Becoming an entrepreneur is no mean feat, despite what is being projected to us on social media. This article is all about enabling entrepreneurs and expertise-business owners to maximize their business’s performance & potential and be more confident & compromise less on their journey to greatness.
Firstly, let us define entrepreneurs
Who do we call entrepreneurs? What are our perceptions of them?
An entrepreneur is someone who runs a business or businesses to generate profit—simple definition enough. Many run a business but cannot be called entrepreneurs, though.
Let me give you an example. Some consultants are freelancers yet run businesses but work in a similar setting as employees, even though with differences in how they manage their work delivery.
An entrepreneur generates profit by selling products or services, not their time, or through investments.
The locus of control
For sure, entrepreneurs need to have an internal locus of control, which means they believe that they greatly influence how their lives evolve.
They need to be comfortable taking risks, being independent thinkers, and establishing rapport with a wide range of people.
Entrepreneurs are innovative and should be able to recognize business opportunities. With an entrepreneurial mindset, you often need to make quick decisions and take responsibility for the consequences.
You are on a continuous journey of improving your skills, learning and moving on from your mistakes, and acquiring new skills as you go along on your business journey.
In some sense, it is similar to anyone working as an employee, although the level of risk-taking and the combination of the traits and skills I mentioned will be different; because the challenges are different.
Overnight successes and the reality
These traits and characteristics are usually not visible when ‘overnight successes’ appear. If you believe that overnight success is realistic.
Typically, you don’t see what may have gone on in the background: the struggle, the sleepless nights, and the vast amount of work that, eventually, resulted in success.
The image of a duck comes to mind: you don’t see their little feet work frantically underwater as they glide forward on the surface, seemingly effortlessly.
If you haven’t been in business before, the things you have heard made you form a picture in your mind of what it could be like to be your own boss. This idea may be missing the crucial transition process and the experiences you need to become an entrepreneur.
Unless you were born into a family of entrepreneurs, you have to learn how to be one. I am not talking about reading a few popular books. Sure, books help a lot. At the same time, you have to work on yourself, and that transformation or transition will last for years … guaranteed until you become that entrepreneur version of yourself that you dream of.
So, how do we transform from employees to the makers of our own business success?
When you decide to make your move from working for someone else to make your own dream come true, you first go through a pretty exciting phase. During this initial sparkling period, you decide things like business name, how to start, and what you plan to do. It’s all so exciting and fancy, and, gosh, you are a business owner!
Once you are through this thrilling initial phase, there come some pretty weighty decisions about business strategy, the products or services your business will offer. This is the point, usually, when reality hits and the width and depth of knowledge that is required to run a business is starting to dawn on you.
You need to master things like marketing, operations, sales, finance, and so on. You dive into the world of online courses and webinars, networking events and may also subscribe to numerous newsletters. Also exciting stuff. Exhausting too.
Each teaches you something useful. You learn to see that free stuff rarely gives you the secrets that truly make a difference, and you learn to differentiate the value of products and services you pay for.
Being the captain of the ship – becoming an entrepreneur
From the beginning, you may have some helpers, such as virtual assistants or a team around you. Even so, being an entrepreneur may feel like a lonely place to be, and you may feel isolated. Why? Because at the end of the day, you are the captain of that ship. The people you work with help you progress, and you pay them for it. At such times, friends become more important than ever. Sometimes you become friends with people you surround yourself with. Some even become your business partner.
Even so, there will be such a weight on your shoulders, which can break many people and cause them to quit.
Now, before you run for the hills, I am telling you about this because I want to show you the other side of becoming an entrepreneur. And, make no mistake, being an entrepreneur is terrific; the freedom, the limitless opportunities bound only by your talent and skill.
Each job has its specific features, so does being an entrepreneur. The picture that is being painted on social media about entrepreneurship is rather fancy.
Entrepreneurship is fancy
And, yes, of course, there is a fancy side to it all: you are the one calling the shots, have the flexibility of hours, and so on. It is very appealing. However, we must not forget the responsibility of it all.
As an employee, you went to work, did your job, and got your salary. When you become an entrepreneur, you cannot be sure of getting a paycheck at the end of it all. Even if you do a great job, the market is a tricky thing, and there are so many moving parts.
You live in a more intense world: you must work well at all times, communicate well who you are and what you are on about, and all of this has to be designed to be sustainable while remaining true to yourself.
Furthermore, there are various business strategies that you may want to adopt as you start off. For example, to respond to market demand or to shape your offering. Alternatively, you perhaps have a set direction based on your previous experience and need to validate your direction by checking that there is demand out there for it. This is quite a decision to make at the beginning of your quest to become an entrepreneur.
Let me pause here for a second. There are, of course, other avenues you could take after quitting your job. For example, you could decide to become a freelance consultant.
Would you say it falls into the entrepreneurship category? I am not minded calling freelance consultancy entrepreneurship. Many freelancers got themselves a business, but the business model is very similar to being an employee for many.
Going back to becoming an entrepreneur.
- How do you make all these individual puzzle pieces of various business knowledge come together?
- How do marketing, sales, operations, thought leadership, customer service, finance, product development, and working with suppliers and vendors come together? Not to mention the everyday tasks and the focused project management that you need to maneuver through in addition to all of these?
So, the things that you are not told is precisely what I’ve just mentioned. Additionally, it is the transformation you have to go through to change your mindset and thinking, which effectively will change how you make decisions.
Profound mental change
Videos and articles that talk about being an entrepreneur don’t say much about fitting the pieces together and process the myriad of information in your mind within a short space of time. There isn’t much mention about the development that you go through mentally and spiritually when you become an entrepreneur.
Let me give you an example. I have worked with expertise-business owners who started their companies as a way out from the 9 to 5 world. Some did it out of necessity as they lost their jobs. In their case, the transition from being an employee in a corporate environment was slower, and it did slow down their business development. There was a constant internal battle between seeking the lifestyle and customs and paving the new path.
Even though this process itself is natural, its pace, and how difficult it can be, make all the difference.
Naturally, you might say, it is a decision to make. Once you decided, you behave the new way; however, the lingering and memory of the security clashes with the new business’s uncertainty and volatility.
So, even if you are determined and decided on the required behavior alignment, it will take time.
These expertise-business owners have read popular books and even shared their findings and AHA moments on their thoughts about money and wealth; however, they couldn’t internalize the new knowledge until we learned how to turn the switch. Also, adaptability and flexibility evolve in the process.
When you become an entrepreneur, you have no other solution but to move on and get back up after a blow – it’s not an option; it’s an absolute must.
Moreover, you need to recognize that you are the heart and soul of your business and must treat yourself with love – you need to look after yourself mentally and physically. If you are not sound, then your business will suffer. So, look after yourself to be able to look after your business and make your dream come true!