Courage – Essential Elements of Successful Entrepreneurship


I’m sure you’ve heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but going ahead anyway, despite the fear. Anyone who has ever had to face a fear head on, like bungy jumping with a terror of heights or caving with claustrophobia, knows the amazing sense of achievement that comes when the fear has been tackled and overcome.

A first time business start-up needs this same courage to break out of old ways and take the calculated risk of going for the dream. The rewards certainly make up for the risks, but it doesn’t make it easy in the early days when bills are piling up and making enough to pay them is a challenge. The most frightening part is probably the initial decision. However, with every big milestone in business, there will be new challenges and courage will have to be exercised again.

Here are a few moments of courage that will be needed as you start your new venture.

  • Courage to turn your back on the security of a job
  • Courage to walk a different path to start your own business
  • Courage to follow your own convictions
  • Courage to stand your ground against those who challenge you
  • Courage to step into unknown territory
  • Courage to follow your instincts

The problem is where do we find the courage for all of this? The following are some simple tips to help build courage.

  • Start with small steps
  • Acknowledge your fears
  • Be willing to fail
  • Don’t focus on anxiety
  • Don’t give up
  • Just do something every day
  • Revisit your vision frequently
  • Manage your stress through exercise, breathing techniques, meditation or whatever helps you best

Courage grows with use. The more we use courage, the easier it becomes. It is much like exercise – difficult initially, but it improves with practice. So, there is nothing else to do but to simply do whatever you keep putting off.


By Karen Lancaster

Drive and Determination – Essential Elements of Successful Entrepreneurship

drive and determination

I recently read the story of the son of a horse trainer who worked at stables and ranches. At school the boy was asked to write about what he wanted to be when he grew up. Without hesitation, he wrote a seven-page paper about his dream of owning a horse ranch, including many details, the location of buildings and stables and even a house plan.

He received his paper back with an “F” on the front. When he asked the teacher why, he was told that his dreams were unrealistic as he had no money or resources. The teacher offered him a rewrite with a more realistic goal.

The boy asked his father’s advice who encouraged him to think carefully and to make his own decision.

After a few days the boy gave the paper to his teacher with no amendments. He respectfully told the teacher to keep the “F” and he would keep his dream.

Years later as an adult, he now owns a huge house in the middle of 200-acre horse ranch. He still has the school paper, which is framed over the fireplace.

We can have all of the passion and self-belief in the world, but without drive and determination, we will not achieve our goals. Passion motivates us, self-belief gives us the courage, but drive and determination gets the job done.

Drive and determination, which are fundamental to success, start with desire. We need aspirations. We need to want to get somewhere. Sit down and think about the goals for our new businesses. What are our dreams for the future of the venture. Where do we want to go? How do we want our enterprise to operate? How much do we want to expand? What are our personal aspirations that the business can facilitate? What social causes do we want to empower?

Once, we have an idea of where we are headed, we need to go for it with single minded pursuit. We need to have the attitude of “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. No matter what confronts us, we need to push through and allow the drive to kick in, always remembering why we are doing this.

We will quickly discover that nothing goes according to plan and we need to overcome challenges and obstacles much of the time. Generally, there are more setbacks than successes and without determination, we will quickly flounder and give up. Drive and determination is what will get us through all of the hard times. Think of the many different movies, like “The Pursuit of Happiness”, that have illustrated this. It has been said that most successful businesses founders failed seven times before they found success. Disney, Einstein and many others were considered foolish before they found success.   

 So, examine your desires and fuel your drive. I’d love to hear some of your success stories.


By Karen Lancaster

Network Explosion

Network Explosion

Please excuse the interruption of our weekly look at Elements of Successful Entrepreneurship, however I have some exciting news to share regarding business matters.

As many of you know, I launched out in business in April last year after years of working for others and teamed up with Gill Bates to form Bates Lancaster Consulting. A few months later, Gill was headhunted and could not refuse the offer and I found myself continuing alone. It caused me to focus on the skills that I was offering and fine-tune the future of the business, however the name no longer made any sense. I narrowed down the offering to networking services, both online and face to face (F2F) and so the name Network Explosion was birthed.

The website should be live any day now and Network Explosion is already live on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Please feel free to interact on any or all of those platforms. With this in mind, I will be phasing out the Bates Lancaster Consulting blog over the next few months. However this blog, which is my personal blog, will continue as normal.

I am very excited about what 2014 has to offer and I look forward to meeting, working and collaborating with many of you.

Here’s to a marvellous year!

By Karen Lancaster

Self-Belief – An Element for Successful Entrepreneurship

Karen Lancaster Blog

If you don’t believe in something, then you will never persuade someone else to believe in it. If you don’t believe in the potential of your business, how do you expect anyone else to see it? If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will believe in you?

Self-belief is another element of successful entrepreneurship. It goes beyond confidence. Confidence is attractive, but self-belief engenders trust.

The enemy of self-belief is self-doubt, which is the most debilitating characteristic. I started the year with a new mantra – “Banish self-doubt.” All of us experience self-doubt from time to time, but we need to actively walk away from it and not entertain it in our thoughts. We need to surround ourselves with positive, supportive people and believe them when they highlight our strengths.

Self belief and confidence can be built up by increasing your knowledge in your field and by practice. Think of any new skill, such as learning to cycle. Initially, you feel afraid and insecure, but the more you learn how to do it and practice, the more confident you become, until you are doing wheelies down the road.

So take these tips to build your self-belief.

  • Build faith in your skills through knowledge and practice
  • Develop an “I can” attitude by trying new challenging activities on a regular basis
  • Do the things that you are passionate about
  • Develop your vision and work step by step towards it
  • Just do it
  • Acknowledge each small achievement
  • Celebrate each achievement
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Keep developing yourself
  • Enjoy yourself


By Karen Lancaster

Passion – An Element for Successful Entrepreneurship

Karen Lancaster Blog

Passion. A word that immediately evokes feelings of intense desire. Sets a person on fire. Passion is seen in romance, the arts and business. How can we use the passion we have as entrepreneurs to our best advantage?

  • Passion causes enthusiasm, which makes work so much more enjoyable and is contagious in the workplace,
  • Passion is the drive that pushes us onward during setbacks,
  • Passion gives us confidence to trust ourselves,
  • Passion inspires others,
  • Passion allows us to have the single minded pursuit that is necessary in business,
  • Passion needs to be mingled with determination and aspiration,
  • Passion needs a strong work ethic,
  • Passion and perseverance go a long way.

Obviously passion alone is not sufficient, but passion together with the 11 other elements that will be looked at over the next few months are a surefire way to reach the business goals that you have set for yourself.

How does passion help you?


By Karen Lancaster

Digital Media Coach, Social Media Marketing

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