Like all entrepreneurs, C.E. Okwera has always had a keen eye for opportunities. It was this sense of opportunity that led her to founding her consultancy, the Profyle Group, when she saw an opening in the market for external project management support within the financial sector. This same ‘sixth sense’ for what sells, combined with a drive to capitalise upon any given situation, led her this year to becoming a bestselling author not despite, but thanks to lockdown.
Here she reveals her five key tips to developing an entrepreneurial mindset and getting that long-held ambition off the ground.
By C.E. Okwera
1. BE RESILIENT
Take adversity as challenges that you can overcome and successfully resolve. Naturally, as an entrepreneur, you will be innovative and want to try new things which come with risks. Mistakes will be made and there will be bumps in the road. But rather than try to avoid the bumps, you must face them and overcome them because each time you succeed; you build your knowledge, expertise and confidence. The more you face your challenges, the more you will begin to view them as opportunities.
When I lost my consultancy contract at the beginning of lockdown, I was disappointed and nervous. Like everyone else, I had not prepared for a pandemic that would shut the world down. However, as I scrolled through my laptop I saw my folder of unpublished books. At that moment I knew that I would tackle my time in lockdown by completing my mystery thriller series and publish them. This would not only ease my anxiety but could also provide escapism for others. I completed the series and published the first book with no expectations of releasing all four books so soon. The response to the first book, ‘Mr Davies’, was overwhelming. So much so that I created a book club to speak to my readers who were more than passionate about the plot twist at the end. The readers’ continuous requests for the next books motivated me to edit and publish the whole series, which led to me becoming a bestselling author. I say all this to encourage you to embrace your challenges. As the say, “Sometimes things have to go wrong in order to go right”.
2. BE INNOVATIVE
I believe an entrepreneurial mindset is driven by an urge to change things for the better. Whether it is just by streamlining a process or developing a new method of space travel, you must be brave enough to show the world something new. This includes being brave enough to show the world your talents and helping people to feel or discover something new.
I initially had imposter syndrome calling myself an author, but the positive reviews and feedback built my confidence to continue to showcase my storytelling skills. I also accumulated readers through word of mouth rapidly because I reengineered the books so that readers can be whisked away, drawn into the story and given an ending within an hour. I also made the books lightweight and portable so that they could be taken to read in lockdown shop queues.
3. BE FOCUSED
Focus for me is being able to compartmentalise. I have four strands to the Profyle Group business and I do not pretend that I can do all things at once. I have learnt to focus on one task, one client, or one book, at a time. By doing this I alleviate the anxiety of having so many things on my plate.
At the beginning of the month, I set a deadline for each project that needs to be completed and then prioritise them. After prioritising and assigning deadlines to each of my projects, I am then able to focus on a singular project with the required amount of time and, most importantly, commit to completing it.
By compartmentalising aspects of your life, you will feel enthused each time you cross a task off your to-do list. Each achievement will, in turn, spur you on to begin your next project.
4. BE PASSIONATE
Whatever it is you choose to do, you must feel passion for it. It has to be something that makes you smile when you get out of bed.
While completing series one of my mystery thrillers, I opened my laptop each morning of lockdown with a smile! Through the whole process, I was excited: excited to write, excited to design, excited to publish, and excited for the reader's reactions. Perhaps your emotion may not be excitement; maybe you will feel a sense of accomplishment or feel driven. Either way, you must feel positive emotions for the innovative work you do.
It is your passion that will push you through adversity and challenges, your passion will strengthen you and keep you committed to your entrepreneurial vision.
5. BE INSPIRED
As well as inspiring others, you also must have new life breathed into you. Continue to learn and experience new things. This will not only keep you stimulated but will help you to be innovative.
Through continuous learning and development of your knowledge you will be able to think outside of the box, see new viewpoints, and broaden your entrepreneurial mindset.
Being an entrepreneur is not just about you bringing continuous improvement to the way things are done; it's also about continuous improvement of yourself. Improving your ways of working, your attitude to failure, your knowledge, and your skill set. You can do this by reading books, watching motivational speakers online, or listening to podcasts. As busy as you may be juggling many tasks, you must find time to invest in the most powerful weapon in your arsenal - your mind.
C.E. Okwera is the founder of The Profyle Group and Profyle Publishing. Her first series of thrillers comprise Mr Davies, 1A Penn Road: Be Careful Who You Let In, Jay Deux: One Wedding And A Memorial, and The Gentleman: Unravelling Of A Mastermind. They are all available on Amazon, priced £7.50 in paperback and £4.75 as eBooks.
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