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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

Why You Really Don't Have to Know Everything

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As entrepreneurs, we oftentimes put pressure on ourselves to know it all and to always be on-point. But, at some point, even heroes need to be saved, and that capital “S” you tout on your chest can intimidate others from being the helpful sidekicks you need.

In other words, being too afraid to show your vulnerabilities can keep you closed off from help you may need to expand your business.

Here are three ways your pride can get in the way of your business success—and how you can let it go to get ahead.

It Will Keep You From Asking the Right Questions

While at a panel discussion, a fellow entrepreneur friend of mine told me that when she asked a basic funding question earlier, the guy sitting next to her said under his breath, “Yeesh, that’s going to make you sound like an idiot—inexperienced—to this group, don’t you think?”

All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t hear him say that, because I would have whipped around and said, “No, that made you sound like an idiot” (and then shot him a death stare). Frankly, asking stupid questions is the point of situations like that. Panel discussions, conferences, or any type of conversation you have with an established business owner are supposed to be an allotted time for your to ask “dumb,” “silly,” and “elementary” questions because, chances are, you’ve already exhausted your Googling abilities and still haven’t found your answer. And since these people have already made the mistakes, learned the lessons, and hopefully found the route to success, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t try and learn from their wisdom. It doesn’t make you look stupid to ask—it makes you look driven and dedicated to making your idea a reality.

Plus, often times these so-called basics need to be customized for your particular business—especially if your startup is a completely new model. That means that you’ll need to ask questions from the pros in your industry in order to piece together the tips and techniques that fit your unique situation. And, in order to do this, you’ll need to check your too-proud-to-ask-aloud attitude at the door.

It Will Keep You From Hiring a Team That Helps You Succeed

When you’re heading up a company, it’s easy to want to feel like you’re the master of everything you do—and that the people you hire are just there to support you and do the work you don’t have time to do. After all, you know your company best, so you’re the one with all the right answers, right?

But the truth is, it’s always best to hire someone better than you. Sure, you may be good at a lot of things, but there’s no way you’re the best at everything (well, there is a way—but it’s a waste of your valuable time).

As a business owner, your time is best spent managing those experts you hire, instead of being a one-woman-show. I used to be the one-woman-show—but very quickly found I was the only thing standing in my way. I didn’t have enough time to approve every little thing, customers were having to wait longer than usual to hear back from me, partners were getting frustrated by delayed timelines—it was bad. One of my fears was that a contractor or intern may lose respect for me if I didn’t have all of the answers or have a clear direction, but by biting the pride bullet and giving some leeway to the people “under” me, they were able to provide counsel and creative visions from a fresh outside perspective and ultimately expand the reach of the site.

The moral of the story is: Don’t let your ego prevent you from hiring the all-star team—and letting them do what they do best. You’re a powerful hitter on your own, sure, but the only way you’re going to get to the World Series is if you form a team of strong players.

It Will Keep You From Getting Support

As a new business owner, it can be really hard to admit you need help, especially when that help isn’t directly related to the success of your business.

Case in point: As a new business owner financing it all myself, I’ve had to significantly cut corners. I’ve moved into a cozy attic, compare prices on the mundane, like deodorant and toothpaste, and will be selling all of my furniture before my lease is up just to avoid moving truck costs (yep, that means clothes in suitcases packed into a cab). And schlepping it like this to get my business off the ground means that, sometimes, I’ve had no option but to ask my friends and family for a little support.

I’m not saying you should go begging for cash. I’m simply saying that my peers have absolutely had to do things like couch surf to save on rent while they got their businesses up and running. I’ve asked friends to follow me around busy NYC streets taking product shots for sponsored posts in the freezing cold and sweltering summer heat. And a good friend of mine has her husband moonlighting as her bookkeeper.

Your loved ones want to see you succeed and usually are willing to do anything they can to help you—because they know you’d do the same for them! You just have to be willing to admit you need it.

What I hope you take from my experience thus far are three reasons why you should put your pride aside and put yourself out there to be judged, tested, and pushed. Most people won’t think any less of you for admitting you can’t do it all—and if anyone does, you’ll have the last laugh when you become wildly successful.

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