If you’ve ever asked the question, “What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur?” you might be surprised by how many people agree that soft skills outweigh book smarts. In fact, K. Renee Ward, a marketing entrepreneur wrote Straight Out of Corporate as a guide to not only help people make money at being their own boss but to also help them master their mindset. “My book is the resource I wish I had when transitioning into entrepreneurship,” says Ward. It’s perfect for professionals who need a nudge in the direction of turning their passion and/or personal brand into a paycheck. Check out more of Ward’s ingredients for entrepreneurial success.
Black Enterprise: When it comes to transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, what do you think is the most overlooked and undervalued skill in entrepreneurship?
K. Renee Ward: Believe it or not, resiliency. Sounds weird, but I have seen so many talented people quit because of difficulties. As an entrepreneur, it is important to recover often.
“We fall down, but we get up,” has to be the motto. Typically, seasoned entrepreneurs are willing to share victories more than they’d share failures. We need more stories, especially as black women. It is important to understand that triumph and adversity has a relationship on the path to entrepreneurship. Once you accept that, you can roll with the punches.
BE: What’s “the one thing” you wish you had known before starting your own business?
KRW: I wish I had known or recognized that money is not the only solution to all your problems as an entrepreneur. For example, sometimes, you can have money, but the wrong vendor. You could have money, but not enough time or the right team. It’s important to always look at the big picture.
BE: Everyone has a “secret sauce” that has defined his or her success. What
are your key ingredients for building a successful business?
KRW: My secret sauce has always been having an authentic personal brand. It has been said time and time again, “people buy you.” They resonate with stories and transparency, not with just products, that’s why marketing trends have moved to more storytelling.
Another component for me has been remaining consistent. Businesses that consistently produce quality content will continue to win the hearts and minds of customers in
the global marketplace.