(Via Forbes.com / Neil Patel / Jan 28, 2016) — Ask any entrepreneur, successful or not, what it was like becoming an entrepreneur.
You’ll get a variety of answers. For some, it started naturally. For others, it was irresistible. For many, it was by necessity.
But nearly every entrepreneur will also admit that it was hard. There’s nothing easy about starting your own business.
While every job has its challenges — annoying colleagues, petulant bosses, mind-numbing work — the role of entrepreneur is particularly challenging. It’s deeply personal, surprisingly scary, and overwhelmingly demanding in every area. Entrepreneurs are fond of saying,
The toughest boss you will ever work for is yourself.
But are there any shortcuts?
Shortcuts usually make things fast, but they don’t make things easy.
You may look at these shortcuts and think, “No way. This is too hard.” That’s okay. The barrier of entry for entrepreneurship is the sheer difficulty of the task. If you’re not willing to take some pain, you’ll never experience gain.
1. Quit your job.
Yes, just quit.
I usually don’t encourage people to do something foolhardy like pulling the plug on a great job. But if that job is keeping you from a successful path towards entrepreneurship, maybe it’s time to quit.
Entrepreneurship isn’t about taking a big risk. It’s about taking thousands of small risks. Your first risk could be to quit your job.
You might discover something shocking: Risk catalyzes you to do explosive things. Suddenly, you’re there — no job, no security, no safety net, no retirement plan.
You’re in charge of your destiny. And you have all the time in the world to bring your passion to fruition.
If you have a plan in place, even a shaky one, maybe it’s time to walk into your boss’s office with a resignation letter and a smile.
2. Find a mentor.
Rare is the entrepreneur who spins a business into existence on her own.
Even though the “entrepreneur” gets a lot of credit, most entrepreneurial pursuits aren’t solo ventures. I owe my success to the mentors I’ve had in my life — smart, encouraging people who believed in me.
Many potential entrepreneurs don’t have mentors, either because they don’t realize they need them or because they don’t know where to find one.
If you have entrepreneurial passions but haven’t made progress toward your goal, seek out a mentor, and things might change.
3. Connect with other entrepreneurs.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
This bit of insight will influence how and with whom you spend your time. If you hang out with positive, encouraging, driven entrepreneurs, you’ll change — becoming more positive, more encouraged, and more driven.
Think about it. If you are surrounded by entrepreneurs, you’ll probably catch the bug. You may begin small, but eventually, you’ll realize that you have the desire, passion, and ability to start a business as well.
4. Sell whatever you’re good at.
Entrepreneurs don’t just create stuff. They sell stuff.
They sell themselves. They sell ideas. They sell products. They sell a dream. They sell their vision.
One easy way to jumpstart your selling skills is to sell whatever skill you have.
Right away, you’re thinking, “What skill do I have?”
Everyone has something they’re good at. You may not be the best. But you know something and can do something with some level of skill, right?
Pick one thing and start selling it. Sell your knowledge through an ebook. Sell your skills by creating an online course. Sell your talent by making art.
Just start selling. Small steps like this can eventually produce a thriving business.
5. Spend 90 minutes a day on your business idea.
According to the science of energy management, we do our best work in 90-minute cycles. This natural rhythm makes it possible for us to be incredibly productive in short bursts. Some productivity gurus even suggest 90-minute plans for personal effectiveness.
If you spend just 90 minutes daily on your personal business plan, you will go places. What can you accomplish in 90 minutes? Here are a few things:
- Launch a website.
- Write a blog post.
- Create a Facebook page.
- Start a Twitter account.
- Write a sales letter.
- Develop a business plan.
If you’re really motivated, you might even do all six of those things in one 90-minute burst.
If you are going to start your own business, you have to put in the time. Carve out that time each day — 90 minutes — and you’ll be well on your way to launching a successful business.
6. Grow your personal brand.
As an entrepreneur, one of your most valuable assets is your personal brand. Your personal brand gives you a platform, credibility, an audience, and even a sales funnel.
7. Purchase education.
Some people never develop into entrepreneurs because they don’t take the time to invest in themselves.
There are plenty of things you don’t know about entrepreneurship. I’m learning new things every day, even after more than a decade of successful entrepreneurial endeavors.
To gain this knowledge and progress, you may need to invest in yourself. How? By purchasing business coaching services, a course on entrepreneurship, or an online how-to course.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to start selling online courses. One of your first steps could be to purchase an online course that explains exactly how to start. A small investment in your success is a huge way to accelerate your progress.
Billionaire Mark Cuban once shared the advice that his dad gave him:
Do the work. Out-work. Out-think. Out-sell your expectations. There are no shortcuts.
I agree. There aren’t any real shortcuts to becoming wildly successful. You have to put in the time, the work, the mental effort. You have to pay the cost. In that sense, there are no shortcuts.
But there are ways to jumpstart your journey to success. As the Chinese proverb says,
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
The best piece of advice I can give you is to simply start, right now.
What can you do right now to launch your entrepreneurial journey?