X

Wax Marketing Blog

Why resilience in business is the key to success

What my first year in college taught me about resilience in business

Note: the photo is NOT me. During my freshman year at USC, I was ill-prepared for how expensive it was to live in Los Angeles. As a doctor’s kid from the Midwest, I thought I was pretty cool but by USC standards I was a dork. My carefully saved spending money was gone in two months for the right shoes, the right bag, etc. It was supposed to last all year. I was about to learn my first big lesson, one that taught me that resilience in business is a key asset.

I called my dad to tell him my woes. All the other kids were getting checks from their parents (we all spent too much, apparently) or in some cases, another credit card. Instead of wiring some cash to my bank account, Dad said,  “Well that’s too bad. I guess you’re going to have to figure it out.”

I was absolutely furious. Mind you, he wasn’t being cruel…my housing and food was paid for and he knew it. Yet as I sat there with the equally pissed-off prince from Abu Dhabi (his dad wouldn’t let him have a jet AND a Porsche…he had to choose) I was learning one of the biggest lessons of my life.  Resilience.

As a small business owner, I’ve nearly gone out of business several times. Resilience in business has been the only thing that’s kept me afloat. (Along with being stubborn.) At one point I had to take a part-time job writing the back covers of books to pay the bills. Another time I started freelance writing for Hooters Magazine. That, actually, was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.

Back to my current story. My dad taught me there is always a way to figure it out, even if it involves some sacrifice. I think entrepreneurs fail because they try one or two things, it doesn’t work, and boom – they’re done. That proverbial “check from Dad” didn’t show up and they had no other options. Never having had to scrap around for it, they simply give up.

Those moments when your business is about to fail (or fails) happen to every entrepreneur.  Instead of quitting, real entrepreneurs learn how to bounce.  In my experience, the harder you hit the pavement, the higher you bounce back. Failing over and over again and getting back up is when all the learning happens. It hurts, don’t get me wrong. But boy, is it way more fun to succeed after you’ve bombed a few times. Resilience in business is what kept me going after the Great Recession. And it keeps me going today.

Getting back to USC, you’re probably wondering what I did  “figure it out.” I got a job as a secretary working for two professors. But I wasn’t their first choice. They called me back after the first person turned them down.

Tags:

13 Comments

  1. Judee @ personal assistant services
    Posted on September 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    When I went to college some of my friends were in for a real shock just like you were, not so much money, but just the fact they couldn’t call mommy and daddy to get their grades raised and had to clean their own room etc. Some of them didn’t learn the lesson you so aptly pointed out and dropped out of school. But the real troopers kept at it and changed for the better.

  2. Ana @ Como Hacer Ensayos
    Posted on September 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I live in a small town and there is a University center about 200km from it. So we all finish high school and enroll there.

    That is the point we move out from our parent’s house and rent a place. The thing is, all the parents freeze the meals for their children and send it to them by bus. A lots of students go home over the weekend to wash their laundry at home.

    But not my parents. They made it very clear to me that if I am old enough to live in a big city, I’m old enough to feed and wash myself. And I did.

    After college, I was the first to get a job and the first to have a good career.

  3. Taaza Finance
    Posted on September 27, 2011 at 4:07 am

    The post is really very interesting and there are many things to learn from your experience. Right guidance at the right time is very important that your dad had done. Further, a persistent hard work for a certain thing or goal is the key to success.

  4. Annie@Massage Nashville TN
    Posted on September 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I remember there was a time in college when I made a meal out of the free crackers and relish at the cafeteria. That happened a few times. Resilience is good!

  5. Beth Graddon-Hodgson
    Posted on September 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Like you, I had the essentials paid for, but the rest was on me. I got one year to float by without a job, and after that it was time to make some money. I worked a heavy part-time schedule while going to school for the remaining years and when I graduated, the rent became my responsibility. While I had friends traveling (on their parents’ dime mostly) after graduation, I got a full-time job.

    In the years I’ve had a small business, there is adaption that is necessary simply to survive. It has yet to happen, but if it came down to it, I would get a part-time retail job to keep things afloat until I built things back up. I think our backgrounds do dictate our resilience. There are those that just won’t ever try to do something that is not “easy” (having a business, vs a salaried, consistent income), there are those that try but throw in the towel during the first struggle, and there are those that put their pride aside and do anything to survive. Those are the ones that are behind some of the most successful businesses in the world.

  6. Glen
    Posted on September 28, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Brings back memories of when i was in a kind of similar situation in college and i worked in the cafeteria for sometime, it was a good experience.

  7. Mia Says :
    Posted on September 28, 2011 at 3:47 am

    This sounds familiar: there are the ones who need to struggle in order to make it and there are other who just have to learn. Well, i think that a good parent is the one that teaches his children as much as possible – and being independent is the most important lesson of all.

  8. New Rugby Shirts
    Posted on October 1, 2011 at 2:04 am

    This is a big reminder not to settle for anything less. We should learn to get the best at all times. Thanks.

  9. Neiman Marcus coupon
    Posted on October 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

    All of our life it is studies and we must study to study and once again study, and in general it is necessary to listen that elders talk

  10. California Free mls Says :
    Posted on October 15, 2011 at 2:26 am

    That’s the best advice a father can give to a son but sometimes some kids do not understand it and try to sort out things the bad way. Glad to know you did the right way. There’s nothing like dignity of labor.

  11. Alyssa William
    Posted on October 20, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Your post reminded me of my days at college, when my other fellows also faced the same time as you did and even i used to sell flowers after college as my parents were unable to afford all my expenses.

    • bonnie Says :
      Posted on October 20, 2011 at 6:15 am

      There’s so much to be learned from having to “figure it out”. I hope this generation has some of those lessons too.

  12. Husnain
    Posted on October 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Nice Share thanks for this post

Leave a Reply to bonnie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

21