Luisa Zhou, a successful entrepreneur and creator of the famous Employee to Entrepreneur program, gets candid about the hardships she had to face back when her business was still in its infancy.

When Luisa Zhou decided to start her first online business, people in her immediate circle thought she was crazy to risk a secure, high-paying job in order to pursue the “silly dream” of building her own business. Not only did Zhou not have support from her friends and family, but she also didn’t know any established entrepreneurs who she could turn to for guidance or advice.

Significant obstacles in of themselves, these weren’t the only challenges that Zhou faced either. Her own introverted personality and lack of confidence also caused her to continually question her goals and wonder whether or not she was foolishly pursuing a pipe dream.

And last but not least, Zhou also didn’t have the marketing or sales skills that could make or break her new business.

“Lack of knowledge—how to sell, how to market myself, how to connect with potential clients through my writing and write without sounding like a robot (the way we’re taught to do in the corporate world)—was possibly my biggest obstacle,” shares Zhou.

Thankfully, Zhou had one skill that ensured she would succeed. The same skill that all successful entrepreneurs share: Persistence. Zhou refused to let her setbacks get the best of her. Instead, she chose to view them merely as learning opportunities and “pit stops along the path to success.”

Systematically, Zhou addressed and overcame each obstacle:

Her empathetic nature helped her understand why her friends and family weren’t supportive. She knew they loved her and wanted the best for her, and realized that their lack of support was coming from the fact that they themselves didn’t know anyone else who’d succeeded as an entrepreneur. Understanding that, Zhou decided to trust herself and stopped talking to her friends and family about her business until she had more tangible results to share.

Next, Zhou invested in coaches to teach her the skills that she needed to run her business. What’s more, she ensured that she had a strong support system by also hiring mentors who had already built the kind of business that she wanted to build.

And finally, to address her doubts and fears, Zhou turned to books, like Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. This quote from Zhou sums it up nicely: “I’m still a bit shy and introverted to this day! But I made a conscious decision — I knew I could either let my fears be more important than my dreams. Or I could choose to let my dreams be bigger than my fears. And act accordingly.”

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 10, 2020 01:03 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website