The entrepreneur, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” That is a great synopsis, but it doesn’t go into what’s going on inside. The entrepreneur’s brain is a place full of innovative ideas and is moving roughly a thousand miles a minute. If you are hardwired with the entrepreneurial spirit, congrats! For those of us who didn’t start businesses in middle school, the points below will give you a better idea of how to think like an entrepreneur, and how to leverage it for success.
1. Find your passion.
This may seem like a given, but throwing yourself behind a new business is next to impossible if you don’t believe in what you are doing. A part of everyone wants to go venture out on their own. It’s natural, but you have to find the one thing that makes you tick in order to do it well. This doesn’t have to be an arduous experience at all either. The more you start programming your mind to look around and see where things could be improved, and how you could improve them, the closer you will get to finding your passion project. Engaging with your work breeds a sense of ownership and keeps the fire to succeed going strong.
2. Choose risk. Then risk more.
You didn’t fully commit to being an entrepreneur because you love the path more traveled. Fully committing to being an entrepreneur and launching a business is risky. There’s no doubt about that. However, in order to be a truly successful entrepreneur, you need to make risk one of your constant companions. Big success often comes from big swings, and these happen so often in business that there are four common types of business risk. Learn them, and learn how to risk effectively. My favorite example of an entrepreneurial risk-taker is Bill Gates. He dreamed big enough to drop-out of college and fully commit to the idea that they could put “a computer on every desktop and in every home”, which was a ludicrous idea in 1975. I encourage you next time that you’re making a risky decision, think of what your favorite entrepreneur would do, and use it as inspiration.
3. Identify your tribe.
Look to other entrepreneurs for support and inspiration, especially established ones. A mentor in the entrepreneurial world is as invaluable as seed money. The ability to pick their brains, learn from their mistakes, and run ideas past them is something I would not have been able to start my own digital marketing agency without.
Other successful founders will have the “risk more, reward more” mindset and will be able to really help with your ideas and struggles. Having another set of eyes on an idea or issue can often be the answer to honing a thought or solving a problem, so find your network and always keep expanding it.
4. You only have so much energy, so focus it.
I won’t lie to you—starting off on your own business venture is hard work. It can be exhausting if you let yourself get spread too thin. The ability to focus on the initial idea and passion that made you commit to starting a business is as paramount as finding the idea to begin with. Personally, I wrote down my business idea and why I wanted to do it as a mantra for myself to focus. This might not work for you, but I highly encourage you to find something that does! Have weekly check-ins with a journal to see if your original motivations still stand, and if not, discover how you can adapt your business to fit your evolving plan and act accordingly.
5. Prepare for the climb.
Finding success in business is not easy. It will require many hours, and possible failure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 20% of small businesses fail within their first year, and 50% fail within the first five years. You will have many moments where you are essentially swimming upstream. Mentally preparing for these tough moments beforehand is extremely helpful, as is knowing what to look for when you’re heading for a rough patch.
6. Keep learning.
It is very easy to start your business venture, get in the groove, and then get stuck in that routine. My personal solution to getting stuck in a certain mindset was to always challenge it by learning something new. Managerial courses; leadership seminars; and books about success stories, challenges, or current trends are excellent ways to get your hands on new thoughts. These resources can also lead to building out your essential network that I referred to in point three. The more people you connect to, the better.
I hope these points have given you a better idea on how to think like an entrepreneur, and I look forward to seeing what you do with them!