My Best Advice for Entrepreneurs: Take Time
Andy Bailey, founder and CEO of Petra Coach, a business-consulting company based in Franklin, Tennessee, sold his first company, NationLink Wireless, in 2011, which he started in college. A member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization since 1997, Bailey offers this advice to entrepreneurs launching new ventures:
“Take time. I committed to not making a big decision during the year after I sold NationLink. I spent the time thinking about what I truly wanted in my life. Do a Ben Franklin—‘want this, don’t want that’—list for your next life, and pay attention to when it’s time to make a decision.”
We sat down with Bailey to learn about the challenges of entrepreneurship. Read the full Q&A below.
Tell me about your business(es) and how it got started.
Petra Coach is a business consulting company that coaches a set of essential organizational habits and alignment strategies, based on the Rockefeller Habits, to keep team members at companies across the country accountable, appreciated, driven and inspired. I launched Petra Coach in 2012, after the successful sale and exit of my previous business, NationLink Wireless—which I started in college and grew into an Inc. 500 organization. I wanted to leverage my wealth of knowledge about what it takes for businesses to be successful, so I began sharing my personal experience as a lifelong entrepreneur.
What challenges did you encounter when first growing your business?
When I started Petra Coach, the first challenge I encountered was the fact that it was just me out there—no one else to lean on. I recount this in my book No Try, Only Do, but it had been 18 years since I went through the startup process. I had forgotten a ton.
For example, I had to do my own billing every day, put stamps on envelopes and send them myself. The simple stuff like that takes time and seemed like it was a significant barrier to me hitting the $1 million revenue qualification to become an EO member.
What personal challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey?
In the early days of my entrepreneurial journey, I hit the same stumbling blocks, the same rookie mistakes that every other entrepreneur encounters. But it didn’t make them any less tough. One example was learning to set aside time for family and friends. It can be tough (and it was) to take steps away from the business and make a plan to improve personal relationships, especially when there are more successes in sight or money to be made. I learned that if you’re not using time as a resource for your personal relationships, you’re only hurting yourself.
What would you say sets your brand apart?
Our unique methodology sets us apart from other business coaches. The principles described in the book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits are our guidelines, and we stick with them because they work—really well. Also, all of our Petra coaches were (and many still are) entrepreneurs, managing their own businesses and side projects. This gives us a unique perspective to say to leaders, “We’ve been there. We know what it takes now to make it through and become better.”
What made you want to move from entrepreneur to business coach?
The short answer is that I didn’t have to move from one to the other. I started Petra Coach as an entrepreneur and am currently acting as both a coach and an entrepreneur, which is a blessing.
The long answer is that the things I loved most in my personal experiences as an entrepreneur weren’t just the business successes when they happened. (Although that was certainly part of it!) I loved helping other entrepreneurs and business leaders adopt the same principles that helped my business become successful.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are transitioning between careers after finding success?
If you’re transitioning, my advice to you is this: Take time.
I committed to not making a big decision during the year after I sold NationLink. I spent the time thinking about what I truly wanted in my life. So, my advice is to do this, and when you have that time set aside, create a plan. In fact, do a Ben Franklin (“want this, don’t want that”) list for your next life, and pay attention to it when it’s time to make a decision.
What’s on the horizon for you?
The horizon is limitless—exciting and nerve-wracking. In addition to building out the coaching practice and Align—our SaaS software business—I’m also investing in more personal activities, running lots of competitive races, writing and speaking, and growing my personal relationships within my family and friend groups. Needless to say, I’m having the time of my life!
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.