Since writing Third Circle Theory and my past experiences of coaching entrepreneurs, it only made sense that I highlighted my learnings as to some of the most critical mistakes I have seen most entrepreneurs make and how they should overcome them. I am hoping that some of those can help you on your journey as well.
Surround yourself with better people:
While I know networking seems to be a hot button for many entrepreneurs, I find it almost pointless to network with average, if not mediocre, wannapreneurs. Many entrepreneurs find themselves focused on finding new connections and often forget why they even reached out to people to begin with. It’s as if they feel the more people they know, the further they will likely get. There is often no agenda in this so called ‘networking’ and no reason other than to make a new friend. When networking, remember that you don’t need to connect with everyone and anyone just because they call themselves an entrepreneurs and often waste more time making new friends rather than creating great strategic partners who can help you win. Keep in mind that having a reason to reach out to someone is often much better, than simply wanting to make a contact. Also, networking with others who have been down the path you wish to go on is a much better idea than connecting with 10 people looking for their own path. It is often wiser to spend more time on how you can reach out to those that matter rather than waste time with those who hold no relevance to your growth.
Don’t seek approval, seek feedback:
I find it quite entertaining that many entrepreneurs approach me to ask me my opinion of their idea. I often tell them it’s a terrible idea only to see their reaction and commitment to it. Opposition is going to be encountered just about every day as you embark on your journey and while a few people will validate your idea, no body but your own belief matters. If another person’s opinion can impact your belief in your idea then do not waste time bringing it to life as you will most likely fail. Stop seeking approval of other people when it comes to validating your idea but instead seek feedback as to your strategy in bringing it to life. There is a lot more value in people’s opinions and objections as to how the market will react or what they like or dislike about it rather than simply their opinion that it is a good or bad idea.
Don’t consider yourself an entrepreneur just yet:
Taking on entrepreneurship doesn’t make you an entrepreneur, nor does starting your own business. I often run into individuals who are more caught up in the prestige of telling others they are entrepreneurs rather than working on their actual projects. It should be clear that entrepreneurs are those that innovate, create, and help facilitate the well-being of others. They are not those trying to do so but rather those that actually have. This is why I wrote the article “Why I don’t consider myself successful even after having made over a $1 million”. Think of the title of entrepreneur as a reward for succeeding on your venture and actually having impacted people around you. Creating an app is not being successful, launching a start-up is not successful but rather getting ½ million users to download your app or have your start-up become the way others choose to do business is success. Don’t confuse being successful with simply having done something, but rather being an entrepreneur for having done something right.
Create structure so you don’t lose time:
Too many times entrepreneurs lose sight of time as their lifestyle seems to be structure free. It is very easy to get caught up in the freedom and all the exciting things that happen daily. I, myself, struggled very hard with structure in my earlier years of entrepreneurship. It seemed like I never had time to get anything done, but always had time for a chat or hanging out with others. I quickly learned that without structure, it becomes much harder to actually progress forward. I now often get asked if it is better to work hard, fast, or smart and I always answer all the above. When you work for yourself, you have no choice but to push the envelope of impossible until you can achieve all you believe to be possible.