Becoming an Entrepreneur
Attributes of Entrepreneurs
Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures
What does it take to become an entrepreneur? It takes a certain mindset and a different way of thinking to get into business.
Robert Kiyosaki is quoted as saying "a job takes skill but business and entrepreneurship takes a mindset, mental toughness and emotional intelligence".
Here's the challenge: those three things are not taught in colleges.
Most colleges train students to become employees.
Even great MBA programs which give the impression that their students graduate into entrepreneurship continue to produce more wage earners.
What does it takes to develop a business-owner mindset? John Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, says "To be successful, you must emulate the way successful people think."
Some successful entrepreneurs and business owners who are now self-made millionaires include Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Devos, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Jeffrey Bezos. None of the people had any specialized degrees and half of them didn't even finish college.
According to Donald Trump, there are three things that will not help you solve your financial challenges: hard work, more education or a different job.
Just think for a second about all the people you know who are chasing those three things. How are they doing financially? Do they have pillow cases of money just stored away in their garage from all the money they are able to save? Or are they in the same position they were five years ago; working really hard with nothing to really show for it.
There are a couple of key traits of successful business owners and entrepreneurs to pay attention to. For one, they are long-term thinkers.
This is where the emotional intelligence (EQ) becomes very important. This is the ability to maintain a consistent optimistic attitude regardless of the outcome of your business especially during its early stages. If you don't believe in the longevity of your business, why should anyone else.
They are also willing to educate themselves. The famous saying is that you make a living from 9 to 5, but a life is made from 5 to 9. Start reading books, attending seminars, listening to audio tapes from successful people who succeeded in starting up their own company. This will help you go through some of the tougher times in developing your business as you will find you aren't the first one experience the challenges you are having.
The most important attribute of successful entrepreneurs is that they learn to embrace failure as a partner. This is tough for most people making the switch from being an employee to going out on their own because we are trained throughout school that you get penalized for mistakes. In reality, this is exactly the only way to be successful in business.
You essentially must fail your way to success. John Maxwell in his book Failing Forward states that "Many failures are merely mistakes and everyone makes mistakes. Those who achieve success are those who persevere after mistakes."
For the veteran business owners, consistency of habit is the name of the game. John Maxwell encourages veterans to "stay in the habit of doing the things that work". Also important is enjoying the temporary setbacks and learning from them while continuing to maintain the enthusiasm you had early in the inception of your business.
Growth is always three steps forward and two steps back, so staying in the learning mode will keep you reflecting on what you should be learning and not worrying on what the challenge is.
Staying in the learning mode is paramount as it is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. Do not get intoxicated with your own success as it may be fleeting the second you get complacent.
Something that is critical to all successful entrepreneurs is they never stop reading books to develop their mental toughness. Leaders are readers, period.
Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to Gaebler.com.
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