Ever looked at the most successful business owners and thought "hmm, if they can do it, anyone can!" - well let me tell you that is a CRITICAL mistake that can cost you dearly. I was fortunate to learn this early on (having grown up under not-so-easy circumstances), and that's allowed me to persist in spite of numerous failures in the early stages of my business.
Rejection sucks - as an entrepreneur in the B2B space who is often approached by other business owners (and often tasked with doing the same), I've been seeing a lot of the "same old, same old" popping up lately. That's led me to write this article in hopes that it will help other entrepreneurs out there understand why they get rejected so often.
Growing up in a small town in the far reaches of Northern British Columbia, my parents weren't rich. They were a working-class family who didn't believe in talking about money around the dinner table, and that wealthy people were either "lucky" or stepped on others to get there. That attitude kept me back for a long time - sorry Mom and Dad, but that's the hard truth.
I left my parent's home at 18 years old to move to "the big city" which at the time was Prince George, BC - rated by Maclean's magaizine as one of Canada's most dangerous cities, PG has its fair share of problems when it comes to drug / alcohol abuse and violent crime.
A lot of people never left the small town where I grew up - I had to learn to do it all on my own. For the longest time, I hung around all the wrong people. I was making a lot of mistakes. I was a literal case of "with friends like mine, who needs enemies?" - hopping from job to job, from bad relationship to bad relationship and "friendships" gone wrong - one after the other. I just didn't get it - but there was one thing I knew, and that was I had to keep moving in order to survive.
If there is anything I am feeling lucky for, it is my survival. But there's something else to be said for going through hard times and having to do things all on your own: If you don't have at least a basic understanding that "sh*t happens, get over it", you're going to have a miserable time as an entrepreneur.
Hard times create strength
I've had my fair share of moments where I wondered where my next meal was going to come from, or how I was going to pay the rent that month. My first job paid a measly $6.75 an hour - it was legal to pay that during the first 3 months of employment years before the new minimum wage laws kicked in.
I couldn't afford insurance on a car, so I walked to my job in the snow; the local sex workers waved hello as I passed by. No I never slept with any prostitutes, but a lot of people are shocked when they hear stories of what a rough neighborhood really looks like - including the one morning I had to step over a drunk guy on my way to work because he passed out in the stairwell of my apartment after he pissed himself. Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to downplay homelessness and drug issues. If anything, I'm doing the opposite: I'm telling it like it really is.
The #1 trait most people lack: RESOURCEFULNESS
The moral of this story is that I had to learn how to be resourceful. Because I had to learn how to survive in some pretty rough conditions I also had to learn
- How to manage my money
- How to keep moving when times were rough, and
- I especially had to learn how to maximize what was available to me.
Think about it: if you're an entrepreneur, you're going to fail multiple times unless you're some kind of freak of nature, in which case good for you. Actually, most entrepreneurs are freaks of nature: most of us are working 18 hours a day just so we can try to get more work that will actually pay. There has to be something wrong with anybody who is willing to work just so they can be able to do more work, right?
So you want to learn to be more resourceful? Then the real question to ask yourself is: what are you going to do the next time you find yourself in a situation where your back is against the wall?