What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? It means no more rush hour traffic jams. It means no more company Christmas parties. Being your own boss means that you have no more formal chains of command.
Imagine chasing your passion every day. Hours go by like minutes. Months move faster than a single sunset. You make time for taking care of your health. You suddenly become much more visible in your family’s life and your own life.
This is the reality for millions of people around the world who work for themselves. The harsh reality is that not everyone can become an entrepreneur. The ugly side of owning your own business is that many try each year and fail. They fail for many reasons but the primary reason is that they did not know what they did not know.
Test your ability to become an entrepreneur with these simple steps:
Fact: Most small businesses fail within the first five years. It is also true that most entrepreneurs quit just before they achieve their goals. Immediate gratification is a way of life for American society. Expectation of overnight success in a small business attempt is guaranteed failure. Accept that becoming successful takes a long time. Jon Acuff recently shared the reality that he wrote tens of thousands of words over more than a decade and he finally recently had one statement go viral.
The typical personality of a successful entrepreneur is a big picture thinker who moves through projects quickly. The enemy of any small business progress is paralysis by analysis. You must avoid both and find a proper balance. Your ability to exercise an uncanny level of situational awareness is mandatory. Work smartly by creating a custom recipe for detailed focus mixed with big picture thinking for optimum performance.
The Four Hour Work Week idea is a mostly a myth. You cannot hire others to help you solve problems until you have first solved them yourself. Do not depend on your employees to save the day every day. Develop great processes then hire competent people to execute your own processes. Never throw your employees at problems. Never assume that if you pay someone enough money that the problem will magically go away.
If you expect to get rich from your grand idea then think again. Contrary to what you see on Shark Tank and other TV programs, the reality for most small business owners is a very average income. The reward for owing your own business goes beyond the paycheck. The truth is that you could likely work less hours, have less stress, and earn more money working for someone else. There are certain quality of life rewards from being an entrepreneur that money cannot buy.
Be ready to be a generous brand. Learn to give away just about everything. No one will pay you for anything until you have first proven your value to many, often for free. An early successful launch of a product or service is critical to your long term success. It is inevitable that there are flaws in your product for which you are not aware. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Test your new idea on friends and family, work out the blemishes, then launch it to the masses. Become successful by serving others. Never be so arrogant as to think that you are the only one in the world who has the solution. Remember that this is the information age. We can learn how to do our own brain surgery via YouTube. There are no secrets.
Mr. Dave Ramsey says “live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later”. I like to say get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Becoming an entrepreneur means a serious reduction in your lifestyle. No one is wiling to make these type of changes until they are sick and tired of being sick and tired of their day job. This is a short list of what it means to “live like no one else”:
- If you expect immediate results then this is not for you. Small business ownership success is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Your ability to focus on what matters most is mandatory. Get distracted easily? Get lost.
- Be the primary problem solver. You must know how to solve problems before you can direct others to help you.
- It is not about the money. If you are in it to get rich, do not quit your day job.
- Servant leadership is mandatory. Entrepreneurship is about solving other people’s problems.
- Do what others will not. What sacrifices are you willing to make to be your own boss?
I recently attended a gathering where someone asked me what I do for work. After I explained that as a Small Business Consultant and Entrepreneur Coach I help people turn their business dreams into business reality. The response is always the same. “Does that pay the bills”? My answer is always the same. The answer depends on how many bills you have to pay. The answer is yes and no. No it did not pay the bills when I first started but I still found a way to do other things. Yes it pays the bills today but that is no guarantee for tomorrow.
- Shop at Goodwill instead of the Mall.
- Buy a used car on Craigslist versus the BMW dealer.
- Sell everything that you have not used in the last year.
- Eat more turkey sandwiches and less steak. Eat at home, not in restaurants.
- Cut off Cable TV. Better yet, sell your TV. Why are you watching TV when you have a dream to chase? Blasphemy, I know!