Chapter 4: Earn, Live & Learn…The Bike Ride
When you are a misfit entrepreneur, you care about more than just the money. You need to make money, but you get to decide what it will take to be a financial success. So, you have to reconcile standing for something with making an income, which is in and of itself a continuous learning process.
Where do you want your entrepreneurial endeavors to take you?
What has experience taught you about entrepreneurship so far that you could better leverage?
How are you engaging supporters in building your business?
Be A Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself
Humility does a misfit entrepreneur’s soul good. Day-in and day-out you experience so many highs and lows, they all feel very personal and intense. But nothing is personal. Not the good, nor the bad. You have to acknowledge those kinds of feelings without judgement or shame. They are what they are.
It helps to remember that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Whatever you believe, the misfit entrepreneur does not want to be the center of the universe. The misfit entrepreneur wants to play a part in advancing the greater good. And realizes that doing so successfully is a team effort.
At the same time, you believe you can do something. A Misfit Entrepreneur knows she can change the world! With dedication, inspiration and a tribe, a Misfit Entrepreneur will start a revolution.
Find Your Tribe
I don’t mean to belabor the point, but the Misfit Entrepreneur cannot go it alone. In addition to needing mentors, you also need a tribe. A tribe is defined as “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”
Simply put, find likeminded people that are committed to a shared purpose and values that align with your own. I am not saying you have to go to meetups or networking events. Maybe that’s your cup of tea, maybe it isn’t. But the misfit entrepreneur gets energy from gathering with their tribe, either in-person or virtually. Vampires typically don’t stick around in a healthy tribe; there needs to be a genuine connection, which can be hard to find sometimes.
When you cannot find a tribe to join, the Misfit Entrepreneur makes their own. That is how EntrepreNerds started. I needed a community of lifelong learners turned entrepreneurs eager to read, discuss, explore and grow together. None of the professional development programs felt right for my needs, so I started hosting a business book discussion group.
It came out of my own need, but from the very beginning I knew that EntrepreNerds needed to create value for participants and myself to have any staying power. That meant I needed to keep other people’s perspectives in mind while remaining true to what I stood for.
Over the last four years EntrepreNerds has evolved as a result of lessons learned along the way. From month to month and year to year I made little tweaks. We shifted from focusing on one book to having topic discussions where we reviewed a number of books on a specific concept like, Improving Your Sales -Ability. EntrepreNerds told me that they wanted a mastermind group, I formed one. The mastermind group told me they wanted an Annual Planning Workshop, I created one.
EntrepreNerds have asked me for a few years now, when I was going to write a book? So I am writing one. And I am engaging my tribe in the process…as you know since you are reading this draft on my website (I’ll probably edit this part in the final manuscript, just sayn’).
Galvanize Your Earlyvangelists
I have come to learn that some other people are better at selling me than I am at selling myself. Lets not beat around the bush, self-promotion is difficult for most everyone. Not only does it mean talking yourself up, but you have to talk up the right things. You need to hone in on your message and find a beat that other people will drum to.
One of the challenges about being a Misfit Entrepreneur is that most people will not even understand your idea. They may nod and placate you with niceties. But their eyes glaze over and they do not engage in a meaningful dialogue. Usually either the conversation screeches to a halt, you change the subject or worse case scenario, you go on babbling away completely missing all their social cues of dis-interest.
My point being, when you are doing something different. Tackling a problem other people won’t. Pursuing a different line of thinking than business as usual. Most people won’t eagerly jump on board with you. Instead of trying to convince a bunch of naysayers why your idea is great, focus your time and energy on building relationships with a few eager beavers.
Earlyvangelists are early adopters that will evangelize your idea. Not only are they quick to say yes when everyone else is patiently waiting on the sidelines for you to be a fad. The earlyvangelist brags about your idea to their friends or colleagues.
In December of 2014 I was seriously considering quitting the EntrepreNerds program. My failed attempt at pursuing a scaleable licensing model was making me feel really dejected. And being a work from home mom of a 4 month old, I did not know if I had the bandwidth to carry-on with something that was clearly a failure.
Then I went to a volunteer appreciation luncheon. Three EntrepreNerds members were there. Each of them separately started bragging about their participation in EntrepreNerds book discussions to other people. They were proud and made no bones talking about it. I decided that day I could not give up. On March 3, 2015 I launched a crowdfunding campaign called SurThriving.
SurThriving celebrated 3 years of talking nerdy. The goal was to raise $3,333 in 3 weeks to start a scholarship fund for EntrepreNerds workshops. We exceeded our goal because we galvanized our earlyvangelists and they helped to spread the word. And now we have a scholarship program so the cash poor misfit entrepreneur can get the support they need to succeed. Yes, I started talking about misfit entrepreneurs during the SurThriving campaign, which is clearly the other reason we succeeded!
The Art of Revolution by Jonathan Fields
Fields’ personal curiosity to see if there are any correlations between leading a revolution and building a business turned into an international success he never expected. In the Art of Revolution he shares a bit about his personal journey while presenting the 18 steps do-gooder entrepreneurs can use to turn their idea into a movement. While many of the 18 steps are familiar to marketing gurus, Fields presents his ideas in ways that are more palatable to the socially conscious creator. Plus, his approach is meant to enable others to lead, organize and rally around your business, taking hire pressure sales out of the equation so that you may enjoy more organic, community driven growth.