The Entrepreneurial Mind – How to Think Like an Entrepreneur
Do you ever wonder if you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur and perhaps one day, start your own business? Most people are really happy with their jobs and have no interest in starting their own business, let alone taking any unnecessary risks by quitting their paid jobs. However, there are many other people that are at least intrigued at the idea of starting their own business and venturing into their own entrepreneurial life.
Entrepreneurial life is tough, it’s not for everyone, it takes a great deal of discipline, it requires taking a lot of risks, and yes, it can be very rewarding too.
“Only a warrior can handle the road to become unbeatable. His life is a challenge, and challenges are not good or bad. They’re simply challenges.”
Here are ten points that you should consider if you want to become an Entrepreneur, or at least, points that you should keep in mind while making your decision.
- Your Most Valuable Asset is TIME. I’ve said this several times. Forget money, homes, cars, investments and all other material things. None of those will be worth sh*t when you don’t have time. All the money in the world will not buy you any more time either. When you’re time is up, that’s it! You’re done and you can’t get anymore. If you only had one day left to live, would you be spending it sitting curb side next to an Apple store to be the first to get the new iPhone (yes, the same iPhone that you can get a week later in 5 minutes with all the initial bugs taken care of)? Or scrolling countless hours on Facebook reading other people’s silly updates? If you’re an employee, how you use your time is somehow dictated to you and you have your “work hours” to get things done. When you’re an entrepreneur, you will find yourself always thinking about your business and how to make each day better than the day before. You will need to use your “TIME” much more wisely.
- The Buck Stops with You. When you work for someone else, you always have a “shield” protecting you, and if you make a bad decision, it is very unlikely that the business will suffer. As an entrepreneur, you are now the person with the ultimate responsibility for everything that happens to your business. You’re no longer able to sit quietly at a meeting, because YOU call the meeting. You can’t wait for things to happen because YOU make them happen. You can’t wait for someone else’s ideas because you need to come up with YOUR ideas. Your business success now depends on YOU. This is a tremendous opportunity if you know how to take advantage of it!
- Don’t Chase Money. Nowadays, people spend so much time chasing money! “Get rich quick” schemes are everywhere! The ultimate “money chasing” event is to play Lottery. What a ridiculous way to take an entire shortcut in your life and expect an immediate pay-off. There’s a reason why most of the large-sum lottery winners end up as real losers, broke, divorced, drunk, in jail, or some combination of the above. Instead, live your life making a difference to others, don’t waste time, limit your liabilities, offer good value to your clients, and more than likely, money will take care of itself. In other words, you will be “attracting” money rather than chasing it. It is not much different when you become an entrepreneur. The more you chase money, the more elusive it becomes. Instead, focus on providing value to your clients, solving their problems and helping them succeed. When you do that, your revenues will just be a byproduct of your success.
- Make Money Work for You, Not the Other Way Around. And speaking of money, everybody knows that successful people also master the formula to make money work for them rather than them working for money. It is no chance that successful entrepreneurs are usually financially independent. It always makes me laugh when I hear people complain about how so and so is so rich, and he pays so little taxes, and he works so little time, blah, blah, blah. In reality, the same people that make those uneducated comments, are the ones who keep chasing the “magic pill” (see #6 below) and want to take a shortcut and keep buying lottery tickets hoping that one day, they too will be like the person they are criticizing. In the meantime, they continue to buy more than they can afford, they are in debt up to their eyeballs, they live paycheck to paycheck, and they take no action to get out of their rat race. There’s a reason why successful people are successful. They work very hard so that step by step, they rely less on working for money and create opportunities to have money work for them.
- Stress is Your Ally: When you work for someone else, although you may still worry about your tasks and deadlines, you don’t really worry as much about the success of a particular project since you’re just doing what you’re told to do. When you become an entrepreneur, you are now deciding what to do or not to do and what you want your employees to do for you. There’s no “comfort zone” for you anymore and in fact, if you’re not feeling uncomfortable and stressed out about some of the ventures that you decide to pursue, you’re probably not taking enough risks. Higher risks equal higher rewards. Believe in yourself, eat your stress, and create your own path to succeed.
- The Elusive Magic Pill. We’ve become used to living in a society that demands a “magic pill” solution to all of our problems. You had a few too many drinks last night? No problem, just take these pills to help you with the hangover. That succulent dinner is giving you acid reflux? That’s ok, here are some pills for that too. Oh, you mean, that succulent dinner happens almost every night and you’re now feeling way out of shape? There’s a solution for that too. How about starting this “3 week magic diet” that promises to cut your weight in half? Novice entrepreneurs are often also victims of the same “Magic Pill” syndrome. Printing a nice business card and giving yourself the title of “President & CEO” of your new company doesn’t make you a successful business person. Pretending to be busy reading other people’s success stories doesn’t make YOU or your business successful either. Stop relying on magic pills, don’t take shortcuts and instead, take action and work every day on getting rid your bad habits! Success is a journey, not an overnight event as much as many people would like to think otherwise.
- Love Thy Numbers. When you’re an employee, chances are, the only real numbers that you worry about are that your paycheck and commission amounts are correct every other week. All the rest, are very much out of your control. As an entrepreneur, every single number related to your new company will affect you directly. Whether you’re preparing a proposal for a client, projecting your revenues, estimating your tax liabilities, managing your balance sheet and cash flow, or taking care of your investments, loans, or payroll, you’d better love numbers and be good (make that great) in math because your business life will now depend on it. The greatest ideas or the best products will never make you successful if your math is wrong. Learn to love your numbers!
- Recognize Your True Assets. And speaking of numbers, let’s just clarify the difference between an “Asset” and a “Liability.” An Asset is something that “makes” you money. A Liability is something that “costs” you money. Why is it so hard to understand? I keep running into people that tell me that their home is their most valuable “asset” yet they have 25 years left in their mortgage. Folks, please understand that your home, unless you own it and it is completely paid off, is your largest LIABILITY. And if you don’t believe it, just quit paying your mortgage for a couple of months and see how quickly, what you thought was your most valuable “asset,” is taken away from you. And the same applies to your business. Please, don’t go out and buy a “company car” using your business credit card to pay for it and think of your new car as a business asset. Any piece of equipment that you lease or buy on credit is nothing more than an added liability for your and your business. It just makes your start each month with a negative cash flow. The more you buy on credit, the more liabilities you have. Keep your debt to a minimum or better yet, have zero debt, and your business will grow much faster.
- Work Location Independent. If you want to be really successful in the future, you must find an occupation that is “Location Independent.” You started your own business to be more independent, so why not set it up so that you can also be “location independent?” Any business that requires you to be in an office 9 to 5, will not be much different than the job you just left. If you want to grow into the unlimited possibilities of becoming “Me.inc” you must be able to be Location Independent or in other words, a “Laptop Entrepreneur.” The world doesn’t work 9 to 5; opportunities come around all the time at any time; money never sleeps… this doesn’t mean that you have to work 15 hours a day. Quite the opposite. It means that you don’t have to spend two hours a day stuck in traffic while commuting to and from your office. It means that you can take any time of the day off to take care of a personal matter. It means that you can adjust your daily schedule to fit your individual lifestyle. It just means that you are free and “Location Independent.” Either that, or you leave your home each day at 7:00 AM to go to work and get back home at 7:00 PM, after a so-called “eight-hour-day” in which with so many distractions, you only worked effectively six of those hours, if that. Work the same six hours from any other location (including your home), under your own schedule, without distractions, and you’ll find yourself right away with six extra hours every day! See point number 1 at the top of this article!
- Help Other People Succeed. One of the most rewarding aspects of being an entrepreneur is the number of opportunities that you get to help other people succeed. And I’m not just talking about helping your clients succeed which should always be your first goal. I’m talking about helping other fellow entrepreneurs, whether established or aspiring, with their own endeavors and dreams. The entrepreneurial road could sometimes be a very lonely road; however, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction when you positively contribute to other people’s success. Giving Back should always be near the top of your “To Do” list. Be generous and you will become wealthy in more ways than you can imagine.
Are you ready to become an Entrepreneur? If so, you will also like to read this other article about starting your own business.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave your comments below. Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)