By Leah Gonzales, WEV Training Program Manager
Labor Day signals ‘back to school’ for many, and here at WEV we welcomed nearly 100 clients in to the Fall Smart Entrrepreneurial Training (SET) course. Like in many classrooms, the first few weeks are spent setting up expectations and developing trust and rapport between the instructor and students. For WEV’s aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s also a time for introspection, a time to buckle down and ask the hard questions of oneself: “do I really have what it takes?” (Or as Chapter 1 is titled, “Do You Have the Right Stuff?”)
In the first assignment, SET clients take inventory of a host of traits commonly associated with successful entrepreneurs. The key is to answer honestly and unapologetically, recognizing and capitalizing on strengths while learning to ask for help in areas needing improvement. ‘Weaknesses’ truly become weaknesses when we don’t ask for help, or work to improve them.
Chapter two asks clients to visualize and define success for themselves, and learn to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Limited). We ask clients to think strategically about budgeting their resources – both time and money are finite for (most) humans! We’ve filled up our daily lives with activities and their associated costs that are essential to our existence (sleeping, eating, moving) and others that may not be. So, when we want to add in something as remarkable as starting a business, what gets taken out? What changes can be made easily and without much effort, and which changes are sacrifices we’re willing to make to come out on the other side?
This reminds me of a favorite quote by Tom Hanks in the movie, A League of Their Own: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
This remark was made in response to the main character’s assertion, “It just got too hard,” reflecting her internal conflict between doing what she loved and was passionate about (playing baseball in the first women’s professional league), and what was expected of her as a married woman during World War Two. While much has changed for women since that time in history, we can bet those pioneering women needed a potent mix of self-belief and hard skills as much then as women do today.
Starting a successful business is rarely easy. Unlike at the end of an academic semester, final exams are given daily to those running a small business. Grades display as red or black, in numbers rather than letters, with the true test in the standard of living and happiness of the business owner and their employees. Serial entrepreneurs may have many ‘Fs’ for failure, hopefully part of the experience that leads to their most successful venture yet.
WEV works to empower women on the hard, but potentially great, journey of entrepreneurship with the right amount of confidence, hard and soft skills, ability to ask for help, and support system. The clients enrolled in this season’s SET program have committed to this journey. Will you?
Attend an orientation to learn more about how to get started on your path to success with WEV!