Before we dig into the finer points of how to become an entrepreneur, let’s get a little philosophical.
What really makes an entrepreneur?
For starters, they’re not just chasing money. While many pursue entrepreneurship to be more financially comfortable, there’s frankly no guarantee you’ll ever get rich.
In fact, many entrepreneurs go years without paying themselves a salary, let alone a big one.
If money is your only motivation, you’re better off with a lofty desk job and a good savings plan.
To be a ‘real’ entrepreneur, you’ll need a lot more fuel than the desire to have more cash. We’ll get into this a bit more in my subsequent blog posts, where we help figure out your entrepreneurial skills and your ‘why’ behind your motivation.
For now, let’s look closer at some of the most common traits of an entrepreneur.
Last Friday Catch: Who is an entrepreneur?
I don’t mean to shock you, but it takes a lot of work to build a business from scratch. You have to be driven, passionate, and determined.
You need to be a self- starter. To have a reason to wake up at the crack of dawn. And to stay up… until the crack of dawn.
In all reality, your business choice might not even require you to burn the midnight oil or have periods of extreme stress or exhaustion.
But you should be willing to endure these challenges to achieve your vision, if that’s what it comes down to.
When you’re your own boss, there’s no one breathing down your neck to make sure you’re cruising through your to-do list.
You might be thinking, “Well, yeah… that’s the whole point.”
But what’s obvious in theory isn’t always that way in reality.
When given the time and freedom to do as they choose, many will struggle – like, really struggle – with staying on course and being able to efficiently juggle all the moving parts.
That’s why you can find a million resources, consultants, and coaches on topics like time management and ‘self-help’ for entrepreneurs.
The resourceful entrepreneur doesn’t just wait around for new knowledge and opportunities to come up. They’re constantly seeking them.
They’re watching their surroundings, asking questions, and absorbing everything they can – then viewing it all through the filter of ‘how can I apply this?’
This is one of the core qualities of an effective entrepreneur.
They don’t shy away from their obstacles and challenges. Instead, they’re constantly looking for new approaches and perspectives for solving them.
For small businesses, a shining example of this is the never-ending quest to operate at low costs.
Consider Justin Gold of Justin’s nut butter company. When it was time to scale-up and leave his home kitchen, he couldn’t afford a $50,000 industrial peanut butter mill.
Instead, he bought several older, cheaper ones and used them together.
On top of saving money, the end result created truly unique nut butters that his competitors couldn’t mimic.
Resilience goes hand-in-hand with resourcefulness and drive. While the hamster wheel in your brain is turning furiously (drive) to solve new problems and optimize your decisions (resourcefulness), you should be prepared to handle when things go wrong (resilience).
And trust me, things will go wrong.
Tim Kock, dropshipping entrepreneur who’s made more than a million in revenue across his stores, says that you’ve got to prepare for the winter.
For me, being an entrepreneur means being able to deal with ‘winter’ and ‘summer.’ Sometimes, everything seems to work perfectly and other times nothing seems to work at all.
In summer, you have to prepare for the upcoming winter. In winter, however, you have to fight through with the confidence that summer will come. Just like in nature, summer and winter will always rotate.
When you encounter a roadblock, you’ll need to find an alternate route around it. Resilience is falling and getting right back up to try something else.
Consider the quote from Thomas Edison (you know… the guy who invented the lightbulb):
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
And did you know that Walt Disney (you know… the guy who created Mickey Mouse) was fired from his first newspaper cartoonist job in 1919?
His editor said that he didn’t have any good ideas and lacked imagination.
Just a reminder: Disney World has been dubbed ‘the most magical place on Earth.’ How’s that for bad ideas and no imagination?
I could fill this entire blog post with examples of entrepreneurs who failed before they made it big, but you get the point. Keep your head up!
It’s one thing to have an amazing vision and relentlessly pursue the process of bringing it to life. It’s another thing to convince people that your vision is legit.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re opening, startup entrepreneurship requires buy-in from all kinds of people and entities like employees, customers, vendors, and investors.
Your business – and every business in the history of mankind – relies on the fact that other people believed in the founder’s mission and supported it in some way.
Sure, you can just hire salespeople down the line. But starting out, it’s all you.
You’ve probably heard about the incredible disaster that was the Fyre Festival in 2018. It was sold as the luxury music festival of the century, but failed to deliver in basically every possible way.
So how did the founder, Billy McFarland, manage to defraud investors, employees and hopeful festival-goers out of millions of dollars?
He’s persuasive as hell.
Granted, some might argue that he’s also a delusional sociopath… but the takeaway here is that your attitude and your ability to rally the masses can get you almost literally anywhere you want to go. Just don’t lie to people, okay? Glad we had this talk.
This is a big one. While some (like Billy McFarland) might argue that this isn’t really one of the characteristics required of an entrepreneur, empathy is an incredibly powerful way to understand the people you’re serving with your business and your efforts as a whole.
When you can understand their struggles, motivations, needs, and wishes, you’re better equipped to deliver on those things.
It’s also a trait of many of the world’s best leaders. This is important especially if you’re going to be managing a team.
Empathy is like a channel that keeps you connected. It helps you to communicate and share your vision with them, and to be supportive and understanding through leadership instead of just being some jerk who just barks orders all day.
This leads to people genuinely wanting to work with and for you. And everyone knows that happy employees are the best employees.
Are you cut out for it?
As you set forth to ask yourself the critical questions for getting started, it would probably help to have a tangible list to see if your motivations, ideals, and goals are in alignment.
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More update is coming next Friday. Remember to check back. Holaaaaaaa!