While you think becoming an entrepreneur is cool and is full of exciting times ahead, you might want to also consider the fact that entrepreneurship is only as cool as how ready you are to undertake it. People all over the globe have very different experiences and perspectives before taking on entrepreneurship which is why their experiences at being entrepreneurs are very different as well. Some love it despite failing multiple times, others simply crack down and give up, while others grow hatred towards it. Here are 10 things we think you should do BEFORE you consider being an entrepreneur or taking a shot at it.
- Travel to another country or live there if you can: Seeing is believing and understanding perspectives is key to succeeding in business and in entrepreneurship. Understand how people live elsewhere and even experience it if you can. You will soon understand the significant differences in what you deem to be problems and have much more clarity of how others perceive solutions.
- Work for others in a leadership position: While most people undertake entrepreneurship to get away from Corporate America, there is a lot of value in understanding the inner dynamics of working for others in a well oiled machine, especially at a level high enough to understand how change takes place in very large organizations, and why it takes so long. This is something many start-ups use to their advantage to gain market share over their larger competitors and it starts with understanding how things work with the big boys.
- Fix smaller problems not related to money: While you may think getting involved with your local HOA or fundraising groups are a waste of time, there is value in becoming a problem solver early on, especially in cases where resources are scarce, and your ability to create relationships with others or negotiating terms and solutions are very big parts of solving the problems themselves.
- Grow your confidence, not arrogance: The difference between arrogance and confidence is a track record and regardless of what that track record is in, the better you are at something, the more your confidence rises and you become very capable regardless of what you undertake. On the other hand, arrogance is the feeling of being accomplished without having done anything but yet is a huge threat to entrepreneurship as most arrogant people talk a lot but don’t achieve much. Accomplish more, start small, and keep growing…
- Be self-aware: Be aware of what you are capable of or not. Being an entrepreneur requires you to be self-aware and know your limitations so you can actually break through them. Understanding what your shortfalls are enables you to find a way to bridge the gap.
- Learn to confront fears: Being tested is an understatement when dealing with entrepreneurship as confronting your fears and learning to be uncomfortable is almost a daily routine. Learning to not allow fear to paralyze you will become very handy when you are an entrepreneur. We suggest practicing daily by learning to still move forward even when things make you feel uneasy. If you are afraid to skydive, take a chance, or perhaps get comfortable asking girls out. These are things that may seem small but will go a very long way.
- Start a business: We always discuss the difference between business ownership and entrepreneurship and you may have heard us say before that being in business is about profitability but entrepreneurship is about value creation. While this still holds true, there is fine line when most entrepreneur ventures cross paths with the need to have a revenue model. Therefore, learning the ins/outs of owning a business such as servicing clients, dealing with demand, and being able to scale can be a life changing experience that can really make you or break you. We recommend starting multiple businesses, even if none are successful, to understand how difficult it can be.
- Complete the 90/1/100 challenge: Our infamous challenge that has yet to be mastered. No worries, its no American Ninja Warrior but it requires extreme discipline. The challenge prepares your mind despite being related to physical endurance. The goal is simply a 90 day consecutive challenge where you commit to running 1 mile, doing a 100 push ups, and 100 sit ups each day without fail for 90 days. If you skip a day for ANY reason, you must start over. You can pace your mile or even take breaks in between push ups etc… but you must complete them everyday. Something as simple as this teaches you mind to get used to routine even if the results are not immediate. Something you’ll need when becoming an entrepreneur.
- Fail at least 10 times: Get familiar and comfortable with failure. The more you failed, the more likely you are to get up quicker and keep going. Entrepreneurship has a lot of trial and error, and while most deem those to be failure, we believe they are part of the equation for success. Getting comfortable with failure will allow you to not get hang up on those times and understand that giving up is the only failure, and it is not allowed.
- Connect the dots: Being resourceful is key to succeeding in entrepreneurship as even some of today’s best and most funded businesses fail. The idea is not to throw money at everything but rather find a way to succeed despite all odds and the lack of resources. The most stunning and important aspect is to be able to answer the question WHY for yourself before you start. Why do you want to do what you are about to do? It sometimes is difficult to do so if you haven’t previously answered that question in different context. We recommend looking back and learning to connect the dots, but remember as Steve Jobs said during his commencement speech, you can only connect the dots looking back, not forward.
Prepare well as the journey will be brutal, the encounters will be unexpected, and who you become will be someone you never knew existed. Why? #BecauseEntrepreneur.