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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

How to Find the Entrepreneur Within

In the words of well-known philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”.

Vikesh Roopchand

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Entrepreneur-within

There has been a lot of debate especially in the academic circles regarding entrepreneurship.

Are successful entrepreneurs born, a product of their environment, is it something that can be taught or studied or are they just lucky?

The answer is probably all of the above, depending on which belief system you subscribe to.

Related: 5 Questions Struggling Entrepreneurs Must Ask Before Taking a Job

One thing is certain though, successful entrepreneurs display a number of similar behaviours and traits.  Examples of these traits include being resilient, passionate, decisive, flexible, fearless, self-belief (locus of control) etc.

So logic follows that you can still become a successful entrepreneur by behaving like one, even if you were not born with the traits. In order to be successful in any industry, one would need to know more than just the technicalities of that industry.

You need to follow the behaviours of successful people to achieve success not just in business but also in life.

Locus of control

One very simple but crucial behaviour mentioned above is locus of control.  Simply put, this is the belief of the degree of control that an individual has over the direction of their lives. Human beings generally fall into one of two categories, these being internal or external locus of control.

External locus of control is where one believes that everything that happens to them in life is due to faith, luck or a preordained plan. They believe that external factors control all of their lives.

Internal locus of control is where the individual believes that they are in control of their own destiny and their actions or lack thereof will determine their success or failure.

Successful entrepreneurs have a high internal locus of control and they believe that they are masters of their own destiny.  As much as they persevere for success, they realise that they are also responsible for their shortcomings.  If the circumstances are not in their control, they realise that any resulting success or failure is not a result of their actions.  The positive of having a high internal locus of control is that it drives the individual to achieve success, regardless of external factors.

The enquiring mind

Leaders with a high locus of control tend to demonstrate a participative management style.  This is where entrepreneurs are able to relate their vision and inspire all around them to take an active role in the organization’s decision making process.

These entrepreneurs possess an enquiring mind and constantly need to investigate and learn more about the world around them, these people value information. These individuals adopt the role of linking the organization’s internal networks with external sources of information.  This is also known as boundary spanning.

A healthy dose of positivity

Entrepreneurs with a high internal locus of control are naturally positive thinkers.  They focus on what will yield positive results in their lives.  One needs to have a healthy dose of positive thinking to survive the times when things go wrong, and as most entrepreneurs will tell you, things do and will go wrong very often.

Being very goal orientated and focussed on the task at hand is characteristic of such a person.  However this can become a drawback as they can sometimes appear to be brash and impatient which leaves the people around them feeling bitter or hurt at times.  This internal locus of control is then misconstrued as a sign of arrogance. The positives, however, far outweigh the negatives.

With internal locus of control being such an integral part of developing your entrepreneurial traits, it makes good sense to work on and achieve these characteristics.

To get started, here are four key steps that you can implement in your life today.

  1. Set clear goals.
  2. Increase your self-confidence
  3. Improve your decision making skills
  4. Steer your mind in a positive direction

Setting SMART goals

So how does this all work?  In order to grow, cultivate or improve your locus of control, one would need to set clear goals.  Goal setting is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish in your life and devising a plan to achieve these aspirations. The goals should be SMART i.e.

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Attainable,
  • Relevant, and
  • Time-Bound.

Achieving these goals will increase your self-confidence and improve your decision making skills as well. Believing in yourself and your abilities will enhance and cement this process.

The enemy of success

Inertia which is the resistance to change is an enemy to your success.  It is easy to naturally think negative thoughts.  You become what you think.  Control your thoughts.  Like any habit, this can be learned.  Always pay attention to your mind and your actions and steer these in a positive direction.

So one can learn to become a successful entrepreneur regardless of your current circumstances and this starts from within.

Related: (Slideshow) 6 Stern Truths You Need to Know Before Becoming an Entrepreneur

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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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entrepreneurship-mindset

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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