So, you have decided to become an entrepreneur or, perhaps, you have already been in that role for a while. Congratulations! While you have your work cut out for you (Even if you are an old pro at this, the “work” never stops.) I can promise, you will feel a range of emotions that compete with any thriller roller-coaster ride with its extreme highs and stomach-dropping lows. Like I am often heard to say, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Habit #1: Listen Up! I’ve Got a Plan!
Those lofty ideas and dream clouds floating around in your head are not much good in your entrepreneur journey until you rope them in and develop a plan. Visualize it, then make a realistic outline of how to get things rolling. Many successful entrepreneurs make use of a vision board for displaying actual images of their dreams and goals. They refer to this board to keep them focused and give them visual stimuli to keep them motivated. Write your plan down and revisit it often and make adjustments if run into an obstacle. However, don’t stray too far off of your original plan or you will start getting disorganized and find yourself back at square one. Press on and find a new door if you come to one that cannot be breached.
Habit #2: You Can’t Do It All – Find Your Niche.
What’s a niche? Basically, as the saying goes, you can be a “jack of all trades, master of none,” or you can find one particular skill set that you want to become an expert in and focus your energies on. Normally, this would be an area that you gravitate toward naturally and find interest in. Don’t try to offer bookkeeping services if you hate numbers. You might do well but would be miserable shoving that shoe on.
Zoom your focus lens on what you want your niche to be and start taking workshops, watching how-to videos, connect with and learn from others in that niche, and plan on living and breathing this area to fine-tune your skills.
Habit #3: Earn the Title of “One Hard-Headed Entrepreneur.”
NOT hard-hearted. (Get that straightened out right away.) If you think you are just going to jump from new business owner to millionaire in “10 easy steps”, you are going to end up feeling discouraged and defeated pronto. Right from the starting gate, you should have the word “determination” written across your forehead with a permanent marker. Develop a hard head and a made-up mind. As a new entrepreneur, you are going to become very familiar with terms like bounce back, stickability, tenacity, and good old perseverance. Remember the story of The Tortoise and the Hare? It would do you well to not follow the attitude of the hare and think you are going to tackle this race with time for a nap. Take a cue from the tortoise who knew that “one steady step at a time will win the race”.
Habit #4: Have a Teachable Spirit
That “hard-headedness” you needed in Habit #3? Don’t overdo it and think your tenacious drive will be enough to be successful as an entrepreneur. Stubborn does not always = positive results. I mean, in the Bible, there was a reason God had to make Balaam’s donkey open his mouth and actually speak in order to get the guy’s attention. (Numbers 22:26-30) In fact, he was so furious and stubborn that it did not even faze him that he actually sat there and answered the animal back! Alright, I digress…
Listen to others and what they have to offer you in terms of advice and constructive criticism. Yes, I know criticism is a real blow to our pride, but set that aside and ask yourself if what they are saying is worth listening to. There are others who have paved the way before you and have already worked through a lot of the troubleshooting and behind-the-scenes obstacles. Often, you can save time and heartache by heading their advice.
Habit #5: Wrap it Up in a Neat, Little Package
Be organized. Mark things on the calendar. Know what you have going on at all times or you will lose business faster than cotton candy melting in a rain storm. Think about how you felt when the plumber, that was supposed to show up at 9:00 a.m., responds to your call with, “Gee, I think I wrote it down on the wrong week.” You are not going to be feeling real confident about this exchange. Your clients or customers need to depend on your word. Your consistency and dependability sets you above the competition – sometimes even when the competitor has a better product or service – because you follow through with what you promise. Your calendar needs to be front-and-center every day when you start your workday. You need to organize your tasks and objectives for the day, week, etc. and, then, not let any distractions bounce you off the course.
We all have different reasons we wanted to become an entrepreneur. Maybe you want to be your own boss. Maybe working in your pajamas sounds divine (I wouldn’t recommend it – dress for the task!). Or, perhaps, you just want your fantastic, creative ideas to be introduced to the world. Whatever your reasons, take the leap and never look back.
Need a little encouragement about the entrepreneur journey? I love this blog post by Jonathan Long on Entrepreneur.com: