I walked into the meeting room with my new boss and the head of our department. I knew it was appraisal time. In an attempt to be diligent, I had prepared a presentation of all my achievements of the year, my clients record figures, and where I was currently performing against my Key Performance Indicators.
As someone new to the process of appraisals, it was daunting, and I nervously sit down and the conversation starts with…
“You are overzealous, arrogant, and overconfident.” Were the first 3 phrases used to describe my ‘performance’.
The results I had achieved for my customers seemed to be glossed over.
To be honest, as someone in the early stages of their career I had to leave the meeting and Google ‘overzealous’. I had never been described as that word before.
For those reading this article who still aren’t sure, no judgement here, the definition is;
Definition of overzealous
This was the start of strenuous boss to colleague relationship, In which I ended up being bullied (I am sure to this day he would argue differently) under his management. This bullying reached its height when myself and one other colleague were left behind on a team-building trip to South Africa. Apparently, “someone had to stay behind”.
It was no surprise at the time that one of those people would be. Me.
This article is not about bullying in the workplace, although I could write a whole book on that subject matter.
This article is about how what one person/ industry/ workplace see’s as a personality defect, is actually EXACTLY who you need to be in a different arena. I want to give an open account about building a business, what to embrace and what we need to leave behind when transitioning from a corporate role to entrepreneurship.
I always knew I wanted to be a business owner, and maybe it was innately in my personality to be one. I come from a family who have owned businesses and I have had business ideas come to me since I don’t know when.
If you’re going to start a business and see out the first 18 months you may just need a dash of
You need to have an unwavering belief in yourself as a business owner and entrepreneur that everything will work out for you. To be successful in running a business you need to back yourself and do it with conviction (a touch of arrogance).
You need to be madly in love, passionate, and excitable about your business (overzealous), because if you aren’t, how will you convince others that your product is worth buying over the next, how will you tell a room of investors you are worth backing if you don’t deeply believe in what you are creating.
There is no room in starting a business for half heartiness, 50% effort, or thinking “I am just here for the paycheck” mentality.
Starting a business is hard, there’s no denying it, you can read a plethora of articles online which will tell you how 90% of businesses fail within the first year. However, I have always been curious on the stats which show how many of the business owners behind the originally “failed” businesses, then went on to build another business which did make it past this elusive “one year mark.”
One thing you need to become good at when running a business is failing. It’s so cliché, but so true, fail hard, fail fast, and fail forwards. It really does take a deep-rooted grit to pick yourself up from the times you have ‘failed’.
Today I am celebrating 2 years of being a fulltime business owner. Over the past 2 years, I have failed multiple times, had some small wins, big wins, record months and so on. I am still here telling this tale and running my business, which in January 2020 became fully booked and I am looking to add other revenue streams into the business.
One of the biggest lessons is that in order to run, manage and grow a business after working in corporate roles you need to unlearn 80% of what you ever learnt in corporate roles. Just let that sink in for a second…
It’s not just some of the strategies and tactics you need to unlearn, alongside the fact failure is seen a ‘bad thing’, however, what you really need to unlearn, is the culture and behaviours.
If we look back to the start of this article where I was told I was overzealous, arrogant, and overconfident, I spent the next 2 years in that role trying not be me. My personality traits were slowly but surely moulded into who that company wanted me to be.
Then when you move to a different company, the values and traits you are expected to show in one company are not desirable to the new company, and you go back to square one, moulding and adapting who you are to ‘fit in’ and ‘succeed’.
When you leave the corporate world to start your own entrepreneurial journey, you start to ask yourself. Who am I?
Many people hold a HUGE part of their identity in their job title, or company they work for, but again that’s another book I need to write.
I had to slowly but surely peel back the corporate layers, the years of being told you are ‘too this’ and ‘too that’. Alongside the typical phrases we all hear of, ‘we don’t do it that way.’ ‘You’re not the decision-maker.’ ‘We need approval from the C-suite in order to do that’. ‘Have you got permission from X,Y,Z do that?’
I had to relearn who I was and what I stood for, what I enjoyed doing, and what my natural skillset was.
If you want to start a business, make money quickly, and take massive leaps forward, you need to remove all the corporate BS you have been told, because right now its holding you back.
I let these lingering beliefs hold me back when I started my journey. I became scared to take big moves, because what would happen if someone didn’t approve? Am I allowed to do that? Who has signed that off?
The thing is I didn’t need approval and I still don’t. This is my brand, my business, and I decide what happens and the direction I go in.
In order to move forward, I had to re-frame my beliefs and re-frame what I had previously been described as.
Overzealous = entrepreneurial
Over confident = entrepreneurial
Arrogant = entrepreneurial
As a business owner you need to shout about how good you are, share, Every. Single. Win. Tell everyone about your business and let them know what it is you do and do it with passion and enthusiasm. You need to mentally put the blinkers on and ignore the competition, stick in your own lane, and focus only on you and your business.
All of those positive traits can be seen by some as negatives, and that’s ok. In the arena of entrepreneurship, you need a dash of these traits to start moving forwards, otherwise you could find yourself with the other 90%.
Right now, I don’t stand in the corporate arena, I stand in the entrepreneurial/ business owner arena. I only listen and take advice from those people who are in my arena and take big bold moves in that space every day.
The rest is just noise.
In order to move forwards quickly as a business owner start by unlearning all of what you have been told in your corporate roles and watch how the big entrepreneurs do things and you will get further, quicker.
In complete transparency, it has taken me 2 years to get the courage to write this post, but I feel so deeply that now is the time to write this. Today I have been In my business 2 years, and I have created a space where I can be me, work from home, and work around bringing up my daughter. I have defined what success means to me, and I am perusing that.