Twenty years ago, any time I ran into someone who found out I worked for myself — and from home, no less — I’d hear the “You’re so lucky!” response. This infuriated me, because I certainly didn’t feel lucky. Blessed? Certainly; I’m not one to complain. I was able to stay at home and make money, but the facts of my “lucky break” were more bleak than what was visible from the outside. I’d quit my full time job cold turkey, had $213 in the bank, no money to market and no back up plan. My husband worked as a public school teacher and I’d invested $50 — all I had — to start my business. I had no mentors, no ad budget, no social media and no room for error.
The other hidden realities of my lucky break included working while my growing family slept, typing with one hand while holding a nursing baby in the other, tremendous stress, and using any and all down time to catch up on work. Still, I was doing it. It was, in Daymond John’s words, “the power of broke,” and ironically this humble start allowed me to become very lucky in business.
Here are four ways any woman entrepreneur can get lucky in business, whether she’s just starting out or coasting into the mid-six figures and beyond:
1. Don’t Believe In Luck At All.
The most successful entrepreneurs don’t concern themselves with good — or bad — luck; and focus instead on cause and effect. Driven women entrepreneurs view their goals as “effects” and actively do everything within their power to cause that effect to happen. This responsibility to our goals is empowering.
When you are looking back at your business 5, 10, or 20 years from now, you will not find “one lucky break” that got you where you are. Instead, you will find small, habitual actions that compounded over time to create a business you’re proud to run. It won’t be the “one time” breaks, but the every day habits that mattered most.
2. Wake Up Early.
(Or go to bed late.) While most successful people focus on waking early and creating a productive morning routine, the key really is identifying — and protecting– your most productive hours.
I’ve always been an early to rise entrepreneur, but this was a habit having three kids instilled. If I didn’t wake up and get the most important work done before everyone else was awake, my day would quickly get away from me. Whether you’re a night owl, or an early bird, working for two hours uninterrupted is the equivalent of working for six hours while distracted. So, find your magic time and protect it.
3. Do the Work, Regardless.
When you are the boss, it is tempting to know what needs to be done, but put it off for another day. When we were employees, we would go to work regardless. But too many women entrepreneurs go into #girlboss mode and begin taking their emotional temperature before showing up, putting the work off for any myriad of reasons including being sad, overwhelmed or even… uninspired.
Another benefit of being broke in the beginning stages of my business was that I learned the harder I worked, the luckier I got. I did the work even when I didn’t “feel like it” because I needed to be paid. Even when I got out of those early days when I was hand to mouth financially, my work ethic remained. I show up, every day and do the work I am meant to do. And then, “luckily” the money also shows up.
4. Take Chances and Risk Failing.
There’s a certain risk-aversion keeping women entrepreneurs earning far less than their male counterparts, which can feel very unlucky indeed. The women who show up and swing for fences will definitely strike out more often than those who are constantly playing it safe, but they will hit more home runs as well.
To really get lucky in business, become okay with failure. Make peace with it, because success lives in the land of failure. Failure is just proof that you’re taking new ground and going further than you did yesterday. So, swing hard, fast and often if you want to see your daily habits morph into those big breakthroughs you’re hoping for.
Incorporating these four shifts will help you get luckier by the day!