A well-known acronym is that “job” is short for “Just Over Broke”, which is a reason many people start a new business. Or perhaps you were recently made redundant.
Either way, few things are more exciting than becoming an entrepreneur and going at it on your own.
Like all business adventures, however, the initial enthusiasm for entrepreneurship can quickly fade to frustration at common failures and excessive legal red tape. Taxes, company filings, VAT submissions — these things can put a real dampener on that initial excitement.
Here are five things you need to know when becoming an entrepreneur to help you remain positive and confident in achieving your goals.
1. What is an entrepreneur?
Merriam Webster defines an entrepreneur as:
“One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise”
The Oxford dictionary defines one as:
“A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.”
So, entrepreneurship contains, by definition, a certain amount of risk, as well as the skills of “organising” and “managing”.
An entrepreneur is not just someone who has a bright idea. They also put their neck out and organise and manage people and things, to achieve a realisation of that idea.
2. Learn about entrepreneurship from other entrepreneurs
Risk-takers are more likely to get hurt.
The way to reduce your chance of “getting hurt” or failing is to learn from other risk-takers.
Go to networking events, connect with people online, read up on successful entrepreneurs, and do everything you can to understand the mistakes they made which you could avoid.
It’s a good idea to dedicate 30 minutes a day to reading books by these entrepreneurs as well.
3. Never stop learning
Perhaps someday you’ll write your own book about how you made it. But even if you do, it doesn’t mean
you have reached a point where you can now stop learning.
The truly successful entrepreneurs never stop learning.
Whether they learn by regularly signing up for cutting-edge webinars or chatting to other entrepreneurs, or by reading books by entrepreneurs, true entrepreneurs never do stop learning.
To be successful as an entrepreneur, you must have a hunger for knowledge in as many fields as possible. You never know where your next big idea might come from, so cultivate a natural curiosity for all things.
4. Detect your competition before even having any
To succeed, you must be ahead of the game. You must know where competitors might challenge you long before they get the opportunity to do so.
When coming up with a new idea, you must also come up with ways to defend the idea when it gets attacked.
The best ideas will charge forward with little competition longer than weaker ideas. The best ideas are unique and innovative.
It’s difficult for competitors to challenge innovative ideas. But if it is genuinely a good idea, then it will be competed with eventually.
Be ready with your next product or idea by that time, and your competitors will always be playing catch-up with you.
Steve Jobs was an expert at this.
5. Know your limits, but only so you can surpass them
If you could run the 100-meter dash in 20 seconds, it would be foolish to try and run it the following time in 12 seconds.
But you could aim for 19.8 seconds. Then aim for 19.5. Then 18, etc.
You must know your limits because:
- You’ll feel good every time you beat your limit.
- You’ll suffer fewer moments of despair because you aimed too high.
- You’ll gain in confidence and self-assurance.
Too many entrepreneurs look at the big names — Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs — and aim for the top in their first few months.
Bezos started Amazon by taking orders in his garage and delivering them himself. Musk was bullied as a child. Jobs was ousted from Apple, then turned lemons into lemonade by becoming a majority shareholder in Pixar and helping the company revolutionise animation.
Every entrepreneur has faced adversity, and every entrepreneur has taken time to get where they are today.
Don’t aim for the moon. Aim, initially, for one floor above the last one you reached, then another, and so on.
And if you get knocked down, keep aiming a little higher than before until you do reach the highest of goals.