Some people say entrepreneurs are born, not made. That’s only partly true. Some people seem to be entrepreneurs from birth. Sometimes the entrepreneurial gene doesn’t kick in until later in life.
Whenever it happens there are ten golden rules any prospective entrepreneur should obey. So get a sheet of paper and let’s get to work. Fill in your qualifications under each heading.
Motivation. You must be clear about what you want and why you want it. For example, it isn’t enough to say ‘I want to make a lot of money’. What do you want it for? How much do you want? How soon do you want it? How determined to get it are you?
Control. You must be prepared to take control of your life. You decide when you work. You decide where you work. (Work at home, or in the car, or on the beach, etc.) You decide how many hours, days, weeks you work. You decide how much money you make.
Prepared to take risks. The life of the entrepreneur is not risk free. Things can go wrong – BUT – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Learn when to quit and change direction and when to hang in there and weather the storm. If one path isn’t the right one you can always take another. The secret is to keep your eyes open for new opportunities.
Resilient. This is very much linked to the previous point. I want you to think of a tall tree in a high wind. It might thrash about and bend a bit in the gale but only rarely does it break. Why do tall buildings like the Empire State building have a built in factor that allows it to sway in the wind? Both these things can survive intact because they are resilient. They can react to the surrounding conditions and more or less escape serious damage. If they were absolutely rigid they would break under the pressure. The entrepreneur has to be flexible to deal with changes in the marketplace.
Enjoy a challenge. Being an entrepreneur is a challenge. It has no place for the ‘what ifs’. (What if it all goes wrong? What if I don’t make any money? What if I’m a failure? What if the sky falls on my head?’ If you’re a ‘what if’ forget about being an entrepreneur and get yourself a nice steady job.
Prepared to take the plunge. It’s like standing at the edge of the swimming pool when you can’t swim. Until you take the plunge you will never learn. But every time you do it you become more skilful and the easier it gets. Keep at it and before long you will be diving in from the highest board and coming up smiling.
Mix with the right people. There are always people prepared to put you down. Unfortunately these are often family or friends. This isn’t done out of malice, it’s more from a subconscious fear that somehow they’ll be ‘losing’ you – that you are moving onto a different plane. As far as you can you should keep company with fellow entrepreneurs. Take your family and friends with you if you can but never neglect to have regular contact with positive thinkers or you will be dragged back into the daily drudge. Once you’ve shown that you haven’t evolved into some sort of snooty conceited bighead your family and friends might admit that they were wrong!
Open to new ideas. Entrepreneurs never consider that they have reached the highest peak. As soon as they have reached the top of one project mountain they will look for another one to climb. It’s exactly the same adrenalin surge that keeps mountaineers trying for ever more difficult ways of climbing Everest. Others might follow but the prize is to the people who got there first.
Willing to learn from others. Be prepared to learn about the skills you will need from other successful entrepreneurs. Attend some of the bootcamps that are organised. There is one caveat here – don’t become a bootcamp junkie! There are some would-be entrepreneurs who go from one bootcamp to another but never take the plunge and try to put what they have learnt into practice. In other words they keep going to the swimming pool but never actually get into the water.
Not content with one success. The true entrepreneur never stops. Success isn’t the be-all and end-all. As I said before, when he/she has reached the top of one mountain they look for the next one to climb. It’s enervating, it’s fun – and the view from the top is fantastic.