Ok so the truth is, is that there are literally hundreds of principles I could go into right now as being a valuable asset for any entrepreneur.. probably an entire book’s worth.. And the thing is, is that they’d all be just as true the next, but my challenge today was in finding just 7, and these 7 are the one’s that scream out to me, as having kept me afloat for the past however many years I’ve been in the game. Entrepreneurship is one of if not the hardest spaces in the world to punch successfully in, but by no means is it impossible, and in my opinion with the right frame of mind, anyone can make it.
When I was at the very starting line in my journey I felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month, to achieve what I set out to. Entrepreneurship felt like this world of never ending to do’s and places to be, calls to make, and people to talk to.. and whilst that’s always true, there’s a certain perspective needed here, and that’s this: “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither will your business.. In fact if you do it right, you’re business will never be technically “complete” because there’s always fine tuning and evolution at play.. But to get to this point you have to be consistent. Show up when you say you will, work and push through your comfort zones when they scream at you, and always be moving forward, even if moving forward means a baby steps to start with. One brick at a time builds the wall- consistency is key.
As an entrepreneur you are going to be challenged.. You’ll be turned away, told no, hung up on, laughed at, and refused many times but what you have to know is that this probably isn’t a reflection on you as a person.. In my experience you have to be a real slime ball to have that effect on people in the business world.. I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of working with some of these people, but that aside.. You have to be persistent. If you have a vision for yourself, your business, your idea, and it sets you on fire then you have an obligation to yourself and maybe the world to see it through. Persistence could mean early to rise late to bed, it may mean not taking no for an answer, but certainly above all, it means never ever giving up. You have to knock and knock and knock on the doors of your dreams. Then if that doesn’t work, just kick the door down.
3. Selective Deafness
Yes you read that right.. You have to know when to stop listening to certain people around you and start listening to what’s going on inside you- your intuition, your soul, your gut, whatever you want to call it. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road for a while.. I’ve lost people who I thought were friends, and I have family that really don’t know what I do yet still look down on me because it’s not “conventional” according to their definition. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to train yourself to only take advice from people around you who’ve achieved the results you’re looking for, in the area that they’re giving you advice on. That might sound obvious but it’s harder than you might think.. You’ll find that when you’re doing the kind of stuff you do as an entrepreneur, everyone is going to have an opinion and it can distract you and cost you time and stress. Focus on what you’re doing, and seek mentors who have actual valuable input to add.. Let everything else be white noise.
If you’re an entrepreneur then chances are you have the ability to see things that 99% of other people don’t let themselves see. What makes an entrepreneur is that he or she has the ability to see something where there’s nothing and take tangible steps towards creating a result. Never stop cultivating your vision that which you wish to achieve. Focus energy on the end product of your goals to give you the steam to do what you have to do right now to get there. Vision is the fuel behind your project, your business, your everything. Keep one eye on the prize, and another focused on where you are right now..
5. Self Motivation
Like I said before.. Entrepreneurship can be a long and lonely road where you have to battle your innermost demons to stay alive and motivated. The truth is, is that there’ll be times when you’ll want to give up, throw in the towel and get the hell out but I sincerely hope you don’t. We have the ability to change how we feel and view any situation in a moment’s notice if we’re willing. All of our emotions are the product of the thought patterns we engage in, and all thought patterns can be consciously controlled. Learn to focus on what matters and what’s really true when times are tough. Temporary defeats are often just roadblocks on the path to success, and you need to know that you can bust through them with the right mindset. Focusing on WHY you’re an entrepreneur in the first place, and what the result of your success will be is just one way to keep yourself on track. Muhammad Ali said this: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” Accept defeat as temporary and not as a direct reflection on who you are as a person, take stock of what really matters, and focus on what makes you a winner. Winning is about picking yourself up an eighth time after falling down for the seventh.
6. Be Congruent
As an entrepreneur you’ll find that there is always distractions around you.. You’ve always got something to do, people wanting something from you, and just when everything seems to be going right a spanner will be carefully placed in your well oiled machine. But on the other side of that, sometimes everything will be going swimmingly and an opportunity will fall into your lap unexpectedly which requires your focus and energy. Believe it or not, opportunities can be stressful! I’ve had opportunities come up that would have pulled me miles away from my course at any one time. Some of these opportunities were lucrative, exciting, yet poles apart from my desires and I’d turn them down.. The trick is for you to be crystal clear on what you want, so that when distractions or opportunities come up, you can make calculated decisions as to how to act moving forward. Never put yourself in a position where you’re going against what you believe, or what you want to achieve, even for the sake of money.. Remember that as an entrepreneur, you’re a brand too, and your reputation is a massive element of your value. Be congruent with who you are as a person, and as a professional, and I guarantee you won’t go wrong.
7. Fail, fail, and fail some more.
Yep that’s right, run into as many brick walls as you can.. I’m reluctant to say this next bit but I will- make the mistake of blowing cash (your own preferably) on business decisions.. and be willing to graze metaphorical knees on your journey. As an entrepreneur, and as many of my mentors have said to me “You’ll make more mistakes and get it wrong more times than you’ll get it right… But it’ll be that one time you get it right, that you’ll get it very very right.” That’s kind of daunting, and it does take a lot not to fight that belief but trust me- when you have a win straight out the gate you’ll get a pat on the back and it will stroke your ego.. but when you lose a battle, and when you make mistakes, you’ll earn an education. Education, especially in business is currency, and worth it’s weight in gold. The entrepreneur who accidentally makes millions overnight (whilst very very very rare) is a lucky guy or gal with a nice payday.. an entrepreneur who’s fallen out of a tree, hitting every branch on the way down, to get up and climb again is a superstar, who WILL make a real difference in this world. Sara Blakely, the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire was brought up by her dad with the philosophy of making sure you fail at least once a day and actively learning from it. She took that attitude and openly attributes her $5,000 investment which turned $1 billion profit, to that philosophy in failing forward.
Of the many principles I could have rattled off here, it’s these 7 that scream to me. It’s these 7 that have carried me through some of the steepest hills in my journey, and gotten me through some my lowest lows. Be brave, be pioneering, listen to your heart, and don’t be afraid of getting a bruise along the way.