Being an entrepreneur is now cool and many now fancy it just as they fancy singers, actors/actresses, and sportsmen. But having the Entrepreneur tag on your Instagram bio doesn’t make you one. There’s more to it. Your mindset, your decision making, your resourcefulness, how fast you adapt to change, your guts and many other factors make one a good entrepreneur and that’s what differentiates an entrepreneur from a hustler.
There’s a clear difference between an entrepreneur and a hustler, a hustler makes a lot of money during the week and spend it all during the weekend and starts the hustling once again from scratch while the entrepreneur uses the money he has made to build more wealth and his money works for him. Hustlers are rich while entrepreneurs are wealthy.
So if you want to be a successful entrepreneur here are nine guidelines that will help in your journey as an entrepreneur.
(1) Find A Problem That You Can Solve:
Go through the Forbes list of richest people in the world and study the first ten people on the list and one thing you will definitely find in common is that they have all solved one or more problems that have impacted the lives of many either directly or indirectly. The World’s richest man currently, Jeff Bezos, is the founder of Amazon, a company that has affected me directly. Now I don’t need to go to the market to get that fancy shoe or cloth, I can just get it from my bed with my phone and data.
A lot of people just want to become entrepreneurs first without having an exact problem in mind that they intend to solve and that’s why they don’t thrive in the business world. So before you get into business, you need to have a clear idea of a problem that you intend to solve.
During the early phase of the business, when you have just a few workers, few customers, few investors, and the money coming in doesn’t measure up with the work you put in, the only thing that will keep you going during this tough phase is passion.
So after figuring out the problem that you intend to solve, you need to be sure that you’re passionate about solving that problem and that you aren’t just in it for the money.
Passion is a strong emotion, that is as strong as the love a mother has for her child. We see a lot of entrepreneurs today and admire their success and the quality of their life but you have no idea of the things they went through to get to where they are today but one thing that kept them during those tough phases of their career was passion.
So if you want to be consistent and remain in business, you need to be passion-driven and not just money-driven.
(3) Work For The Rich (Even if you have to do it for free):
A lot of people go into business because they dread working for someone and want to be their own boss but the truth is that if you want to make a great entrepreneur, you should endeavor to work for the rich or your business role model, even if you have to do it without getting paid. Money can’t even buy the experience that you’ll get after this.
They say experience is the best teacher but true wisdom is actually learning from the mistakes and success of others and this is something you’ll learn when you work for a successful entrepreneur first. You’ll get to learn how to build a team and how to communicate your idea and vision to your workers and you’ll also pick up so many great qualities as work for them.
I learned this from the book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki. So if you want to learn how things work in a corporate World and be a great entrepreneur, then go work for a great entrepreneur first.
(4) Learn to budget/track your expenses:
Money is the oxygen of business and if you don’t know how to budget and put your money in the right places, chances are, you’ll be out of business pretty soon.
So before you go into business, you need to learn how to track and measure your personal finance because you can’t grow or improve what you don’t understand. I’m not saying you need to become an accountant, No! But first, in your personal life, the money you are earning currently, you need to have a clear understanding about the things that consume your money and then evaluate if those things are bringing value to you. If the things consuming your money don’t bring you equivalent value, then you need to make changes and get your money in the right places. When you are able to manage your personal finance very well, then you will have a greater chance of managing the finance of a business.
Keep in mind that successful entrepreneurs do not save just for the sake of saving and to have a big reserve of money but they save to re-invest. If you just keep saving, bear in mind that your money in the bank is constantly losing value and the only person/institution that will benefit from that is the bank, as they will loan out your money and get interest in return while the purchasing power of your money keeps on going down. So as you save, do it for the sole purpose of investing the money back and to make it work for you.
(5) Read Books
In the third point, I stated that if you want to be a great entrepreneur, you should work for one so that you can learn from them. But guess what, you can’t work for all the great entrepreneurs that you admire but that is also fine, you can still learn from them.
A lot of these great entrepreneurs have books that they have written and books that they recommend. You can as well learn from them by reading these books.
(6) Long term thinker
Business is more like a marathon and not a sprint, It’s a long term game.
Successful entrepreneurs crave for long-term wins and are not enticed by short term victories. They are willing to make sacrifices now that will yield greater results in the future.
Jeff Bezos was once asked about the best advice he got from Warren Buffet and here is what he said
Bezos: “[I asked Warren,] your investment thesis is so simple…you’re the second richest guy in the world, and it’s so simple. Why doesn’t everyone just copy you?”
Buffett: ”Because nobody wants to get rich slow.”
Warren Buffet strongly believes in long term plans and long term wins and that is what has made him the greatest investor of all time and earned him the nickname “The Oracle of Omaha”. Even without a ground-breaking invention or inheritance, Warren Buffett is amongst the richest men in the world and long term planning has helped him acquire such a massive amount of wealth.
In this highly competitive era, if you really want to remain in business, you should be a long term thinker and make long term plans that will make your business thrive as competition toughens.
(7) Learn how to control your mind
The power of the mind cannot be overemphasized. The quality of your life and the actions that you take depends on how programmed your mind is. The mind is so powerful but it can also be controlled.
One of my favorite quote from Lao Tzu reads: Knowing others is intelligence but knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength but mastering yourself is true power.
Remaining in business is not an easy ride, tough times will definitely come and your employees and investors will fear for the survival of the company, during these times, you can’t afford to freak out too with them.
During the tough times, you’ll need to bring your mind under subjection and not allow fear to creep in and then only will you be able to impact courage into your employees and investors.
To become a successful entrepreneur, you should be a master of your mind and not a slave to it.
(8) Time Management
There are only 24 hours in each day for everyone and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. No matter how rich you are, you can’t have more than 24 hours in a day. Great entrepreneurs understand this and that is why they are highly efficient with their time.
So in your journey as an entrepreneur, you need to be highly efficient with your time. There’s a clear difference between being busy and being productive, successful entrepreneurs know how to manage and organize their time to get maximum results.
If someone can get the job done costing you less than what your time is worth, delegate it.
Get the important things done first and be sure that you’re working smart not just hard.
(9) Learn how to take ‘Calculated’ risk
One of my favourite quotes from Mark Zuckerberg reads
“In a world that is changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk.”
The world is constantly changing and what works in the past may not work in the future. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be a risk-taker and learn to try new things. During an interview, Jeff Bezos said that a lot of people regard him as a perfect businessman and entrepreneur but what has kept him going is that he’s always experimenting and trying new things. He stated that even though some of the experiments and new things he tried were a total failure and cost him billions of dollars, those experiments that worked out well covered up for the loss of the failed ones.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur this is one skill that you definitely need to be a successful one. You need to be bold and take risks because nothing can substitute experience. When you take calculated risks, there is no loss, you either win or you learn. Not just in business but in other works of life, risk-taking is vital for success. When you talk to old people and ask them about what they regret in life, many of them don’t regret what they did but they regret what they didn’t do.
So risk-taking is vital for survival both in business and in other works of life.
Entrepreneurship is tough and not as easy as these get-rich-quick scam artists on Instagram make it look, so there are a lot of skills and characters you need to become an entrepreneur. So if you want to learn more about how you can become a successful entrepreneur, I highly recommend that you go on YouTube and watch interviews of other successful entrepreneurs, listen to podcasts, read books that they recommend and keep an open mind that is always willing to learn.
Here are some books that I have read and recommend for you.
(1) Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
(2) Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
(3) The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
(4) Rich Dad Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert Kiyosaki
(5) The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley.