You're crazy until you succeed, then, you are genius.Sep 24, 2023
"Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart" is one of my many mantras, but not for the reason some may assume. I vividly recall the anxiety that stemmed from consistently over-performing in my job roles, often to the point of pushing myself beyond the brink of burnout. This was a common occurrence as I had spent my entire career working with startup organizations, frequently being the first in my role. As we scaled, my drive sometimes led to friction with a few supervisors who feared being overshadowed and sought to, in their words, "control the narrative."
While I am grateful for the many leaders within those organizations who later recognized my commitment wasn't a benchmark for future hires, I am particularly thankful for those who swiftly abandoned toxic workplace cultures when I spoke up and/or made my exit. I'd like to give a special shout-out to one leader with whom I started from scratch, building teams from the ground up. He unhesitatingly dismissed his VPS, in-front of me and my team, right after my exit interview and his internal investigation. Considering the impressive resume this VPS utilized to intimidate me on a daily basis, I was taken aback by my founder's bold move. His unwavering commitment to truth, above all else, will forever remain etched in my memory.
My collective experiences, however, spanning from scaling startups to established corporations, instilled in me a deep desire to prove I needed to grow at a pace leading to more burnout than all my previous roles combined. The fear of termination or being silenced pales in comparison to the guilt bootstrapped entrepreneurs face when they realize they've made a poor hiring decision and sacrificed their own earnings to support someone who was either incapable of learning or unwilling to meet the minimum requirements of their role. While MBA classes tailored to entrepreneurship provided some valuable insights, emotional intelligence courses addressing issues like navigating unfounded criticism, performance problems, and the significance of ensuring that the one who works hardest is fed first would have been immensely beneficial. Or more importantly, that territory acquisition of 50 markets versus the 271+ markets I conquered within my first year and change would have been more than adequate to offer myself a well deserved "great job, Maya."
From prospects tearing apart your offerings and wasting precious hours only to internalize them and boast after seeing marginal success, to former employers throwing tantrums following your competitive launch, both online and behind closed doors, resilience is key to survival. Staying resilient 100% of the time, especially right after you launch, is easier said than done though. Tenacity and determination have never been my weaknesses, but, like many successful entrepreneurs I've encountered, detaching oneself from the 'good' opinions and actions of others is challenging but crucial.
Truth always surfaces, in life and in business. If you prioritize your customers and give your all to those who treat you with respect, you can overcome any challenge. For me, the most significant challenge has been my unwavering commitment to the truth, even when it ruffled feathers. After all, what kind of coach would I be if I told you only what you wanted to hear, especially when your performance doesn't align with your age, tenure, or social status?
Do you need lead generation? Someone to convert those leads? Help with client retention? Guidance on optimizing each role for a return on investment? Or perhaps you desire to consult your consultant why your existing methods yield better results despite your reporting? If yes was your answer to the last question, you are signing up for the stadiums, suicides and burpees solo course.
I'm proud to say that RevUp Mastery has a client retention rate of 97.32%. Nevertheless, dealing with individuals who didn't fully embrace our consulting consumed a considerable amount of my time and energy. I empathized with their struggles to adapt, but in retrospect, I should have set firm boundaries or charged hourly rates for repeatedly workshopping the same issues without implementing our recommendations.
Another challenge is the lack of collaboration over competition, especially in the property management industry. Rather than competing vendors focusing on improving their own offerings, slander seems to be a common initial reaction when a new vendor with a similar solution enters the market. Recently, a friend of mine launched a consulting firm similar to mine. My first instinct was to congratulate her publicly and offer her my insights and experiences privately. However, some vendors did not take a congratulatory approach when both of us entered the space which was disheartening but did not distract me from setting the tone for collaboration over competition or focusing on the evolution of RevUp Mastery—versions 1.0, 3.0, 5.0, and now 10.0.
My most recent challenge involved receiving feedback from 40 clients all at once in late-June, indicating that my recently promoted executive consultant had failed to deliver as expected. I scheduled individual meetings with each client and learned just how much I had spent on commissions for engagements that were supposedly completed but were, in reality, a series of one-sided conversations without any return from him despite his ability to delegate to his support team, the largest in our organization at the time. Thankfully, we managed to re-engage and graduate all of them within the original 8-week timeline, under my direct supervision (which explains my blog lapse). However, I was not prepared for the subsequent meltdown, interference with my business resulting in an unwarranted dispute from one client referral he sent to RUM, and his audacious claims of a non-existent equity stake in my company. Even more disappointing was the lack of support from certain industry players who valued political correctness over upholding a moral standard. Fortunately, the ultimate arbiter, truth, stays on my side.
In this blog post, my aim is to underscore the importance of sharing the truth, even when it's daunting. I refer to these experiences as "war and win" stories, and I believe sharing them is crucial to breaking the cycle of misinformation and inspiring others to share their own stories. Stay tuned for my upcoming podcast, Madden Chronicles: It's In The Game, where I will delve into a variety of experiences and invite guests who share similar perspectives on overcoming obstacles and achieving their dreams despite adversity.
Author: Maya Madden