It was a story you’ve heard before. I was miserable in my job. My mood matched the gloomy rainy day in March. My job was boring. My new boss was a jerk. My family tugged at my heart while I worked long hours.
My mom took me aside and said, “What are you doing and why are you doing it?” Leave it to Mom to ask the question other people thought but did not say.
The alternatives were a choice between more of the miserable same and a big risky wide open space of something I might create. Throwing my usual caution to the wind, I decided to start my own business, The Interview Doctor.
We launch ourselves into new adventures every day: in life, in businesses, in love. Every corner we turn is another opportunity to launch ourselves. Every launch is a risk.
Hard to believe but 2015 marks our 10th years of career matchmaking with The Interview Doctor!
We only now view ourselves as almost getting to be successful. But we hung in there for 10 years trying to figure out how to assemble the pieces to become almost sort of successful.
As we celebrate 10 years of career matchmaking, let’s take a moment to consider what it takes to make a start-up successful.
Ilya Pozin offers some suggestions in his Forbes article, “Startup Founders: 6 Secrets for Success” based on an interview with Richard Price, the 33 year old founder and CEO of Academia. Consider how you can apply these ideas to your life, whether you start a business or not.
Choose an idea you think is important. At The Interview Doctor we want to help candidates and companies make a better career match. This idea motivates us every single day. We think this is a noble goal, that we can make an important contribution to business. That motivation makes it possible to work hour after hour, day after day for years even when it felt like we were pushing a string uphill as my mother used to say.
Write your idea down and make it public. Price says articulate your mission and why it is important so everyone understands. After all, a written goal is more likely to be achieved. We wrote our mission on our website and in blogs regularly. We repeat our mission often so everyone who encounters us understands.
Focus on growth. Be disciplined about growth. Study successful companies. Know your industry and learn from those who went before you. We set specific measurable growth goals then figure out how to make them happen.
Learn from others, but retain a strong independent vision. Incorporate what you learn into your own point of view. We observe other career coaches and read everything we can get our hands on about our field but we translate those views into our own unique understanding. We wrote three books on job search and interviewing based on our own views – a reflection of our independent vision.
Simplicity. My coach says “niches are riches”. You don’t have to solve world hunger to create a successful business. Just have a simple idea that can be implemented simply to solve a specific problem. We had to correct our course several times when we spread ourselves too wide. From this experience we learned to keep our advice simple, our business platform simple so we can laser focus on our mission.
Tenacity and Determination. Starting a business is harder than I can even describe. Not much happens for a long time. If you think of the analogy of duck, those feet were paddling really hard but the duck did not move in the water. It took years to get even a little result. We made many mistakes – still making them. But we refuse to give up. We believe what we are doing is important and we will not give up.