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 apparently 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, it is actually possible to be a great entrepreneur and still change up your wardrobe every once in a while.
There are some skills though, that will definitely give you an advantage in the startup game. In this course, we’ll walk you through the most important ones and teach you how to work them up, if they’re not exactly part of your DNA already.
When you’re done reading, you’ll know
The five skills all entrepreneurs need to succeed
What to do if you don’t have those skills yet
Lets 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 really a master of executing on 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 someone who compliments your skill set 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 know all the important details about your business and be a treasure map for you to look at when setting goals and determining where to go next.
Prioritize your work and plan your days
We know, we know. 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 to have an overview. Otherwise, you’ll end up constantly forgetting important stuff.
And while it may take you some time and some frustrated sighs, 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 important skills to have as an entrepreneur.
Skill #2: You’re not afraid to fail, and you’re able to get back up - everytime
“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. In the moment it happens, failure hurts. Sometimes more than others. But for the people who end up succeeding, failure are 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, and that you will sometimes make mistakes can help you get comfortable with the fear of failing. Failure isn’t dangerous. More likely, it will show you which step 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 actually 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 just 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, a great idea is worth practically nothing without hard work. You won’t reach the startup stars right away. In fact, as you may know, most startups fail. And the most direct way to failure is working on an idea you don’t really care about. If you truly 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 microwave brain of yours and try to make a new idea pop. Here are some things you can do to find ideas you really care about.
To find ideas, you need to expose yourself to new things, perspectives and learning that have the potential to make you care. That’s why being curious 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 really 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. Genuine problems that are worth solving add pain to people’s lives. 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. Entrepreneurs are motivated and great at staying motivated, even when things are tough.
Like everyone else, sometimes they lose motivation. But when they do, they know how to get back up. Whatever works for them, they know what it is. And they do what it takes to keep moving. Do you sometimes struggle staying 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 your 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 a piece of 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 filled with uncertainty. No matter how good a psychic you think you are, you will never be able to predict what awaits in the future.
In fact 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 idea 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!
Want more? Dive into this inspirational goodiebag
The Tim Ferriss 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.
Getting Things Done
With this book David Allen started a movement. GTD is the result of a life long urge to identify patterns and create models that work universally. In this book you will get Allen’s world famous approach to getting things done - in business and in life.