How to become an entrepreneur – What videos don’t tell you about developing an entrepreneur mindset

become an entrepreneur

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!

Are Women Supporting Each Other at Work?

Are women supporting each other at work

I feel that we need to raise awareness about women supporting each other in the workplace. To my mind, women helping women is an unused resource. A resource that, if we all utilize, can further the company we work for and us.

So, how can things get better with collaboration amongst female professionals? 

Before we jump in, let’s take a step back. Discrimination against women in the workplace is, unfortunately, an old story. Women face multiple barriers from getting the job to earning promotions. A lot has been written about how hard women have to work to prove themselves and achieve higher positions. The term, breaking the glass ceiling, was first coined to focus on the hardships women encountered in a male-dominated workplace.  

However, we missed out on how women treat other women

Nowadaysvarious research pieces are also being conducted on how their own tribe members mistreat females. Women are accused of bullying, ill-treating women, and competing with each other.  

Simultaneously, a different set of studies show what females can gain by supporting each other at work. Let us study this latter motion and find out how to move towards a better future  a future where women supporting each other is more widespread. 

 The emergence of women power 

The situation was very tough for the first wave of female executives. They were treated unfairly and had to face disparity in pay packages and other forms of discrimination. Despite these setbacks, women advanced to key leadership positions. They steered up changes that were welcomed by all. And the result? More and more women felt the motivation to join the workforce.  

People, who believed the problem of discrimination would be alleviated by introducing more women into the workforce, were proven wrong. Sadly, most women imitated their counterparts’ leadership style and came across as harsh, mean, and demanding. At the time, it appeared natural, as these women were the first generation of female managers and leaders. They were working in a maledominated setup and trying to find their foothold. 

Women against women – the other side of discrimination 

The less known side of discrimination is that women bring on almost 40% of workplace bullying. It might feel like the wild wild west of the modern working environmentIn some cases, they have a sour relationship with their female colleagues and subordinates. These relationships are devoid of trust and the ability to rely on each otherThey often refuse to accept new ideas proposed by their female colleagues. Other females envy the achievements of women. Their same gender colleagues can ridicule women with bold ideas and firm beliefs communicated with confidence. Often derogatory words are used against ambitious women, and their success is attributed to unfair means. In a nutshell, some women are not supporting each other at work. Furthermore, its startling that most women believe this and try to stay away from female colleagues. Some women depend more on their male counterparts than their female co-workers. Its a gloomy picture, right?  

 Women competing with women in the workplace 

Well, the good news is that despite all the barriers and hurdles, the participation of women in the workforce is increasing. According to a recent study, 49% of our workforce is made up of women now. They learn their own authentic ways to shine light on their results and professional expertise and strive to prove the value they create. At the same time, they face another challenge, the challenge of women supporting each other. 

Competition in the workplace is not new invention. Although, you will hear plenty of stories of women competing with the mindset that they need to bring each other down. This competition is unhealthy as it makes one win by making the other lose. It is also known as covert competition or indirect aggressionSome women find it challenging to see other women getting promotions, experiencing pay hikes, or being recognized 

What else? Jealousy is another emotion attached to covert competition. A woman may like another womans presentation skills, but they would feel envious of the recognition the other woman receives after the meeting. She may feel threatened by the other persons popularity.  

Lets take a minute or two to think about why that is so. 

The general belief among people has been, for a while, that women are not supporting each other at work. What if the situation was different? Just think about the numerous initiatives, organizations, projects, or networks women started, seeing women collaborating and helping other women grow. 

Everybody gains when women support each other 

There is great power in collaboration! Women supporting each other not only make us feel great but also increase our chances of success. There is power with the pack, and the more women realize this, the more changes they can bring to the equation. Situations that seem hostile or negative can be turned into positive and encouraging if women support each other at work. 

Then there is a bigger question of gender equality at work. How can we achieve that if we have women bullying women? Collaboration over competition will help women to fight misogyny and overcome genderrelated difficulties.  

Benefits of networking and women supporting each other 

According to a Harvard Business Review study, both men and women benefit from having a network of peersBesideswomen stand to gain more in terms of finding better job opportunities and higher pay packages. Women face bias in various forms while trying to climb the ladder of leadership. But having close contact with other women helps them to deal with these hurdles easier. They can benefit from the experiences of women who have already faced bias. You can make better decisions, dare to ask for what you are worth, and offer your unique talents to align with the organization’s goals. 

Thats right – building your own circle of girls, and having each others back is a great feeling. Having strong professional relationships with peers and supporting each other could help women to advance their careers. Women act as sponsors and mentors to each other, which, in the long run, is beneficial to them as well as the organization. 

Move beyond connection building  

When we attend conferences and training sessions, we also aim to build connections with like-minded people. But what are connections? A stack of business cards? Remember, for long-lasting growth and support, you need relationships and not mere connections. Women need to get out there and create strong working relationships with females from other groups. All this would be possible if you shake off your insecurities and reach out to peers 

The power in relationships when women supporting each other 

We all know that relationships are powerful in creating feelings of security and dependence. Based on shared interests and goals, these unique connections could propel you to be even more successful at work. Imagine the reassuring feeling you get when you are in an environment where you can meet other women, share your experiences, and expand your horizon. Ita lot of fun and an opportunity to release stress, something that women professionals desperately need. Thus, women leaders must encourage relationship building with other females. Mentoring, coaching, and networking are tools that can promote healthy relationships between female co-workers. 

Build each other up  

This is an excellent idea! When you help others to rise, you shine. Building each other up is a way of promoting a friendly environment where people get their due credit. When someone does a great job, congratulate them, share it with others, and encourage others to try harder. When you build each other up, you motivate even more women to join and strengthen your tribe. This is the best way to fight genderrelated difficulties and ensure your work is seen and appreciated. Together, you can ask for transparent policies, equality in pay packages, and other benefits.  

Collaborate, dont compete with each other 

Why do women compete with other women? When good opportunities are scarce, if a woman fears that her efforts will go unnoticed or she will not be compensated for her hard work, she will try to compete hard and grab the prize.’ However, when you look at it from the opposite point of view, you will see abundance and not scarcity. Collaborating will make it easier for you to get the coveted position. Working together has other benefits, too: creating better workplace environment, developing relationships based on trust and dependence, and enjoying your work. 

Grow along with others 

have mentioned above how the first generation of women leaders imitated their male counterparts in leading teams and delivering results. It was observed that the subsequent women leaders moved away from this practice and used their unique skills to motivate others. They are more empathetic, value work-life balance, focus on teamwork, nurture talents, and are strong communicators. Women leaders can handle crises well. They panic less and are good at multi-tasking. These qualities make women leaders more successful and contribute to the growth of organizations. Having leaders who collaborate will have a positive effect on the work culture. Companies that have more women leaders at the top have a positive brand image in the market too. 

Women supporting each other 

It sounds great to have friends at work, doesnt it! When you know you have someone to turn to or ask for advice, you become more self-dependent. Collaboration, friendly atmosphere, and fewer gender gaps bring out the best in employees. So, start seeing the change when women supporting each other becomes more frequent and see how you move ahead towards your goal collectively. Bring about the change, be the change, and find the world changing around you! 

Are Professional Women the Victims of our Society?

Are Professional Women the Victims of our Society

Women of society are bringing glory to the nation. Still, it is striking to see how professional women have been marginalized in some vocations, ignoring the benefits of gender diversity. Do social roles determine who we are and what we can achieve in life? Could it be that external factors limit our ability to live our lives the way we want to? We are looking to answer these questions and shed light on some of the hurdles professional women may come across.

Gender Equality and Professionalism

‘For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts’– cited from a former president’s second inaugural speech. The world is still contemplating these words quite a few years later.

This question of equal pay for all has been a debatable issue for some… And an eye-opener for many in the past few years. Many countries have been democratized, and they granted equal right to vote to everyone, irrespective of their gender. Still, somehow, the same rights are not given to everyone at the workplace. And nothing can be more disappointing for the countries than failing to recognise the effort of all members of the society equally.

In a report by CNN, US soccer claimed that it would not pay women soccer players equally because being a male player requires more ‘skill and responsibility’. Although American women have had far more success in football than their counterparts, the team has been subjected to this ‘sexist stereotype’. Unsurprisingly, professional women could relate to this, no matter what job they have got.

This example is just one situation where professional women have been subjected to gender discrimination. Also, people may have questioned them about their ability to perform, instead of benefiting from promoting gender diversity. However, this is not the first time that this has happened. Reportedly, far more troubling cases of discrimination, violence against women has happened around the world during the past few years. In contrast, the world remains quiet about these atrocities.

The hurdles of professional women

When we talk about professional women, we usually don’t look at what goes into achieving that status. Competition for these women is not limited to the test exams and interviews. It goes far beyond those lines: fighting social stigma, societal boundaries, family pressure, discrimination, and the stress of being a woman.

Is This a Man’s World?

Success is a complex word, apparently biased towards the male gender in most cases. We could all name men being famous and popular the world over. But can you, as easily, think of professional women being praised for their achievements on such a large scale? For one, have you heard of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf? Although she left a mixed legacy behind, she has undeniably helped to maintain peace in Liberia. She also promoted the improvement of livelihoods and safeguarding of women of her country. A victim of domestic violence, an international bank executive, and a Nobel prize winner.

In some cultures, people consider a woman’s prestige only when she keeps quiet and nods at every decision that the man makes. When she raises her voice against injustice and tries to put up against the dominating male the perception changes. When she voices her powerful opinion, she becomes an arrogant, selfish, and vindictive woman.

Nevertheless, although this has been a challenge for women, you will find them protecting their voice and rising to the trials that it brings. Undoubtedly, this is what makes them gain respect, love, and admiration at a much broader level. Professional women in such cultures may make efforts to overcome patriarchy, societal boundaries and the limitations placed on their talents. They will step up as powerful, strong women who are ready to take on the world. Women has proved this strength on many occasions.

Professional Women and Responsibility

Professional women have always been an inspiration to grow, thrive and achieve. Think of India’s Lakshmibai, Pakistan’s Malala, America’s Michelle Obama or Finland’s Sanna Marin.

The extra load that the boss wants to be done by the end of the night… The child whose homework has to be submitted the next morning… And a husband who is tired after a day’s work… These challenges rarely make a woman stumble. And before you know, she’s done with her work because that’s how they are made to function.

Photo by Philip Toledano

Indra Nooyi – Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Indra Nooyi, an Indian American Business executive and former CEO of PepsiCo, has continuously ranked amongst the top 100 most powerful women. Nevertheless, in an interview, she told of an incident. It occurred with her mother after she had been declared the President of the Board of Directors. Her mother said that the moment she enters the house, she is a wife, a mother, and a daughter-in-law and that she should leave the crown in the garage.

This incident brings out one of the biggest challenges that professional women face: no matter what women’s role ultimately comes down to managing the household.

What Does it Take to be a Professional Woman?

A woman’s sacrifice often goes unnoticed by society. In fact, a woman’s whole life may revolve around sacrifices. Furthermore, after a certain point, the difference between happiness, choice and sacrifice becomes a blurred line, until only sacrifice remains.

Leaving the home that she grew up in to create a new nest with someone else… Giving up on dreams just because the family disapproved… Letting go of a job opportunity because it demanded time and she had to be home… Resigning her job because she has a child at home to look after. Sacrifices that no one acknowledges and which may go overlooked.

Living the Life of Professional Women

We have talked about successful, professional women and their role in society. Many others have achieved similar heights or are capable of achieving something outstanding with some support and means.

Trying to work as an independent person, supporting the family or just for pursuing a passion has never been easy. The struggle is real for every woman who is trying to create an identity in the world… For women who are set to bring about a change in this society and make it a better place for all women. For example, women may not get a job just because it is presumed that they would not be able to invest themselves entirely in their work. This discriminating, stereotypical belief may pose challenges to most professional women, irrespective of their field of expertise. 

Despite these shortcomings, you will find professional women who work 18 hours a day, professional women who did not marry to pursue their career. The fight against biases and discrimination is endless; although we have come a long way in this race of equal rights, we still have a long way to go.

The responsibility 

At the same time, you must remember: we all are the makers of our own faith. Therefore, we must take an active role in deciding how our life unfolds. It’s our choice what we allow and what we decline to be part of our journey. We must recognise that the way we choose to live our lives affects the lives of the generations after us. So, finding our inner strength and voice is not only a potential but a far-reaching RESPONSIBILITY.

Empowered Women

Women are one of the main pillars of society and its existence. It is time that you wake up to your dreams, overcome your fear and defeat the demons that are trying to hold you back from achieving the heights of success.

The moment you give up your fears, the moment you embrace your womanhood in all its glory, you give way to a life that you have always dreamt of. Remember, the moment you decide to step up to what you believe in, you will find help from all walks of life. There is always help and support out there. It may just help you find an easier way out of these situations with the right tools and mechanisms.

The moment you decide to help yourself, you will find strength and power to grow and motivation to live the life you have always wanted. You are not alone in this battle; there are millions of others on this planet who are going through the same transformation. Help, support, and justice are just a few courageous steps away.

Speak, talk, let others know of how strong you are, and maybe your story can become someone else’s inspiration. If we all unite in this battle of rights, we can make this world a better place for the next generations. Remember, it is our responsibility to live a life that is based on our own decisions and preferences as empowered, strong, professional women, and not to fall the victim of society.