.
Samuel Beckett’s famous quote may not be at the top of most young entrepreneurs list of Motivational Quotes, but it should be. It may not always be obvious, but many entrepreneurs sabotage their own careers because they sell themselves short. Here are four ways you’re damaging your career and what you can do about it.
1. You Do Things for Free
Regardless of your industry, don’t be the guy on the other end of the, “I know a guy who knows a guy” statement. Graphic design? Don’t make logos or banners for free. Catering? Don’t do tasting menus for free. If your friends and family want to help you get business, they’ll do so by spreading your name… and then by expecting their friends to pay up. Don’t do things for free, “just to get your name out there” or “just to gain some experience.” Internships are where you get resume experience – organizing a $25,000 charity auction for free is not.
2.You Don’t Have a Plan
We have a staggering number of billionaires who seem to have gotten where they are by breaking the rules (or at least the normal path to success) – Zuckerberg, Cuban, and Jobs have all been toted at some point as having just been “lucky” (worst, they’re seen as great examples of why you should drop out of college instead of getting an education). These people all had structure and plans though – and so should you. In the world of business, there is no “winging it.” You can’t sit and wait for things to happen, or for your future to fall into your lap. Sit down and create, at minimum, a one year plan, five year plan, and ten year plan. Outline your personal growth and business growth expectations for each of those periods. Have set points of your own expectations of where you should be – and hold yourself accountable.
3. You Don’t Make the First Move
To many people don’t get anywhere in life simply because they wait for someone else to make the first move. How many people are you hoping will call to schedule a lunch date? Or will approach you for a new business opportunity? Instead of waiting for people to come to you, learn to go to them. Introduce yourself at parties instead of waiting of an introduction. Be the first to send out a Thank You email after an interview. Don’t wait to be approached – make the conversation happen yourself.
4. You Don’t Ask Out of Fear of Rejection
How many times have you stopped yourself from asking for a raise, a promotion, or a partnership, simply out of fear of rejection? The worst that can happen is that the person you are asking is going to say no – and once they do, you know for sure and can move on to your next steps. Instead of worrying about the outcome of a hypothetical question, lay out exactly how you plan to ask for whatever it is you want. Address each point that is in favor of your argument. Go through the conversation in your head, and approach it as logically and free of emotion as possible. At the end of the day, you can only say the best of yourself – you tried, and that’s part of making something of yourself.
The opinions expressed here by writer are his own