Success Starts with the Right Attitude

March 19th, 2010 by | Print


While you may think that finding the funds to finance your solopreneur start-up or putting together a fail-proof business plan are your biggest hurdles to success, you’re forgetting the bottom line. Motivational and performance training teacher, Zig Zilgar had it right when he uttered:

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude.”

The inspirations for my posts come from a variety of real-world experiences. A negative Nellie, called Leila, provoked today’s piece.

In my participation with online business forums, I encountered another business newbie in hopes of answers for launching her business. Her dilemma (or so she thought) was lacking the know-how for filling out a business plan template provided by a consultant. She started with a series of questions about the various sections of the plan, but progressed into asking the gen-pop for an investment injection.

While her problems were common, her attitude was not. Various community members offered their advice – giving of their precious time to help for free. This wasn’t good enough for Leila. While some offered simple suggestions, others (two former SCORE counselors, and a couple of qualified business consultants) provided insightful business advice, although bite-sized.

The problem wasn’t the advice or Leila’s lack of knowledge of how to apply it to her situation, it was her responses. While answers often lead to more questions, Leila chose to go on the attack like a hungry snapping turtle. She allowed her frustration and strained finances to get the better of her by biting back with extremely negative statements of “that’s of no help” and giving the right answers “isn’t that hard”.

I find it ironic that Leila believes getting answers (that are SOLELY applicable to her situation, not similar) to her generic questions shouldn’t be that hard, yet she was having such a difficult time with it. Hhhmmmm.

A quick side note – none of the responses to her pleas were shameless spam pitching products. All answers were genuine, and in some cases, spot on.

While you may be reading this thinking, “I don’t behave that way”, consider this: no one launches a business alone. Your attitude will inspire others to assist with your cause or drive them away. While a healthy dose of ego is often an ingredient in the recipe for success, it requires a blending of these other additives:

1. Create a uniquely beneficial focus.

AKA – Unique Value Proposition (UVP). If you’re offering a carbon copy of another company, not only will other entrepreneurs and investors not want to waste their time with it, you’ll likely have a difficult time collecting and keeping customers. If you want to attract successful benefactors to aid in your cause, give them an inspirational idea.

2. Be passionate about your cause.

If you lack passion for your plan, why should anyone else get excited about it? Entrepreneurs and investors love to connect with passionate people who have a specific purpose.

3. Stay humble.

While, yes, some ego is required, so is humility – especially in the start-up phase. Mentors and investors want to feel like they can work with you. And they know more than you do. If you are antagonistic or act like a know-it-all, you’ll be left to do it all on your own.

4. Be grateful.

Attracting helpful entrepreneurs and investors is a sales job. In the beginning, the only compensation you may be able to offer is your gratitude. Genuine gratefulness, combined with the other items mentioned here, goes a long way to launching and growing your business.

5. Give back.

Show that you are worthy of help and support by giving it when and where you can. Generosity attracts generous acts. If you are seeking support from others in online forums, provide the same to others.

Attitude does determine your altitude. Let me give you an example of the anti-Leila.

If you recall, I penned a post back in July about a similarly struggling solopreneur, Angela Logan. While in the midst of financial distress and without a business degree, Angela started selling cakes to keep her family in their home. Soon, others rallied to her cause.

While I haven’t met Angela, I did read a number of articles detailing her story and viewed the videos of her various interviews. Her situation is similar to Leila’s, yet her results thus far have been on opposite ends of the success spectrum.

While I can’t say for certain what will happen with Leila, I hope she learns that her attitude, and not her business plan or finances, is what is keeping her down. A simple change in attitude will make all the difference. Don’t make the same mistake as the disagreeable Leila.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


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