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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

4 Ways to Stop Making Excuses and Follow Your Passion

Remember waking up before dawn to jump into the lake at summer camp?

Nadia Goodman

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The hardest part was the moment right before you jumped, when you knew the water would be freezing cold but didn’t yet trust that you’d acclimate. For would-be entrepreneurs who want to follow their passion but haven’t made the leap, the fears about starting a new business can feel just like staring at that frigid, early morning water.

Maile Ehlers, a graphic designer and founder of PGH Papercraft, felt torn between freedom and stability. “I was climbing up the corporate ladder (at a paper packaging company), but I really wasn’t happy,” she says. She put off quitting for fear of stiff competition and unpredictable earnings, but after building a customer base in her spare time, she finally struck out on her own.

“New entrepreneurs are not confident about their own competencies, and thus aren’t sure if it would be the right decision,” says Hao Zhao, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Such hesitation is normal.”

Today, Ehlers’ business is booming and she’s branching into new markets. “Seeing that my business has been successful gives me the confidence to keep going and expand,” she says.

If you find yourself making excuses about why your new venture should wait, these four tips can help you gain confidence and make a firm decision.

  1. Decide if you’re truly passionate. “(Entrepreneurship) is not for everyone,” Zhao says. It may sound like a sexy career, but the reality is that it takes self-motivation and fortitude. If it isn’t for you, that’s okay. “Be honest with yourself about whether you have the tenacity to be an entrepreneur,” says Paula Caligiuri, a psychologist and author of Get a Life, Not a Job (FT Press, 2010). “You’ll eventually need it to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and persevere when the tasks become challenging.” Ultimately, passion drives that momentum. “Taking the successful leap requires both caution and passion,” Zhao says.
  2. Get to know your market. Before launching a new venture, scope out your competitors, get to know your customers, and meet entrepreneurs that you might emulate. “Success requires expertise with the product and market, as well as careful planning and execution,” Zhao explains. Ehlers launched her shop on Etsy before quitting her job, which helped her assess the demand. “When I saw (business) was consistent, I put my two weeks in,” she says.
  3. Create a safety net. If you’re serious about starting your own business, save up the resources you’ll need in order to succeed. “Lack of time and debt are the two greatest pitfalls that prevent people from starting a new gig,” Caligiuri says. At first, cut out TV time in favour of business planning and curb unnecessary spending. Ehlers didn’t quit her job until she saved enough money to cover two months of costs, a precaution that helped reduce her pre-launch anxiety.
  4. Turn to family and friends for support. The people closest to you can be a vital resource as you prepare to start a new venture. “Encouragement from trusted family members and friends will help build entrepreneurial self-efficacy,” Zhao says.

They can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. “Many people cannot name their own natural talents,” Caligiuri says. “Family and friends can help us see what we are good at and what our challenges might be as entrepreneurs.”

Nadia Goodman is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY. She is a former editor at YouBeauty.com, where she wrote about the psychology of health and beauty. She earned a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Visit her website, nadiagoodman.com.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. George Mokaila

    Sep 20, 2012 at 07:52

    Very helpful indeed espcially since I’m about to start my own business!

  2. busisiwe mthembu

    Oct 4, 2012 at 10:06

    I find this very, very insightful and it sets my mind at ease given that I am currently unhappy with where I am and have this yearning to spread my wings and take that leap to start my own thing.Saving up ofcourse is an important factor.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

The Kindling Of The Entrepreneur Spirit

The principle of entrepreneurship is to observe challenges and find ways to improve them while simultaneously weighing up the relevant costs and benefits.

David Hatherell

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Many university students are funnelled into a conservative career such as a lawyer, engineer, actuary or accountant. This is often the popular choice and has the advantages of receiving stable income and benefit packages – it is a “safety net” career and offers the prestige of the title and security of the degree.

That being said, there are a lot of insights that you may miss if you use the narrow definition of what entrepreneurship means in the traditional sense – “starting your own business.” Entrepreneurship is more than that and, in my view, should be looked at using a three-principles based approach. The principle of entrepreneurship is to observe challenges and find ways to improve them while simultaneously weighing up the relevant costs and benefits.

Principle 1 – Adding Value Within Organisations

In my field, being an actuary with a data science background, you always need to find a better way of doing things. We need to use our resources, skills, and systems in a manner that would support our organisations to ensure that we add value to society.

Related: Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job To Start A Business

In essence, we need to use statistical or modelling techniques responsibly to ensure that three key focal points are met, which is easily adapted to becoming a viable entrepreneur, with a trusted reputation:

  • We do not mistreat or take advantage of consumers;
  • The results of initiatives or strategies are measured appropriately; and
  • There are no biases based on torturing data to get the results you want.

In addition to doing a good job, we needed to ensure that the work we do can be repeated, with ease and automated where relevant. This will ensure that our influence is long lasting and scalable, which is also critical to starting your own business or initiative. Most long-term solutions should also be flexible enough to add value to society, in whatever touch-points they are impacting.

Principle 2 – Benefitting Society

This is not about how much you give but rather what impact you have. We need to be honest with ourselves and determine appropriate measures to monitor success and what our ROI is aimed at becoming. This is often a challenge and is oversimplified or overlooked by many. For example, we may celebrate success metrics by reviewing how many scholars we fund or how much money was given to upcoming entrepreneurs.

This measure will have little benefit if all the scholars drop out or all entrepreneurial initiatives fail, we will essentially be celebrating an empty figure. The impact we have needs to be long-lasting and setting up society for success, with or without your continual influence.

Responsible and appropriate ways of measuring benefit will help add value to many initiatives. It’s a significant risk starting an initiative without any key performance indicators or measures of success, as you will have nothing to benchmark against and no measure to celebrate or punt as transparent and real success measures.

Principle 3 – Starting an Entrepreneurial Initiative

Some skills are necessary to start your initiative and working for a large organisation may help you build these skills or refine them. Key performance indicators are often used within larger organisations, and these companies may have proper structures in place to learn communication skills, the importance of planning, setting up budgets, pitching ideas or tracking results over time.

Related: How To Survive 150 Straight Rejections

As such, some young adults prefer entering the world of work as a first step and then using what they learn to start something new in the years to come. Whichever approach you take, ensure you are learning as much as you can and are open to mentorship, guidance and constructive criticism, we can’t possibly know everything, and there is always more we can learn and improve on.

Bringing It All Together 

Starting an entrepreneurial initiative will require a lot of bravery and resilience, an open mind, a good idea, relevant skills and support (financial and social).

What I admire, is that a foundation such as the Make A Difference Leadership Foundation has robust structures in place to support and encourage their scholars, should they wish to start an initiative in the future. And despite the prestige or the safety in obtaining a degree, the foundation inspires the scholars to follow their dreams, no matter how audacious they might be.

With the vision of the Make A Difference in mind, we believe that our scholars and fellows will be able to contribute and add value to organisations. Some may start their own initiatives and those who don’t will still use the principles of entrepreneurship in their daily lives. We all aim to continuously identify solutions that will add value to those around us.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Going It Alone In Business? 5 Reasons That’s A Really Bad Idea

Being a solopreneur sounds great, but it’s actually a poor choice for your business.

Luis Congdon

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When we read about Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and all the other business giants – we immediately see a single champion. Much like old literature traditions where the hero triumphantly wins alone, our legends in business are often portrayed as the singular hero.

Steve Jobs reigning over Apple, Bill Gates towering over the giant that is Microsoft and Richard Branson stylised in his cape throughout the veins of Virgin – this kind of mythology and idealisation of the single hero in business has spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs who call themselves “solopreneurs.” We idealise the entrepreneur who does it alone and doesn’t need a team or support.

If you’ve been doing it alone or aspire to become a solopreneur, let me share with you five reasons to not be a solopreneur – and why the myth of any singular hero, whether in literature or business, is a misnomer and will only hold you back from having the most significant successes.

1. You’ll become a jack of all trades and a master of none

When you are a solopreneur, it’s practically impossible for you to master every skill needed to substantially grow.

Running a business takes a lot of capabilities: Mapping out content, creating it, sharing it, building a tribe, sending out emails, doing sales, attending events and growing the network, coaching, consulting and building out products is a small list of what a profitable business requires.

If you’re weak in some of these areas, it will hamper your business growth and fun.

Related: The Foundations Of Growth

Trying to do it all will soon see you doing low-level activities that pull you away you from making sales, doing projects for your high-end clients and doing the things that help keep the business growing.

2. You can’t scale or grow

business-strategist-jay-abrahamBusiness strategist Jay Abraham says there are only three ways to grow a business. You either get more clients, increase the cost of each transaction or you service your clients with more products. Two of these methods will mean more work.

If you increase clients or increase the number of products you sell, you will most likely need to increase your output.

Since there are only so many hours in a day, you’ll either become your own bottleneck and slow business down – or decide to outsource some of the tasks to your team and ensure business runs smoothly.

3. You won’t have time to do everything you want to do

When you’re overworked and doing it alone, you have no one to relieve the pressure. You have no team to support you, and you have no partners who can take some work off your plate. That means when there are emergencies, you won’t be available.

If a client needs you, your kids need you and a new client wants to pay you a lot for a new project – you’ll have to decide which is most important.

While having a team may not save you from making hard decisions, ideally you aren’t so thinly spread out that you find yourself saying no to more clients, family emergencies and serving current clients to the best of your abilities.With a team, you’ll be able to free yourself more, and you can say yes to more opportunities.

4. You’re more vulnerable to mistakes

Imagine if didn’t have spell check your documents and emails. Or what if this magazine didn’t have editors and any article got through? I’m sure you’d agree, the quality would be lost, and it’d likely result in many lost customers.

Related: The Case For A Business Partner Who Makes You Uncomfortable

In my life, I’m lucky to run a business with my wife and my team. Having a team helps me to not only “cut once and measure twice,” it also relieves some of the pressure to be perfect. It helps me to do my work, knowing my team will help me, and that inspires me. Doing it alone would be too stressful.

Having a team will allow you to call upon a support network, hand off jobs and have an extra set of eyeballs when you’re delivering a service.

If you’ve aspired to be like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington or any highly successful entrepreneur – take some time and study them and you’ll find they love building and being a part of a team. Soon you’ll find out all these legends have a team, an incredible support system, and they don’t do it alone.

5. You can’t ever sell your business

In most entrepreneurs’ minds, the idea of selling isn’t there until decades after starting the business. But, it’s something that if given the opportunity most of us would do.

Related: Why Partnerships Will Make Or Break Your Business

Even if you wouldn’t sell your business, isn’t nice to know that if you wanted you could take your business and get paid one lump sum equaling years of work?

Or if you don’t want to sell your business, maybe you want to step out of business but collect payments and keep it in the family – well, if you’re a solopreneur it’s tough to ever to work yourself out of a job.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Start This Business With Zero Advertising Budget And No Need For Premises

What do we need to do to make our chances of entrepreneurial success as high as possible? Is it possible to build and position a business that has the highest statistical chances of survival? How would we even go about building such a business? Financial Freedom Project seems to have the answer.

Financial Freedom Project

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What are the causes of most business failures?

When it comes to business failure in South Africa, the numbers aren’t optimistic. Some of the more common reasons for business failure include:

  • Start-up funding
  • Ongoing support
  • Lack of new business to sustain growth
  • Admin time / costs associated with running a business
  • High cost of equipment / premises
  • Advertising budget
  • Cost of personnel labor
  • Legalities of employment contracts
  • Costs of credit
  • Market experience
  • Competition within the industry
  • Current market conditions.

With the odds stacked against you, what type of business could you start that offers you:

1. Minimal start-up funding

Consider minimal start-up funding requirements to mitigate as much risk as possible and make start-up as easy and quick as possible.

We need to go as low as less than one month of one month’s average salary as so to be able to start this business on the spot. Let’s make our criteria less than R10 000.

Related: 15 Things Every Newbie Needs to Know About Starting a Business

2. Mentor/ Trainer support

For support and experience we need to have easily accessible communication methods with a mentor / trainer i.e. WhatsApp and skype.

3. Access to a market full of customers with unlimited spending ability

Want a colossal market, how about an estimated 5.3 Trillion Dollars a day?

4. No need for an advertising budget

Maybe a business where customers come to you without advertising because they want what you have. Let’s be ridiculous and put a zero advertising budget.

5. Minimum paper work / admin requirements before and after sales

Let’s aim for no admin and have everything processed and stored online for absolute minimal ongoing costs.

6. No premises required

You can work from anywhere at minimal cost and only need one computer.

Related: Why Build a Business Just to Close It?

7. No employees required

This business must be able to run as a “one man show” as to exclude all labor costs and employment legalities. As in previous point, let’s aim for one person to run this business and internet to stay connected to the world.

8. Little competition

This industry offers the least possible competition between participants.

9. A industry with no “seasonal times” so you can make money all the time

To get a never ending supply of opportunity we absolutely have to be a part of the global supply and demand system.

10. A proven concept

This will be outlined below.

What’s the business?

Financial Freedom Project provides you with a long-term financial freedom by utilising financial markets. The Financial Freedom Project is a results-based wealth creation training and mentorship programme that has start-up capital requirements of only R4 000 to begin accessing markets.  The course requires only 3 days of your time and offers unlimited course re-sits.

For more information about how you can work with Financial Freedom Project visit financialfreedomproject.net or call them on 010 020 5699 for further info.

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