Business

The Truth: What it really takes to be a Successful Entrepreneur

It’s time to tell it like it is. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. It takes more than just a good idea and a bit of effort to make it happen in the real world. Let’s find out if you have what it takes…

Later nights than ever before (and not in the club)

“Your time is your own” – they tell you. The truth? You are your business. Your business doesn’t sleep. Neither do you. If you do – you will dream… about your business. And that’s okay. It just means you’ve made the right decision, you are exactly where you’re meant to be and you’re living your purpose. Often your best ideas will come to you while you’re asleep. Make sure you have your iPhone close by to take notes.

Hustling with style

There is no 9-5 schedule if you want to be a profitable entrepreneur. You gotta always be hustling! That doesn’t mean shoving your new fancy QR coded business cards in everyone’s face either. You need to hustle with style.

Be helpful to others, ask questions, listen carefully and offer solutions, and expect nothing in return. If you can help someone successfully solve a problem, you’ll have a customer for life, whether they’ve paid you for your time or not. Being an entrepreneur is not always about the money. Actually I take that back. It’s never about the money.

Pat yourself on the back, because no-one else is going to

You added your logo to your email signature all on your own? That sounds like big girl stuff to me. Celebrate it. So often I hear entrepreneurs bringing themselves down at every opportunity. “I’m so technically challenged. I have no idea when it comes to marketing.” There’s this thing you know, it’s called Google. It knows everything. Instead of judging your shortfalls, break them down into baby steps and challenge yourself to step up. Always celebrate every win, no matter how teeny it may be.

Accepting failure with grace

So your idea didn’t work. It seemed so viable and achievable at the time. You went for it with all you had. You failed. It’s okay. The most successful of entrepreneurs have failed. A lot. Being able to accept failure with grace and learn from it is what defines you as a successful entrepreneur. “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Someone famous said that. Wait, let me Google. It was Thomas A. Edison.

Saying thank you

Thank everyone around you for the smallest things they do. In this fast paced world we live in, people often go unappreciated. A simple and boldly stated thank you can turn someone’s day around completely. And they’ll remember you for that.

Being kind

Don’t be a bitch for no reason. Sometimes there is a reason, but not always. Sometimes, the other person is just having a bad day. They didn’t mean to cut you off in traffic while you were minding your own business in your shiny car (that has your company branding all over it). Don’t hoot and throw the middle finger like a mad person. Wave, smile, turn up the music and get on with your day. You’ll feel better about life, promise.

Using your credit card

To make money, you need to spend money. Sometimes there’s an urgency about it so that you don’t miss out on a life changing opportunity. Unless you’re a trust fund kid, you will need a credit card. To shmooze big shots at fancy restaurants (in an honest and un-sleazy way of course), to buy that online course that teaches you the in’s and out’s of Twitter, or to prove to your Mom that you do actually have a real job and can afford to take her for lunch.

Acting on impulse

There will be moments when something feels so right that you just have to go with it. Do it. Don’t miss out on life because of silly excuses like no time, no money, or prior unimportant commitments. Trusting my gut feeling is one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt as an entrepreneur.

Standing up for what you believe in

I don’t take shit from anyone, as I’m sure you don’t either. As an entrepreneur there will be moments where the shit will be staring you straight in the face. In social and business situations. This is an opportunity for you. Either sit there and take it, or… be a warrior and stand up for what you believe in. You’re here to change the world aren’t you? Me too.

Crying yourself to sleep because no one else understands

Sometimes being an entrepreneur will suck like you can’t believe. No paid leave, no Christmas bonus, no petrol fund. You will have FML moments. I’ve learnt to embrace them and see them through instead of pretending to be happy and fighting them. Be a girl. Cry. Throw your toys. It’s just not fair. I know, it’s not. It will be better in the morning.

Transparency

Don’t try to be something you’re not or you’ll just land up being a second grade version of yourself (and you’re awesome!) If you’re just starting out and only have 5 clients on your books, don’t lie about that figure. Speak up and be proud of it and you’ll help your potential clients to think bigger for themselves too. That’s inspiring.

Continuing your education

Online courses. I have invested in many. You should too. There are people out there getting this entrepreneur stuff right, like very right. Instead of trying to figure out everything yourself and wasting a bunch of time, money and energy, why not shortcut your path to success and learn from the pro’s? They are where they are for a reason, because they know what they’re doing. Let them help you.

Saying no

Learning to say no is one of the most liberating and freeing lessons in life. The reason you resist saying no is because you tell yourself that it would be rude not to say yes, when in fact, you are actually disrespecting yourself and your dreams if you say yes to something that doesn’t serve your purpose or make you feel good. When you start saying no on a more regular basis, you’ll start to realize how easy it really is, and how people actually respect you for being honest with them instead of making up some lame excuse. Saying no will give you more energy to spend on the things you really want to be doing. 

Enjoying the journey and understanding that there is no finish line

We often sit and day dream about that time in the future when we’ll have that house, drive that car, go on that dream family holiday. We tell ourselves that all the hard work we’re putting in now will be worth it when we get there. I’ve got news for you. “Getting there” is a myth. That place in the future doesn’t exist and you’ll always want more. That’s just human nature. Rather draw your focus in and learn to appreciate what you’ve already accomplished today. Your purpose is to enjoy the journey, every step of the way. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Making time for those you love

When you’re committed to a goal and the deadline that comes with it, you can often become moody and snappy, especially to those closest to you. Make sure to schedule in quality time every day to connect with those who care for you the most. Even if it’s just a quick text message to let them know you still care. I know you don’t have time to spare but if you just go, go, go all the time, you’ll land up reaching your goal and feeling drained and depressed afterwards.

Professional habits

As an entrepreneur, you need to look at every social situation as a possible connection for future business. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and party anymore, it just means you need to be more aware of your behaviour and the effect it may have on others opinions of you. In Steven Pressfield’s book ‘Turning Pro‘ he gets right into the heart of developing professional habits over amateur habits and how it can change your life forever. Here’s a short excerpt:

What we get when we turn pro is we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and live out.

Letting go of projects

This comes back to my earlier point of accepting failure with grace. If a project that you’re working on doesn’t light you up anymore, and you dread working on it, it’s time to let it go. Ideas that seemed revolutionary a few months ago, will often lead you to a dead end. It’s depressing at the time, but when one door closes, another door opens. Nothing is a waste of time, absolutely everything you’ve created up until now has been beneficial to you in one way or another. (This is true in life and love). Even if it seemed like the biggest failure or mistake at the time, you will grow from that experience as a person and as an entrepreneur it will guide you in the right direction.

Self respect

Working for yourself requires a certain amount of dedication and commitment. But it also allows you the freedom of not having to work a 40 hour week. When it’s raining outside and you just don’t feel like facing the day, you really don’t have to. That’s okay, every once in a while, you’re allowed to stay in your PJ’s all day and work in your slippers, but don’t let it become a habit. You need to make a point of ‘getting ready’ even if it’s just to go and sit at your desk and send an email. Do your hair, put on some make-up and just for fun, dress to impress. It sounds silly but this is the kind of stuff that keeps you motivated and inspired to get out there and create your art.

Being innovative and creative at every opportunity

Remember, you gotta always be hustling! You can’t sit behind your computer all day and expect things to happen for you. Get out there, meet new people, market yourself. And get creative whenever you can. Collaborate with people on projects and promotions and help each other to do good in the world and spread the love.

If you’ve made it this far, you most certainly have an entrepreneurial spirit within (or starting to realize that you do).

The crazy life of an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but if you’re feeling the pull, trust your sixth sense and go for your dreams!

Now I’d really love to hear from you in the comments section below. What is the 1 habit you’ve found to be helpful in keeping you focused on your entrepreneurial journey?

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