About Being A Successful Entrepreneur

Many ask me one question over, and over, and over (did I say over?) again about entrepreneurship. Regardless of whom, along with income level, job title, __________(fill in the blank) it’s some version of the following: “What do you recommend I should do? And will it work?”

At first blush one might think “Well duh! Aren’t you in the advice giving business?” It’s a fair point.  Yet, it does miss that underlying premise of the question. i.e., Asking for a guarantee of it “working.”

For if that is the real question (and 99.9% of the time that’s exactly what it is) anyone that reflexively answers back to you “Yes!” without giving any further details and then wants to you charge for it? My advice is to not just walk away – but run, and run fast!

People more or less come to hear me speak, or read my writings for entrepreneurial based insights. So inevitably someone will ask something along the lines of: “To be a successful entrepreneur, what does one need to do first in order to guarantee success? Do I need to quit my job today and strike out on my own now?” Etc., etc.

Below is how I’ve addressed this in the past when there’s been a little more time for a more in-depth answer. Rather, than just the usual quick Q&A allotted time during a typical speech. Maybe it will give some of you insights for your own introspection when you think about new directions of adventure and wondering, “What direction should I go? What if it doesn’t work? Can I live with my choices?” Again – etc., etc….

Question: “To be a successful entrepreneur, what does one need to do first in order to guarantee success? Do I need to quit my job today and strike out on my own now?”

My answer: “Well that depends. First off, let’s answer what “success” means for you. If you want to be a “successful entrepreneur” in its truest sense, entrepreneur actually means building something bigger than yourself. So to do it while working for another is a little bit tricky and contradictory. e.g., You’re self-employed in one legal fashion or another.

However, if you want to work in what I call the “entrepreneurial mindset” in other words; when you fully comprehend the implications and responsibilities that  You’re in the business of You, you can work with employers (as in you still are an employee) where you feel you as well as they can contribute mutual benefits and compensation to each other: You don’t have to quit anything except your current mindset to achieve your ultimate goals.

One can (and many do) work perfectly well within the “employer – employee” model. The key is in: the understanding of which avenue you want to pursue. There are degrees of responsibility to each as well as compensation. However, your loyalty as well as full dedication to help either prosper to your fullest ability stays the same.

To give you a general example of what I mean let me explain it this way…

As a person working with the “entrepreneurial mindset” for an employer it may include; going above and beyond what is expected, or asked of you. In other words, you don’t need to be told, or asked to work late, or something other to complete a project and such. Or, you go out of your way to study industry trends and more during off time as to make yourself more informed and more valuable to your position.

And if your current employer doesn’t reward you, or appreciate you to a level that’s commensurate with your dedication to the company – you don’t get mad, complain, hold back, do shoddy work, etc. You continue at your full pace and seek employment elsewhere that you feel will.

That’s what I mean by “you’re in the business of you” (or as my next book is titled “The business of I”) Regardless of where or whom you’re working for. You see yourself first as “the business” regardless of any other employee/employer construct.

The first, and most important aspect to get into your gut is: If you are in fact: a business. Then you must act, and think like one 24/7/365. In general “employees” tend to think in terms of: I do only as I’m told and no more. 8hrs a day/5days a week/with vacation-sick time-and what ever else I deem fit regardless if it inconveniences others or not.

Entrepreneur on the other hand as in – you are the company whether sole proprietor or corporate founder. You still must be all the former along with responsible for everything, and everyone else that works for you. That’s why the pay between the two is so contrasting.

Everything has its price. But knowing and understanding which price you are willing to pay, then deciding to follow either path puts you miles ahead of your nearest competitor because both areas are always in need of people to fill either position. Regardless of economic challenges. There’s always a shortage for people within these categories, and their value goes higher as well as earnings power during all economic climates.

Once you understand where you want to stand, then do what is necessary to fill that stance. Yes, I “guarantee,” you will move far more quickly, and with fewer headaches, along with probably enjoying the process far more deeply than thinking or trying to be one thing – when you’re acting and wishing like the other.

© 2015 Mark St.Cyr