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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

5 Reasons Why You’ve Failed as an Entrepreneur

Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, do the right things and cross that finish line next time around.

Christian Martin

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Entrepreneurship is hard, and as statistics show, not everyone makes it. Most of us fall somewhere along the spectrum – at times we succeed, and at other times, we fail.

Yet, we’ve all heard of entrepreneurs who experience success time and time again, in different industries, with different teams and different market conditions. So what is it that these people have that most of us don’t – aside from the seven- and eight-figure bank accounts?

That’s what I’ve tried to figure out. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but based on my experience, the problem is you. When you ask yourself – “why have I been failing as an entrepreneur?” – what answers come up?

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Your Business Failure is Your Fault

For some of us, the following subjects may feel oddly familiar, and it may shed some insight into why you haven’t yet reached your full potential.

If you’re willing to work on yourself, it may even unlock the key to finally accomplishing what you’ve always dreamed of.

1. You’re afraid

“So deeply seated is the emotion of fear that one may go through life burdened with it, never recognising it’s presence.” – Napoleon Hill  

Fear is a tricky fellow, and it is not to be taken lightly. Chances are, you have fears you aren’t even aware of that are holding you back in some significant way.

Whether it’s cold calling, showing your product to the world or pitching high profile investors, fear is capable of stopping most of us in our tracks. Unconscious fear often shows up as indifference, indecision, doubt, worry, over caution, procrastination, lack of ambition, jealousy and a myriad of other ways.

If you’re showing any of these symptoms, ask yourself, what am I avoiding?

Some people are scared of the truth because they don’t want to admit their own shortcomings, and they fear embarrassment.

Others may be afraid of success, because they don’t feel that they deserve it. Some are afraid of failure, and never try anything so that they can avoid failing. But perhaps the strongest grip of all is the fear to be different.

We’re both biologically programmed and socially conditioned to fit in with the crowd and conform. It can be hard to break away and do something truly unique.

The first step to overcoming your fear is to accept that you have it. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

2. You don’t know how to let go

handing-work-over“You can do anything, but not everything.” – David Allen

Small-scale entrepreneurs and small business owners are notorious for wanting to do everything themselves.

In my consulting business, Profit Fox, this is one of the number-one things I see preventing small business owners from finding real success. Their unwillingness to get help prevents them from ever taking their business to the next level.

While you might think this is the only way to get things done right, your need for control may be standing in the way of real success, not to mention a little breathing room.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Don’t Let Business Failure Keep You Down

If you can learn to let go, delegate, build a team of talented people and give up mental ownership – and perhaps financial ownership – of some aspects of your business, it could benefit you in a big way in the long run. It is better to have a percent of something large, than the entirety of nothing.

What can you let go of today in your business in order to concentrate on the high-value tasks?

3. You lack persistence

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave–up.”  – Thomas Edison

When I talk about failing as an entrepreneur, I am referring to giving up entirely. Setbacks, temporary failures, uncertainty and even failed businesses are all part of being an entrepreneur.

It’s the individual who can keep getting back up over and over again who is going to be triumphant.

Even the best of the best fail from time to time, but failure may become less frequent, less severe and a greater teacher as you hone your entrepreneurial chops.

Sometimes it takes enduring effort or repeated rejections to get to where you want to be. My own app has been in the app store for more than three years and is just starting to gain real traction.

Tim Ferris was rejected by 25 publishers before finding someone to publish his book, The Four Hour Work Week. The iconic book went on to launch Tim’s career as an author and investor and has spent over seven years on the New York Times best-seller list.

Are you willing to take 25 rejections to get one yes? How about 100?

4. You’ve stopped investing in yourself

personal-investment“I think that much of the advice given to young men about saving money is wrong. I never saved a cent until I was 40 years old. I invested in myself – in study, in mastering my tools, in preparation. Many a man who is putting a few dollars a week into the bank would do much better to put it into himself.” – Henry Ford

Just like investing in a business, investing in yourself can pay heavy dividends down the road.

If you ended your education with the end of your formal schooling, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The work roles of the future aren’t taught in school. They haven’t even been invented yet.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: The #1 Reason For Failure of Businesses Over Two Years Old

If you want to succeed in today’s fast-paced world, it’s best to continue to invest in yourself as if you were a business, whether it’s with courses, coaches, trainings or even getting a personal trainer to stay healthy. Invest in yourself, and you may find yourself experiencing greater success not only in business but in all aspects of your life.

5. You’re getting things done, but not the right things

“Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.” – Peter Drucker 

Is it better to do the right things, than to get things done. Many of us feel like we are too busy to take a second out of our day to have a nice meal, or think about our future.

But are all of us really busy – or are we just filling up our schedule with more and more things, failing to say no to the unimportant and letting our lives be dictated by other people’s agendas? I’m looking at you, chronic email checkers….

The thing you’re procrastinating is often the most important thing you could be doing.

Tackle your most valuable task first thing in the morning before you do anything else, and you can make more progress in a couple weeks than you did all of last year.

6. You’re not a finisher

running-race-finisher“Look, young man. You’re like most people. You think the grass is greener on the other side. What’s going to happen if you go into another business is you’re going to spend another six months, another year, another two years, learning the technical skills of another industry, so you can go out and repeat the same bad business habits that have caused you to be a failure in this business. What you need to do, young man, is learn fundamental business skills. Because once you do, you can apply those to any industry. But until you learn how to make a business work, it doesn’t matter what industry you go into – you’re still going to fail at it.” – from The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellis 

If you have a pattern of starting strong on a new project or business for a couple of months and then giving up, or switching to the next project, you may have a problem with finishing.

It is only through persistence that you’ll confront your own personal limits and get enough momentum to get anything worthwhile off the ground. Overnight successes are almost always years or decades in the making.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Business Plans: A Remedy for Failure

Know when to cut the cord on a losing endeavour, but don’t give up just because you aren’t a millionaire three months into your new project, or your new app hasn’t attracted VC funding yet.

There is one more thing I want to remind you of. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur all the time – it’s ok to take a couple of hours off and wear a different hat. Be a sister, or husband, or father or friend. Get some exercise, do what makes you happy and stay balanced and healthy. Your business will thank you.

If you learn from your mistakes, and get a little bit better every single day of your life, success will take care of itself.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Christian Martin is the marketing manager for AMZTracker.com. He also runs a virtual marketing agency, MarketMeDigitally.Com, from all over the world.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

(Podcast) Being An Entrepreneur Is Painful

There is a pain attached to running your own business. It’s time to discuss how tough it is – address the reality and you might just be one of the successful few.

Nicholas Haralambous

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Entrepreneurship is fun. But on the whole, running a business is hard. Far fewer business owners succeed than fail. Statistically your business is going to fail. Those are the hard numbers.

There is a pain attached to running your own business. It’s time to discuss how tough it is – address the reality and you might just be one of the successful few.

Listening time: 5 minutes

Related: (Podcast) Playing To An Audience Of One

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

3 Dangerous Entrepreneurial Myths You Need To Ignore

This terrible advice won’t actually get you anywhere.

Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurial Myths

We’ve all heard the numbers about how hard it is to build a long-lasting business. While there are many factors at play to get there, without effective marketing and sales a business cannot survive.

Unfortunately, there is a multitude of dangerous and destructive marketing advice swirling around the heads of vulnerable entrepreneurs. Like vultures seeking their next meal, “gurus” pontificate nonsense that these hard-working business owners follow, only to discover that what they tried doesn’t work.

Often, once the damage is done, it is too late for them to do anything else about it.

If you want to not only survive, but thrive, here is some of the terrible advice you need to start ignoring:

1“You need to be everywhere”

I’m sorry, but how do these people sleep at night without the use of narcotics? “Experts” spew out dribble to make headlines saying you need to get on Snapchat, get on Periscope, do YouTube Live … be everywhere! They’ll say you need to get on this platform or that social media network. Oh, and use LinkedIn Live! And make sure to post on Instagram three times a day and Facebook twice a day. And don’t forget those Facebook Lives. Make sure to do them every day.

Related: The Journey Of Entrepreneurship: How The Tough Get Going

ACK! Just writing that paragraph stressed me out. How the heck are you supposed to be on all of those channels, never mind doing it all effectively, and still run your business? Of course you can’t. And you shouldn’t. (Unless self-torture is your thing, in which case have at it. There are books about that, but I’m not giving any titles because I’d have to Google them and then I’d be retargeted by the ads and that would just be gross.)

It is impossible to spend even half an hour on each major network and still get any work done. Forget about focusing on measurement, profit and return on investment. They don’t mention that on purpose, because then these crazy-pants suggestions would really make no sense. But, then these “experts” would stop making the headlines, so they keep serving up spoiled advice for the poor folk who chow down and then get sick on it.

Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to their plots of deception. Demand strategies that value your time and produce results in a significant and measurable way quickly.

2“It takes money to make money”

cash-flow-management

I didn’t take the easy way out. I am part of a group of scrappy entrepreneurs who have a lot of hustle and heart and little/no/negative funds. I didn’t come from family money, and the big banks certainly weren’t lending to businesses like mine.

The only way I was going to get a big pile of cash was if I won the lottery. And since I’ve only played about four times in the last decade, the chances of that happening were slim. What I had to find was the same thing you most likely want – a solution to predictably bring in customers when there is no marketing budget to play with.

3The Schmo-bags

The worst are who I call the “Ferrari Marketers.” They rent a sportscar for an hour or two, hang out in front of it and then sell us shiny object strategies that they haven’t even used in their own business.

Related: 6 Timeless Strategies That Drive Successful Entrepreneurship

They are abhorrent, hideous and dangerous. Not only are they crooks stealing the money of the people who are seeking a solution from them, but they may prevent really talented people who have a gift/service/product/offer to share that can help someone else from ever reaching them.

Did I mention they suck?

But, once you discover a game-changing system, you are responsible for implementing it. You can’t be distracted by shiny objects any longer.

As Jack Welch says, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

Don’t allow yourself to be enticed or distracted by fads or the “latest and greatest/not greatest” new social media strategy, channel or tactic.

Once you uncover how to truly get results, be strong-willed and stubborn. Repel any idea, strategy or initiative that requires you to keep spending money to make money. If you keep throwing dollars and time at a goal, hoping and wishing that it will work, yet not tracking or measuring the results and scaling accordingly, then you cannot expect results.

Start measuring, tracking and demanding results from your time and money, rising above others and landing in the successful minority that thrives instead of survives.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

5 Mindset Changes You Must Make When Going From Employee To Entrepreneur

As one prominent author wrote, “Entrepreneurs don’t finish when we are tired. We finish when we are done.”

Sujan Patel

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Thousands of people dream of the day they can quit their jobs and escape the 9-to-5 life. In fact, Gallup found that 87 percent of the employees it surveyed worldwide did not see themselves as engaged.

But quitting your job and starting your own business is only half the battle. You need to prepare to be an entrepreneur. Besides getting your finances in order and having a plan in place, you also need to prepare your mind.

Your habits dictate your success, and if you’re still stuck in that 9-to-5 mindset, your endeavors will fail. You must adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and start thinking the way the world’s top leaders do.

Being an entrepreneur is very different than being an employee, and the way you envision it may be completely off base. Here are five changes you must make to your thinking in order to prepare yourself for the realities of being an entrepreneur.

1Train your mind to think outside the box

Once you leave your office job, you’re no longer confined by corporate life. That means you need to open your mind to new possibilities – possibilities that may not have been an option in your old life.

Related: For Shatty Mashego Success Lies In Maintaining A Positive Mindset

In an article for TIME magazineWarren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said, “People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional.” In short, others may not see your vision, but you can’t let that stop you. You need to be creative with your business, offer something new and be different to be successful.

2Develop both short-term and long-term vision

Albert Einstein once told the New York Times, “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.”

That new type of thinking needs to be focused on a strategic goal. You must have a vision for your company – an idea of where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

As an entrepreneur, you are the leader of your company, and your team members are looking to you to show them the path to success.

What’s your plan? You should be able to see the big picture as well as all of the steps it will take to reach your main goal. Then, you must communicate that vision to those on your team and ensure they each understand their individual roles in the plan.

3Let it all fall on your shoulders

stress-on-shoulders

Becoming an entrepreneur can be scary. Your success is now completely dependent on the work that you do. You can no longer fall back on a salary or benefits.

As an employee, if you had a bad day at work, you were still paid your salary, regardless. But as an entrepreneur, if your business isn’t successful, you won’t make any money. Plus, you now have others relying on you for their livelihood.

Ryan Farley is a typical example of corporate employee-turned-entrepreneur, quitting a fast-paced finance job to start lawn care marketplace LawnStarter Lawn Care. “I was used to working extremely long hours in the corporate finance world,” Farley told me. “I thought that would have conditioned me well, but nothing can prepare you for this amount of stress.

“It’s pretty common for founders to have the stress get so bad it affects your physical and mental health,” Farley continued. “But you have to press on, and you’re better off for it.” Prominent entrepreneurs like Brad Feld and Mark Suster, have expressed similar sentiments.

Working for yourself also means you need to be your own motivator. You no longer have a boss hounding you to get your work done. You need to stay organised and focused, and you’re going to have to be comfortable with hard work and long hours.

Related: 8 Mindsets That Will Set You On The Path To Success

4Get ready to be a jack of all trades

As an entrepreneur, you can’t say “That’s not my job.” Every job is your job now. There’s no one else to pick up the slack but you. You need to make sure everything in your business continues to run on track, and that may mean doing work you aren’t used to doing. You may need to be the accounting department, IT, marketing and more in addition to leading your company.

Entrepreneurs wear many different hats and are constantly learning new skills and working hard. If you think becoming an entrepreneur means you get to sit back and kick your feet up, you’d better stick to your day job.

As entrepreneur, author and investor Robert Kiyosaki has written on Twitter, “Entrepreneurs don’t finish when we are tired. We finish when we are done.”

5Be flexible, focused and positive

Attitude is everything in business. You can’t let challenges get in the way of your dream. Entrepreneurs need to be optimistic and stay focused on their goals. Your passion must drive you.

Related: An Entrepreneurial Mindset – Why And How To Develop One

As Steve Jobs once said in an interview with the Smithsonian Institution, “Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So, you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about; otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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