Turning the Corner

At a tweetup in NYC this week, I had the joy of talking to a fellow entrepreneur about how her business had finally turned the corner and begun to really take off. She and I had talked late last year and she was right on that borderline at the 3-year mark – “will this make it? Or do I need to get another job?” I knew she both needed and wanted to make it on her own.

Five years into my business adventure, I’ve been right on the edge of that bubble, too – more than once. Really wondering if this Impactiviti/Connection Agent business was going to fly. Now, as more and more business comes through the accumulated time and effort of network-building, it’s amazing to look at that corner – in the rear-view mirror!

My mission is to help entrepreneurs. And one of the biggest difficulties we all face is getting to, and around, that corner of steady work and profitability. Have you gotten there? Can you give hope to others by sharing your success, and perhaps a vital lesson or two you learned getting there? You could do so in the comments; but even better, perhaps – write it up on your blog, send me the link, and I’ll post it here.

It can be a lonely path. Let’s help kindle the hope and confidence of our fellow entrepreneurs, in the best way we can. There’s nothing better than a success story!

UPDATE: Here is a great video story from Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive

Great perspective here from Anthony Iannarino, on the role of client acquisition in turning the corner.


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

19 Responses to Turning the Corner

  1. Hi Steve. First, congrats on turning your corner! Now that I’m on my own after a 28-year career in the corporate world, I can tell you that nothing takes the place of hard work and persistence, mixed with a liberal dose of fearlessness. I’ve learned more in the last 7 months than I did in the last 7 years about turning corners! Alas, I’m not “there” just yet, but I know I will eventually get there. I’ll just keep workin’ it….. 🙂

    All the best,

  2. Wonderful topic Steve! One that pulls at my heartstrings.

    I’ve been doing my own thing for about 13 years now and have to say that it is a rough road. Or more specifically, a rollercoaster of emotions. Successes follow failures that follow successes. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Entrepreneurs are a breed all their own. We live by a different beat because we know there is a greater good for us. That we can change the world.

    But with that said, nothing is easy. Those who think going into business for themselves is to escape the everyday perils of working for a living are horribly mistaken. Filling an LLC and printing a business card does not allow you to retire. However, finding your passion, discovering a problem within that passion, and solving that problem is a formula for success, world changing efforts, and a lifetime of happiness.

    I live by this quote: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years like most people won’t, so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t”

    Good luck to all entrepreneurs out there reading this, You are changing the world.


    ps. I don’t mean to link drop but thought I’d share with you my story of creating my business at the age of 12: http://www.bradleygauthier.com/blog/how-i-created-a-successful-business-at-the-age-of-12

    • Your comment, Bradley, is worth any effort I put out in writing the post. “finding your passion, discovering a problem within that passion, and solving that problem is a formula for success, world changing efforts, and a lifetime of happiness.” – that’s perfect!

  3. Steve – You continue to inspire me! I love the idea of writing a post on this. I feel like, yes, I’ve turned the corner as I approach my 2nd anniversary of hanging my shingle. BUT…I also keep that feeling of “what’s next” close to my heart. It’s easy to get comfortable and think that stable is stable, but I believe the last few years has taught us that stable is still moment-by-moment. Part of the rush of entrepreneurship is the not-knowing-what’s-next every day. Inspiration, for me, is part of challenging myself to figure it out. You rock, Steve! The world is a better place with you (and your business) in it.

  4. Steve as you requested here is my 15 year story of entreprenurial adventures in Cliff Note form. My hope is that people realize it isn’t magic, it is hard work and persistence. This story will either make you or break you from entering self employment. The good, the bad and the ugly.

  5. Love the title of that blog post: “A Fifteen Year Overnight Success.” Just had that conversation over breakfast with a client/friend this morning. There’s a lot of laying down track before the train comes in!

  6. I think I turn a corner on a daily basis – every day is a new challenge, and a new chance for me to really feel like I am doing the right thing being on my own. I have definitely faced the demon of “should I go back to the corporate world”, but I have vanquished it each time by proving I can do it! 🙂

  7. My Brother,

    I can’t tell you how many people I know that have great technical expertise but never turn the corner. One of the primary challenges is believing that their skill and their expertise is what will allow them to succeed. It won’t. And it doesn’t.

    The name of the game in business is acquiring customers.

    It isn’t enough to endure. It isn’t enough to stay the course. And it isn’t enough to persevere. In my experience, the answer is a mind shift. The vital shift is to finally understand, accept, and act upon the idea that your primary role is sales and client-getting, not whatever your technical expertise is.

    You turn the corner when, and only when, you acquire enough clients or customers to turn the corner–and keep them!

    At least that’s my experience.


  8. I got lucky the first time around. Seriously. I was doing fine by year 2 and continued to do well or “relatively well” (considering the economy) for the first business. But now I’m onto the next venture, and I seriously don’t know where I’m heading half the time. The other half of the time I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. The 15 year overnight success — that is such a comforting headline that I think I’ll chant it as a mantra!

    • Jane, you are blessed with a VERY fertile and analytical mind. When you land on your next focus and start digging in with vigor, not much is going to remain in your way!

  9. Tom Martin says:


    I think I see that corner every month… sometimes I turn it, sometimes it slips away like someone stomped on the brake. Guess it’s part of the adventure… scary part but truth be told, it’s the drug that draws us all to entrepreneurship, no?


  10. Jeanne Male says:

    Hi Steve,

    Love your post and Bradley and Ellen’s stories, too! It feels great to know that we’re not alone. On July 7th, I’ll start my 15th year in my own business which is evidence enough that there are plenty of good, bad, and ugly stories and learnings to share.

    I would love to write a post as you’ve suggested but like Jane, I’m stretched too thin with multiple interests: I’m launching a series on engagement on the EmpHigher blog, developing proposals, overcommitted to volunteer work; chairing a global leadership content committee and writing for another. These while falling behind on posts for my hobby/personal service, the JobLife Architect’s blog.

    If anything, it’s clear that I need to “pick a lane” but I’m a learning and service junkie which isn’t good for business because it dilutes my brand and takes time away from revenue generation. The flipside it that it fulfills my need for personal and spiritual growth which ultimately serves clients well by providing them with the ability to bring years of research and experience with fresh perspectives and methods for connecting the dots and creating change. Regardless of the benefits, I still think that I could use an intervention or mastermind group to help me align purpose and stay focused.

    You summed it up when you said, “Hey, all I want is the adventure and a steady cash flow” – For me, that…and not having to work with jerks is why I pay Uncle Sam the big bucks.

    As usual, thanks for making me think!

    P.S. So who’s in on the mastermind group?

    • One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur, and turning the corner – you can then implement at “No Jerks” rule. Something employees in a company can never enforce!

  11. Pingback: How Businesses Fail. A Note to Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, and Consultants — S. Anthony Iannarino

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