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7 Tips for Surviving 7 Years as an Entrepreneur

Tips for Surviving an Entrepreneur

This morning when I woke up I followed my new normal routine.

I drank a 32-ounce bottle of water with my favorite energy powder added, put on workout clothes, and headed out the door for a 3-mile walk/run. That’s what gives me the energy I need for a good, long work day. Which is what I most often have.

On my walk, I sometimes listen to music, but I mostly listen to podcasts. My mind is flooded with inspiration and ideas that speed up my walk to get home and get to work.

Like nearly every other speaker or business owner of any kind, this year has been a challenge. It started outset to be my best ever. My contract with one of the top five largest school districts in the nation had just been renewed, and my calendar was booked with speaking engagements through November!

Then the world basically shut down in the blink of an eye.

Three months later, and we are dealing with another crisis that impacts me greatly as a black woman, business owner, president of the alumni association for a predominantly white institution, and most importantly- mother to a black son.

Even though everything changed for my business, and I didn’t know how it would make it, did I give up? Nope.

Why? Because…

1. I have an S.O. What! Mindset.

I know that challenges will ALWAYS come, but my attitude and actions will ALWAYS help me overcome them.

2. This is not new.

Today I celebrate seven years since I said goodbye to the stability I had experienced with my great corporate salary. For seven years I have dealt with and overcome business (and personal) challenges and income instability. So although I was excited about how 2020 looked like it was going to be, I was already mentally prepared for it NOT to be.

I have survived major ups and downs (maybe more downs) in my business, but most businesses don’t make it to seven years. Most individuals would have given up.

So if you are an entrepreneur or are thinking about becoming one, I want to offer you 7 Tips on how I have survived the first 7 years as an entrepreneur.

Get a mentor

Find someone, better yet, some people to follow. Look for people doing what you want to do and people who are where you want to be.  I have mentors who will never know me, but I also have people I can call and who call and check on me.

Be Coachable

You’ll lose that mentor who gives you advice that you never take. If you think you have all the answers, skip the mentor and just learn from mistakes. You’ll make mistakes no matter what, but you’ll make more (and costly ones) if you don’t seek and take advice from people who have done what you’re trying to do.

If COVID-19 hasn’t taught us anything, I think we all see a greater need to plan and prepare for the unexpected. In business that’s critical. Think about where you want to be and how you PLAN to get there. And keep in mind the specific issues that can arise and how you’ll deal with them. That mentor can help you think of those issues that you may have no idea to expect.


Besides your mentor, connect with other people. Find people who are where you are in business and trying to grow too. Build relationships with people who have businesses that could use your business, people that you can give business to, and people who have nothing to do with your business because you never know where that relationship might take you. Join LinkedIn and Facebook Groups and professional associations. Get connected and get involved so that people know who you are.

Understand YOUR Business

Do you really know what your business is? What do you or will you offer? What problem are you solving and how are you doing it? Over time your business will evolve as you figure things out, but having a clear initial idea of what your business actually is and how it can make money is critical.

Understand Business

Even with an MBA I sometimes get cross-eyed looking at financials, thinking about taxes, making strategic plans, etc. And as an entrepreneur, you are often the CEE- Chief Executive Everything. Utilize resources like the Small Business Development Center and SCORE to get a better understanding of how to actually run a business and how to get support.

Keep Learning

People who don’t understand entrepreneurship are confused by how much I say I’m working, especially during this pandemic. A lot of my time is spent on developing new programs and enhancing my offerings. However, I am also in a constant state of seeking knowledge and practical information. Webinars, online courses, research tools are all your friends in helping you to KNOW your business and what you should offer and GROW your business by running it more effectively.

Of course, there are many other aspects of surviving and thriving as an entrepreneur that you need to understand. But I believe these basic actions are what have kept me going…even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Want help keeping your business (or even your life) moving forward? Let’s talk!



I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges.  provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.

Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker?  I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.