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Thought Leadership

Though all first-generation entrepreneurs have unique experiences with their businesses, there are certain elements that will come up no matter what. 

Inspired by Randy Gerber’s first book, “The Integrated Entrepreneur: Achieving Happiness in Relationships, Business & Life”, we will be highlighting the five stages of business success first-generation entrepreneurs go through, with a five-part blog series.

In this first blog of the series, we will feature the first stage of business success: the Intoxicating Stage.

The Intoxicating Stage is the first stage of being an entrepreneur, when everything is new and exciting, and it feels as if nothing can go wrong. Although the Intoxicating Stage is positive and exhilarating, it can also be all-consuming. 

New entrepreneurs put in 80-hour weeks and make sacrifices because they’re so smitten with being independent. 

Know someone in this situation, or feeling this yourself? Follow the tips below to survive this time with finesse and ease. 

Tip 1) Allow yourself to be excited, but don’t burn yourself out. 

At this point in your business’ life, you don’t mind the extra hours. You are motivated, knowing your business will live and die by your own efforts. It’s important to let yourself have this moment, and stay excited. However, many entrepreneurs will burn themselves out on this stage because they are shooting off in so many directions. Be sure to track your energy reserves to avoid burn out. 

Tip 2) Focus on your bottom line. 

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re always thinking three steps ahead of what’s happening in the present. However, too much innovation in the first stages of your business could mean drowning your initial idea before it has a chance to sprout. 

You need to stay financially solvent in order to move onto the next phase of all of this, and shooting off in too many directions can split your energy and cause everything to tumble. Focusing on your first idea, and keeping your next fifteen until later, can help you to make it through this time. Finding financially savvy, focused people to keep you on track can be helpful during this time. 

Tip 3) Avoid the naysayers. 

Not everyone was born to do what you’re doing, and even less people understand why you are taking the risk. 

Naysayers can come in many forms — old coworkers, acquaintance or even someone you’re very tied to emotionally — like your dad, your brother, or your best friend. The important thing is to see these people for what they are, and to limit your exposure to them if possible.

It’s amazing but wholly true—even ONE naysayer can detract from your excitement about your new business and have a negative impact on your drive, focus and business success. Be sure to identify these people in your life, and take their “advice” with a grain of salt. 

Tip 4) Take help when you need it. 

Not everyone is out to get you when it comes to your business, and having a strong support team can be incredibly effective to avoid burning out. Rely on your family, friends and professional contacts, surrounding yourself with people who have “been there done that,” and who can share their experiences with you.

Joining online communities, professional meetups, and accessing information and networking opportunities through your local small business development center can be incredibly helpful to the first-generation entrepreneur. Consider visiting your local bookstore to find guides and stories from business leaders who’ve made it work. Their advice can be crucial, and inspire you for the future. 

Remember, too few people have the gumption to be an entrepreneur. But if you’re reading this blog, you might be one of the few. The journey is difficult, and those who have the courage to pursue their dream, launch their business and thrive are able to build the lives they’ve always imagined. 

Stay tuned for our second part of this blog series about surviving the Trapped Stage of business development! If you’d like to learn more about Randy’s book, order your copy on Amazon

Have you experienced the Intoxication Stage when starting your business? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram!