Do you want to make the jump from working for an employer to running your own business? Odds are that if you suck as an employee now, then you won’t make it as an entrepreneur. It sounds harsh, but that’s real talk.
As an employee, if you don’t build the skills you need to thrive as an entrepreneur, especially in terms of having a strong work ethic, then it’s incredibly difficult to flip a switch and all of a sudden thrive as an entrepreneur.
Tyler Stauss’ startup idea – to create an online index of promo codes – did not fall from the sky or come to him in a dream. “I started my career at a startup called SurfMyAds.com,” he said. “After a year there, I started a company in the same space called GoPromoCodes.com.” Ten years later, Stauss is still running the website.
“I don’t think I could have done it without working for the first company,” Stauss said.
I’ve sat on many boards over the past two decades and seen my share of high-functioning boards and low-functioning boards. Here are some observations I have from this exposure:
If a company moves from strength-to-strength with predictable outcomes, easy financings, low staff turn-over, and limited competitive threats, then the composition of the board probably doesn’t matter as much. Even the best companies with the best outcomes, however, usually hit some difficult moments where a highly-functioning board matters.
In the best cases, boards come together to help the company get through its trough – in the worst cases, infighting can mean an otherwise great potential business is hampered with misaligned incentives and drama.
Often in life, we wait until a change in circumstances to make a big decision. Exit planning is an example of something so many entrepreneurs put off. In business, our focus is firmly on the here and now decisions: marketing, HR, inventory, cash flow, etc. It doesn’t feel like there is the time or the impetus to create an exit strategy, especially if you don’t plan to sell soon.
But, you can’t be complacent about exiting your business. A study by Securian Financial revealed that 72% of small business owners have no exit strategy at all. The reality is it can take years to execute a successful exit, so the endgame needs to be in your mind from the start.
Growing a successful business is something every entrepreneur and business owner aspires to. So why do so few actually succeed and experience business success?
Having worked closely with very successful business owners and entrepreneurs, and having built my own successful business, I’m here to tell you it isn’t easy.
True success comes from two things: Knowing the business and/or marketing strategy that’s perfect for you, and mastering your inner blocks and mindset.
Both are easier said than done.
People sometimes ask me what I think is the defining characteristic of an entrepreneur. What they really want to know, I believe, is the one quality that distinguishes a true entrepreneur from any other businessperson. I’ve thought about that quite a bit myself, and I’ve decided, if I had to narrow it down to one trait, it would be the ability to see things differently. A true entrepreneur is able to look at a situation and identify an opportunity, or a solution to a problem, or a path around an obstacle that, for some reason, everyone else has missed.
Be honest: Are you working at your absolute peak? Just look at The Rock. Sure he’s charismatic and a strong actor, but how does he fly across the world to record back-to-back films with barely a moment to rest? It’s because he’s in incredible shape. The Rock gets the most out of his acting chops because he obsesses over his health.
That same idea applies to you as an entrepreneur. Treat your body well — eat right, challenge your body, get proper sleep — and you’ll reward yourself with more energy, greater focus, and a heightened level of discipline. You’ll achieve new levels of productivity while your competition falls behind and watches you scale faster and faster.
Being a single parent is difficult on numerous levels. Between taking kids to activities such as sports practices and after-school programs, there is little time left in the day for enjoying their company. Single parenting often is financially stressful as well. Everything falls on your shoulder when you are a single parent. This can be scary or empowering.
For those looking to fill in the income gap on their monthly budget, the increased number of freelancing opportunities may be the perfect way to make some extra income without missing out on family time. At home gig range from doing remote skilled work to selling items online. Most of these jobs require little more than a computer, knowledge about a specific field and the confidence to take a stab at the work.
We all know what passes for gospel in our brand-driven, always-on culture: “Network your way to the top.” “Just say yes.” “Get out there!”
But what if you stopped all that networking? What if you distilled your business development to the bare minimum and still managed to grow your company? What if — instead of getting out there — you could simply stay in?
I’m much more comfortable in my home office than I am selling to a room, yet I own a successful business for which I am the primary sales driver. My business requires me to network, schmooze and take lots of meetings. It means I regularly fly thousands of miles on my own dime to meet a potential client or give a talk. And it means I must keep a robust social media presence even as sharing makes me incredibly self-conscious.
It’s enough to make me want to hide in the bathroom.
Over the years, I’ve developed a formula that allows me to play to my strengths and nourish my introversion — to focus less on the outcome of “success” and more on the everyday. I never will be relaxed on flights or stop getting anxiety attacks before a meeting. But I’ve grown a business that can sustain the real me. I call myself a “hermit entrepreneur.”
Starting your own business can be empowering, as it allows long-held passions or skills to be pursued. Thanks to the growth of the gig economy, there are now many avenues available to establish your own freelance business. Here are a few ways you can realize your ambitions.