Being an entrepreneur is one of the most difficult endeavours out there to pursue. However it is likely the most life-changing and growing experience that anyone can go through as well. Looking at some of the differences between small business owners and being an entrepreneur can shed a little light into the growth.
But that is only the tip of the iceberg of an incredible and life-changing profession.
At the end of the day, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to understand these particular points I’m about to tell you. Over the past years of running this blog, I’ve gotten an understanding of what it takes to become entrepreneurial and I’d like to be a guiding light for you should you walk this path as well.
Here are some of the essentials you need to know to becoming an entrepreneur.
Understand That Entrepreneurs Are All Different
During my research for this article, one thing that I found amongst the top articles on this topic is this: They all point to specific traits, characteristics, or habits that you need to have.
While their intentions are good and the traits mentioned are good ones, it doesn’t necessarily mean if you don’t have them you’ll never become one. Doing a little bit of research can show that.
Take Inc’s 10 Essential Characteristics of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs for example. One of the characteristics is a great skill to have: Future-oriented. Always looking forward towards the future, setting goals, and have immense focus in pursuing them.
This is sound advice, which is under-cut by the fact research shows it’s not the most effective or essential characteristic to have. James Clear published an article on this which came out of his New York Times bestselling book, Atomic Habits. The book argued that while setting those goals was common thinking, he attributed most of his success to the systems he followed instead. He used goals as a way to set a direction.
It’s a slight contradiction all things considered, but to someone who is trying to become an entrepreneur, recognize there can be wiggle room. You can break the rules and still make it in the end.
Be Able To Connect Dots
Creativity. One trait that I agree with that is brought up in these types of articles time and again. I have a bit of a bias in this seeing as I’m a writer, but that’s why I mixed it up a bit. Instead of having pure imagination, I want you to be thinking bigger. I want you to develop the skills necessary to connect dots between two seemingly unrelated ideas, events, or circumstances.
This I think is what sets apart the average person to a true entrepreneur. Reason I think that is that it’s not an easy thing to pull off. But when you got it, some amazing things can happen.
Take the concept of Facebook. While it’s extensive features (Instant messaging, games, advertisements, notes, groups, etc.) are a staple of the platform, those features were revolutionary when the platform launched in 2004 and grew in popularity in the early years.
Facebook was able to connect the dots and present them in a way that no other platform did before and that’s something that we must emulate moving forward. Not necessarily at that magnitude, but being open to bridge ideas and concepts that no one else has tried before. Examples of smaller scale creative spins are Youtube channels like Game Theory, Epic Meal Time, or Cinema Sins which take common topics (i.e. video games, food, and films) and add a creative flare to them.
Being Good With People
The third essential of being an entrepreneur is that you are good with people. From networking to relationship building, these are essentials to being an entrepreneur. You will be setting yourself up for failure if you outright refuse to interact with people. This also applies to having a negative or cynical view of customers and people in general.
At the end of the day you need to accept that you’ll have to talk to people and that you’re going to need good people to support you. This is across every thing that you do as an entrepreneur.
This isn’t to say you need to act like a people pleaser at all times, but rather behave in a way you’re still giving value to others while still getting what you want.
To do this make sure you are doing the following things:
- Speak clearly and with confidence.
- Be able to motivate and inspire both customers and employees alike.
- Speak in a way that’ll get people to listen to you.
- Give your undivided attention to others who are talking to you.
- Be engaging and interested in other peoples lives.
If you show a deep care for people, others will return those sentiments back to you. These are the building blocks to solid relationships that’ll boost your business.
Build On Passion & Interest
Loving what you do. It’s another common theme for entrepreneurs and has sparked plenty of quotes revolving around passion and interest. People still use them religiously and for good reason.
Passion works incredibly well.
But one thing I’d argue about passion is that you can develop a passion for something later on down the road – it doesn’t have to be before you start your business.
For example, I’ve been writing for the past 4 years, but one thing that I always say is I didn’t start my business until two years ago. I have never counted the first two years of my career as me being an entrepreneur or running a business.
The reason I think this way is that I often lacked passion, direction, and clarity compared to my writing today. I focused so much on producing that I didn’t focus so much on taking care of my writing.
My passion for writing started to bloom two years ago when I started to put more care and time into my writing. This is further grown these days thanks to paying for a writing course and even hiring a mentor to help with my writing.
When you’re passionate about something you’ll do more than practice your craft. You’ll look for ways to grow the skill and soak up more information.
Recognize You Need More Than Passion To Move Forward
To expand on my previous point, many people argue being passionate about something works because it’s also a good source of motivation. When you’re passionate you have a purpose. And that purpose leads to motivation.
But one thing most fail to recognize is that we are passionate about many different things. We have more than one interest or passion that we want to follow. I have a passion to be a successful writer. But at the same time, I want to make videos, invest into other people and programs, and have multiple small projects on the run.
The idea that passion can be used as fuel for motivation can be unfounded in those particular scenarios. Instead, what I’d look for is multiple sources of motivations to move you forward.
Here are some motivators to consider:
- Getting a mentor to help you guide through the process. They’ll often bring in questions and suggestions you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of.
- Look for intrinsic motivation. This is motivation based on goals but also a vision in mind. Want a better business? Describe what a better business would be for you and give yourself specific steps.
- Or you can consider deeper self-assessment. Groom And Style created a guide to help you assess yourself. While it’s meant for year-end reflection, there is always an opportunity to pause and reflect.
Whatever the case is, an entrepreneur gets back up and continues growing their business and themselves by finding these motivators. This is a key quality of being an entrepreneur: they are self-motivators.
Being Able To Admit You’re Wrong
Another aspect that most don’t bring up about entrepreneurship is humbleness. Most articles neglect this quality or feel it’s unnecessary. They’ll focus on instructing you to build your character to the point that what you communicate externally is who you are and you don’t need to mention anything.
They call it humility and humbleness, but I think that way of thinking is off as well. While we can turn to many successful entrepreneurs, we don’t see the whole picture. What they stand for doesn’t always vocalize who they really are. On top of that those examples can undermine people who are truly humble, who are there only for the hustle and want to make a living out of this.
I think that true humility and humbleness means you don’t need to make a massive impact to the world at large. Instead, focus on making a difference around your community, your friends, and family.
And part of that humbleness comes to the point I want to make for this point:
Admitting when you are wrong or made a mistake.
This is something big and it’s not covered so much when an entrepreneur becomes successful. Often a successful entrepreneur hides these facts or omits details. We really start to see their failures when they get uncovered or catch glimpses of misconduct. Examples are the scandals surrounding Facebook and even Elon Musk calling a man a pedophile.
I think that humbleness is seeing these problems and taking time to bring them up when it’s appropriate. Yes there will certainly be backlash, however the damage and reputation damage wouldn’t be as severe compared to if you buried the truth.
So have some transparency. You’d be surprised how powerful mentioning your failures and mistakes earlier can do for you.
Keep Going No Matter The Circumstances
Part of the reason I push for transparency and humbleness is that it also helps in the recovery process when you fail. One massive essential for an entrepreneur is being able to keep going despite everything that’s happening.
When it comes to facing failure, it’s learning the lessons from that experience and moving forward. But there is more to it than that as we find motivation in all kinds of things other than reminding ourselves of our purpose or finding more reasons to do things.
Sometimes we find motivation to move forward by digging deeper into ourselves. Or maybe it’s finding a mentor or listening to a video, or finding someone who’s more successful than us and learn a thing or two from them.
But one other side of this others don’t bring up much either is being able to move on past your success. This is a growing problem that not many seem to realize and when you think about it, it makes sense why the answer is so tough.
What should you do when you’ve climbed to the top of your mountain?
Some might say to find another mountain to climb, but you’d be surprised how many successful people dread the idea of that. The last thing a successful individual wants to do is start from the ground all over again.
At least at the very beginning.
Being an entrepreneur is recognizing those hurdles and being able to keep going. As Paul Scolardi explained in a 2015 article in Business Insider, one thing successful entrepreneurs must do is keep working harder, set bigger goals, and remember to stay humble about your successes.
I’d expand on that by taking the time to look at other areas to grow in. There may be people you may be neglecting and they could turn out to be business friends. Or maybe you need to get out and travel and explore the world.
Whether you are failing or succeeding, remember to pause, but never lose that momentum that has brought you so far.
Being An Entrepreneur Takes Grit
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy thing and isn’t as glamorous as others make it out to be. It does get easier the more you do it. But entrepreneurship still finds a way to push you farther and challenge you in ways you never thought. At the same time, it’s growing you and reminding you that you’re not alone in this.
This is a marathon and there are many who will help you along the way. All you need to do is commit to the process and remember these essentials.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon