How to Embrace Uncertainty: 1 Thing Successful Entrepreneurs Know

How to Embrace Uncertainty: 1 Thing Successful Entrepreneurs Know

How to Embrace Uncertainty: 1 Thing Successful Entrepreneurs Know

By | Mindset and Motivation, My Journey | 0 Comments

Recently I shared the story of how my dad’s company was forced to shut its doors.  (click here if you missed that post)

At the time, it was really devastating to me.  After all, I was planning on working full time in the family business after college graduation, which was now only a semester away!  I had to refocus, and fast.

To Find Plan B, I had to Embrace Uncertainty

I was majoring in finance because initially I had thought it would be cool to be an equity analyst.  So once my Dad’s construction business was no longer an option, I figured I fall back on my original plan.

One company here in St. Louis that has a big recruiting presence is Edward Jones.  Naturally, I thought working for them would be a great fit.  So while I considered some other companies, Edward Jones was the one I was really set on.

With just a couple months before graduation, I got the Edward Jones interview….and completely flopped. I like to think it’s because they saw too much “entrepreneur” in me, but for whatever reason, I didn’t even get past that first interview.

plan bMeanwhile, I kept looking for my Plan C.  One day late in the semester, I saw an ad in the newspaper for a finance job with a company called Boa Construction.  Construction and finance.  It sounded perfect.

I printed up my resume, packed it in an envelope, mailed it in to the address on the job ad (yes, these were the days when people read the newspaper for job opportunities and you snail mailed your resume), and crossed my fingers.

After just one interview, I was offered the position. I started working for Boa Construction in January 2004.

Boa was a company doing about $5 mm in revenue, with two divisions. One was Boa Construction, a custom homebuilder and remodeling firm. The other side of the company was Architectural Millwork of St. Louis, a cabinet and millwork manufacturer.

They hired me to be the finance guy, but anyone fresh out of college knows, you know NOTHING once it comes to actually applying your knowledge to real life.

And in a busy small company like Boa, no one has time to sit and teach you what you said you could already do in your interview.  The degree may have gotten me the job, but I was going to have to figure out how to actually DO the job on my own.

Embrace Uncertainty, Before You Can “Figuring it Out”

After trial and error, I eventually was able to “figure it out” well enough to become the CFO and play a key part in taking the company from $5 to $23 million in annual revenue over 4 years.

Having the courage to embrace uncertainty and adapt to the situation is one of the single most important qualities that you can have, whether you are running a business, working in a marketing department, or part of a sales team.

There is very little room for people who need their hands held.  Competition is too fierce, and ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’.

If you really want to up-level your personal skills, achieve big and bold business goals, and really, seriously get to the next level…then you have to embrace uncertainty.

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People that email me with simple questions like “how do I leave a LinkedIn group” … are showing me they lack the right mentality.

Embrace uncertainty. Just figure it out. When you run a business, there is no other way.

These days, figuring it out is much easier.  There are tons of people out there who have gone through what you’re going through, have done the trial and error, and who have put the possible solution out there for you to use (often times for free).

Want to know what books I’ve learned from in my Journey to Entrepreneurship? Check out this Pinterest Board.

But it still requires effort.  You still have to actually implement the ideas, measure the effects, make tweaks, and discover what works for YOUR business.  There is still plenty of “figuring it out” you need to do on your own.

What Came After the Day I Embraced Uncertainty?

When I was with Boa Construction, we tried a LOT of new ideas and initiatives. I have soooo many awesome stories to share with you about brilliant strategies that created a lot of success for that company, as well as some failures too.

Probably one of the most unique things about Boa, was that we had a real, tangible differentiator that set us apart from the competition…and catapulted our revenue from $5 to $23 million over a few years.

Next time, I’ll share with you exactly what that KILLER differentiator was.

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