Is 'quirky' part of the job description for entrepreneurs?
Have you ever heard those stories about successful entrepreneurs with all sorts of quirky habits that should explain why they have become the huge successes they are? Like wearing the same clothes every single day. Or breaking their days down into five-minute intervals. Or reading 50 books a year.
And have you ever thought that if that's what it takes to become an entrepreneur, you're probably better suited for a day job? No need to give up just yet. While quirky habits make good stories and probably work for Zuckerberg, Musk and Gates, you can be a great entrepreneur and still change up your wardrobe every once in a while.
So do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?
The fact that you have thought to yourself, "I want to be an entrepreneur," is already a pretty clear sign. And there's not just one right recipe for what makes a good entrepreneur.
There are some skills, though, that will give you an advantage in the startup game. A good first step to take is to touch base with those skills.
Wondering what other steps you need to take? Check out this course: How to start a startup from scratch - 32 steps from idea to growth
In this course, we'll walk you through the most important entrepreneurial skills and show you how to become a successful entrepreneur. We will introduce you to the entrepreneurial spirit’s essence and explore some tips on making it in 2021. And if they're not part of your DNA already, we will teach you how to work them up.
When you’re done reading, you’ll know
- The five skills all entrepreneurs need to have- or develop to succeed
- How to develop the right mindset to be successful with your startup business
How to define the art of Entrepreneurship
Before we look at what it takes to be an entrepreneur, well, what exactly is an entrepreneur? What does he or she do? Let’s look at some definitions and see if this reflects your entrepreneurial spirit.
In simple terms, an entrepreneur is a person who starts a new business and carrying that venture’s risks and responsibilities. On the flip side, the entrepreneur will also be the one who gains the most winnings from starting the new company.
But is that all to be an entrepreneur? Well, entrepreneurs are those who seize new market opportunities and is not afraid to run those risks.
What makes an entrepreneur?
But there is a difference between being an inventor and an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur doesn’t just create a new product for the sake of it. No, the entrepreneurs are focused on finding that golden opportunity and filling out a potential gap in the market. The goal is to profit.
This doesn’t exclude that entrepreneurs indeed are innovative creatures. Indeed, the word “entrepreneur” originates from the French verb “entreprendre,” which means “to undertake.” The entrepreneur is always looking for new opportunities to seize and launch a (hopefully) profitable business.
Does this brief introduction resonate with you? Are you itching to get started with your business venture? Are you still in doubt whether you have the skills to match your entrepreneurial idols? We present the five most essential skills that show you if you are ready to go the extra mile and become an entrepreneur.
Let's dive right in...
Skill #1: You know how to act
Your ability to act on your idea will ultimately determine your success as an entrepreneur. Poorly executed ideas are worth practically nothing. Ideas that aren’t executed at all, well.. You do the math. Successful entrepreneurs act, even when they don’t quite know what to do.
Not a master of executing your ideas? Here are a few tips that’ll help you:
Having a partner is probably one of the best pieces of advice we can give you, especially if you sometimes struggle to get stuff done. Try to find a business partner who complements your skillset and personality - and someone you get along with, of course. That way, you can help each other push through, even when you’d rather stay home on those dark, cold Monday mornings.
Write a solid business plan
Your business plan is not just a piece of paper to show to investors. A great business plan will help you outline all the details about your business and be a treasure map for you to look at when setting goals and to determine where to go next.
You might want to read: How to write a startup business plan
Prioritize your work and plan your days
If you’re not a planner by nature, this probably sounds just about as fun as matching a laundry basket full of socks. But stick with us. Because as an entrepreneur, you need an overview. Otherwise, you’ll end up constantly forgetting important stuff.
And while it may take you some time and some sighs of frustration, once you get into the habit, we promise it’ll be fine. No matter how you feel about it, being able to plan and prioritize is by far one of the most crucial skills to have as an entrepreneur.
Skill #2: You’re not afraid to fail, and you get back up - every time
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10.000 ways that won’t work” - Thomas Edison
For a true entrepreneur, failure is never definitive. At the moment it happens, failure hurts. Sometimes more than others. But for the people who end up succeeding, failure is lessons learned and will ultimately pave the way for success.
Not completely in love with the concept of failure? Here are a couple of ways you can work on getting comfortable with mistakes:
Accept that failure is inevitable
Everyone makes mistakes. Most people fail more times than they succeed. But if you quit the first time you fail, you won’t ever get the chance to succeed.
Accepting that you will make mistakes can help you get comfortable with the fear of failing. Failure isn’t dangerous. More likely, it will show you what steps to take next.
Know how to get back up
You will make mistakes. Probably lots of them. Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that mistakes and failure can help you go where you need to go - if you let them.
That’s not to say that it won’t suck. It will. And that’s exactly why you should know how to best get back up. This tends to be different from person to person. Sometimes the best thing is to push through and get back to work, while at other times, you may need to take a day off and go do something nice for yourself.
Skill #3: You care about the problem
Let’s be real. While you may sometimes dream of finding that million-dollar idea, even the best idea is worth nothing if you don't put in the work. You won’t reach the startup stars right away. In fact, most startups fail. And the most direct way to failure is working on an idea you don’t really care about. If you genuinely care about the problem you’re trying to solve, you will do what it takes to make it happen.
So.. Do you care? If not, jump back into that brain of yours and try to make a new idea pop. Here are some things you can do to find ideas you care about.
To find ideas, you need to expose yourself to new things and perspectives. Curiosity is one of the best ways to get ideas flowing. Follow the news, read books, talk to people, and don’t be afraid to throw yourself into discussions that challenge your own viewpoints. Do it often and a whole new world of thoughts, ideas and possibilities might just arise.
Find out what pisses you off
Sorry about the language.
But if something in your life annoys you enough, you’ll do what it takes to make it go away. And if something makes you tick, chances are it does the same to someone else. Problems that adds pain to people's lives are problems worth solving. Think of a solution to one of those, and you’re good to go.
Skill #4: You’re motivated - and keep going when you’re not
Most days, successful entrepreneurs wake up with an itching feeling of excitement in their bodies, ready to get to work. They are motivated and great at staying motivated, even when things are tough.
Like everyone else, sometimes they lose motivation. But what distinguishes them from others is that they know how to get back up. In other words, an entrepreneur is one who does what it takes to keep moving.
Do you sometimes struggle to stay motivated? Here are some tips for you:
Remember why you started
If you’re really passionate about your idea, you probably won’t have to struggle too much with your motivation. At least not at first. Hopefully, the sheer passion will be enough to keep you motivated most of the time. But sometimes, motivation will fail you. And in those times, it’s important to remember why you started.
When you feel like you’re about to be buried in crap and want to throw everything you’ve built off a cliff, you need to remind yourself why you jumped into this mad adventure in the first place. So do yourself a favor and write it down. Not on a sucky post-it. No, no, no. Put it on a big ass sheet of paper and put that paper in a place where you can’t avoid looking at it.
Action builds motivation
If you’re having one of those days where your backbone feels about as strong as overcooked spaghetti, pushing through might be the best way to regain motivation.
You can’t stay motivated all the time, but you can choose to keep going anyway. A lot of the time, you’ll find that motivation comes back to you if you just do something.
Skill #5: You’re okay with uncertainty and willing to take risks
The startup path is uncertain. No matter how good a psychic you think you are, you can never predict what awaits in the future. Most of the time, you probably won’t even be able to predict what happens tomorrow. And you need to be okay with that. Unless you want your business to stay a side hustle forever, risks and uncertainty are inevitable.
Is taking risks not really on your list of favorites? We get it. And while there’s really no way around it, there are ways to handle it:
Prepare for challenges and be ready to pivot
There will be challenges. It’s one of the fundamentals of all the startup craziness. So you might as well prepare to face them. Whenever they come, whatever they are.
How will you act when something’s difficult? Are you ready to pivot your startup when you need to? How will you go about that? Have a chat with yourself (or your team) even before it happens. Having thought about it in advance will help you handle the challenges ahead.
Know the unknowns
A risk is a risk because it has unknown factors that are hard or impossible for you to predict. But some of the unknowns can probably be brought to life. That will help you minimize the risk and then calculate if you think it’s worth taking.
Oh, and a side note.
If you think great entrepreneurs are people who jump at risky stuff every chance they get just for the heck of it, you’re wrong. Great entrepreneurs are great at exactly what we just told you. Minimizing risk and calculating if what’s left of it is worth taking.
So.. Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? We bet you do.
Now get back to work!
Signs that you are not cut out for the job?
Like a marriage, being an entrepreneur means that you are willing to put in the working hours. If you are starting a business on your own, this means that you are in a devoted relationship with your business, and well, yourself. Unlike a marriage, you don't begin the journey on your honeymoon.
Just like it takes skills to start a new business, it also takes time and devotion. How do you know if you may not be cut out for the job? For some people, entrepreneurship is almost like a calling. There is no alternative. You may find the idea compelling. The thought of being your own boss, imagine that. But is that enough? We present you with some traits that suggest starting your own business is or isn't your calling:
You are not a problem solver
Entrepreneurs often can see anything but problems. That is why they are most fun at parties. No, joking aside, the ability to spot problems is essential to being a successful entrepreneur. In your daily life, do you often stop and wonder why things are the way they are? Or that something is inefficient and you have a much better way of solving it? Not all ideas make for successful businesses. But it is the first step to becoming an entrepreneur. Are you lost for ideas or maybe just contempt with the ways this is, then entrepreneurship may not be your chosen path.
You procrastinate daily tasks
"I will do it Monday". Does that phrase sound familiar? Procrastinating tasks is something we all do from time to time. But if you fail to solve essential tasks while starting a business, it could have catastrophic consequences. If you are new to writing a business plan, it can seem quite intimidating. But sweeping it under the rug will not help you. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Entrepreneurship takes hard work, dedication, and managing your time efficiently. Would you prefer someone else to crack the whip? Then a day to day job might be a better fit for you. Do you enjoy being your own boss, cracking that whip? Then cut the mustard.
The comfort zone is just so comfy
Have you ever come across the Swedish children's book Pippi Longstockings? Well, one of her mottos is "I have never tried that before, so I should definitely be able to do it". Being an entrepreneur means continuously taking on new tasks that you have little or no experience doing like diving into the buffet blindfolded and tasting whatever is presented to you. Entrepreneurs relish in the challenges that new business ventures throw at them. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, then you should stick with the coffee.
Entrepreneurship is a ticket to quick cash
Well, it is not. If you think that starting a business is a fast way to earn money, you better think again. Not that your business eventually can't drive revenues, because it can. However, many startups can go years without seeing a single dime. Money for money's sake will never work in the world of entrepreneurial business development. Remember that many businesses fail in their first attempts. Sounds too intimidating? Being an entrepreneur means doing it anyway. And if your idea, market research, and business plan are solid, you can come a long way by working hard.
How to make it as an entrepreneur in 2021?
Many startups in the UK are still feeling the Brexit hangover. Do you want to get the inside scoop on how other startups are managing the new economic realities? We present some tips on starting a business in 2021.
Choose your battles
The problems of the world are ever-growing. Should your business solve them all? No. Limiting your scope and focus on solving real issues could transform your business into a high-demand service. Now, make hay while the sun shines and decide how you want to make the world a better place.
Set a flexible structure for your staff
During the 2020 pandemic lockdown, many business owners learned the value of flexible working environments. This unfortunately also meant that the one that couldn't adapt quickly enough sank. While we are not expecting a second, third, or fourth lockdown, it shows how a flexible working environment broadens your opportunities. It applies both in terms of hiring the right people and embracing individual working structures that can boost employee drive and business productivity. Remember that your employees are an essential asset to drive your business' success. And it is a poor workman who blames his tools.
Consider starting a business with your family
The old saying goes "never to mix business with pleasure". But in 2021, that might just be what you should do. It is very hard, physically, and mentally, to start a business alone. Finding good people can be challenging. Therefore some business owners have seized the opportunity and started a family business. If you find that your family has the skills and drive to match your venture, this could be a match made in heaven. With most people working from home, you can even save money on office rent. However, we still advise you to separate your business issues from your personal life. This way, you don't end up burning your bridges.
Want more? Dive into this inspirational goodie-bag
The Tim Ferris Show
Tim Ferris invites the World’s top performers in business, arts, sports and much more to share their stories, words of wisdom and the tips, tools and tricks that helped them get where they are today.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Building and running a business is really hard. This is the simple yet, well, hard point, Ben Horowitz makes. He shares his own story and along the way makes important points about leadership, honesty and always putting people above product.
- Is 'quirky' part of the job description for entrepreneurs?
- When you’re done reading, you’ll know
- How to Define the Art of Entrepreneurship
- Skill #1: You Know How to Act
- Skill #2: You're Not Afraid To Fail
- Skill #3: You Care About the Problem
- Skill #4: You're Motivated - and Keep Going When You're Not
- Skill #5: You're Okay With uncertainty and Willing to Take Risks
- Signs That You Are Not Cut Out For the Job
- Useful Tools