The following is a Guest Post by Stuart Mills of UnlockTheDoor.net
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
A lot of people love The Simpsons. I sure do. But would we turn to them if we need serious advice? Would we turn to Apu and his Kwik-E-Mart for entrepreneurial advice? I wouldn’t; the poor man works 23 hours a day, and has too many kids to count. He’s the dictionary definition of stress.
So who can we turn to? A lot of people want to start up their own businesses because they hate working ‘under’ someone, but when they finally start a business, they quickly sink because they aren’t sure what they’re doing. They’re missing something. They aren’t true entrepreneurs.
You want to be free from your boss, right? Live the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Well this leads back to the title, “Are you a true entrepreneur…?”
Ask yourself these three questions, and let’s find out.
1. Do you find yourself daydreaming of a glorious future for yourself and others?
In other words, can you see your business empire in detail, even if you haven’t started? Can you see yourself as a millionaire, multi-millionaire, or even billionaire, whilst still helping others? Can you reach your goals?
2. Can you adapt yourselves easily to change?
Can you deal with the many, inevitable setbacks that WILL occur? Can you change your strategy if the need arises? Can you drop something that just isn’t working, even if you truly, deeply love it?
3. Do you see yourself as someone who can inspire and lead others?
Can you inspire others to believe in your dreams? Will you convince them to give up their time and efforts for your cause? Could you keep their support through the rough times?
I hope I haven’t scared you off with these questions. The truth is, even those wildly successful entrepreneurs can’t always give positive answers to these questions. No-one is perfect.
And even if you said “no” to any of these questions, it doesn’t matter. Actually, even if you said “no” to all three questions, it doesn’t matter. Why? Because these questions are about traits that you can develop with practice and experience.
We can all reach the level where we can say “yes!” to all three questions. After all, you can’t climb a mountain until you’ve walked up a hill.
Having said that, it’s essential to have a plan to becoming a true entrepreneur. If you’re going to be a leader and inspire others, even in stormy weather, then you’ll need to develop some attributes. Some ‘true entrepreneur’ attributes. Here they are:
An entrepreneur doesn’t get where they want to go by doing the same things day after day, week after week. They take risks, they stretch themselves.
I remember hearing Lord Alan Sugar, of The Apprentice, talk about how he took risks when he was small, once using half of his life savings to buy equipment for his Amstrad business. He took risks, and by doing so he shown that he was a true entrepreneur, even if it wouldn’t have paid off.
How can you take risks? It’s simple, you only have to change one thing. Put your fear aside. That’s it. Move your fear out of the fore-front of your mind when you’re faced with a risk, and just go for it. If you think it’ll work, do it. If it works, brilliant! But if it doesn’t work, don’t let that deter you from the next potential risk. No two risks are the same.
James Dyson has a passion for vacuum cleaners. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have passions for technology. Walt Disney had a passion for cartoons. Every true entrepreneur out there has a passion for something, and I bet you, that something is what they’re in business for.
If you want to be highly successful, if you want to be a true entrepreneur, then you need to have a passion. It’s passion that will keep you going when everyone else has deserted you. It’s passion that will fire you up to work that extra hour or three to finish an important project. Passion is essential.
How do you find passion? You don’t. Your passion has already been set, even if you don’t know what it is yet. Do what you love to do, that’s your passion. And if you know your true passion, then what are you waiting for? Put it to use in business! With technology today, there’s a business for everything. No matter what your passion is, you can make an income out of it.
Everyone needs a tough skin. Entrepreneurial types, too. Everyone needs the skin of a rhino to help them charge through obstacle after obstacle. If you don’t have tough skin, then how can you expect to get anywhere that is worth going to? Having a tough skin will not only help you survive the many blows that’ll come your way, but it’ll also send a message out to everyone that can see. That message will say: “I’m not going anywhere. I’m here to stay.”
How can you develop thick skin? I used to have thin skin, but I developed a thick skin when I realised that other people don’t have your best interests in mind. They aren’t going to clear the road ahead for you. If you want to do something, then YOU must make it happen.
And by doing the hard work, a tough skin will come naturally. Scratches and knocks will come, but they won’t get you down, they’ll only harden you up. If you have the passion, as mentioned earlier, then your skin will toughen up almost magically.
This attribute is perhaps most important, because even if you have the previous three in abundance, they won’t matter one jot if you don’t have discipline.
Discipline is the backbone of your business, the supporting pillars. It’s so important to be disciplined throughout your days, as everyone will be looking to you. If you don’t behave the way you want others to behave, why should they?
You can develop discipline, that entrepreneur mindset, even with baby steps, by being consistent. The key is to be consistent. It’s far better to spend 7 days in a row on small improvements, then spend just 2 days in a week on massive improvements. I say this because, otherwise, you won’t grow. You’ll just have growth spurts, then return to where you were before.
With consistent discipline, your business will climb mountains, one step at a time.
Everyone can become a entrepreneur, because everyone already IS a entrepreneur.
If you can nurture your spirits and your dreams by developing these four attributes, and if you keep asking yourself these three questions on a consistent basis, then you can achieve whatever you want. Because that’s the secret of a true entrepreneur; they already know they can do it.
I’d like to thank Chris for offering me the chance to write for his amazing website. He does a lot of exceptional work on forging your entrepreneurial path, and I wish him the best.
And for reading this post, I thank you! 🙂
[Chris Here! And, thank you, Stuart for writing such a great guest post. You’re bang-on, my man – anyone and everyone can become an entrepreneur. It all comes down to passion, having the right attitude, being innovative and to become ultra-successful – a little bit of good old fashioned luck! Thanks for contributing, bud. If you would like to be featured on the VBL Blog as part of our Guest Post Friday series of authors, feel free to let me know!]