Lately entrepreneurship has been over-hyped and glamourized. Many people fall for the hype and think that they can make quick cash with minimal effort, but fail to realize that entrepreneurship is a marathon not a sprint.
A lot of people that want to be entrepreneurs end up getting in their own way and keep doing things that prevent them from ever accomplishing their dream of becoming a business owner. After doing some research listening to various podcasts, reading business books and speaking with entrepreneurs, I have a list of things wantrepreneurs can do to set themselves up for success.
I am currently following many of these steps myself and realize that while I may not be my own boss right now at 23. However, the chances of me being my own boss at 38 is likely if I continue to follow these 10 steps.
1.) Get a Job in the Industry and Function that you want to become an entrepreneur in
This is the most important step in this series because first you need to put food on the table and you need to work in the field to develop the market knowledge and experience to become an entrepreneur. Working in the industry first for 10 years is the most common way to become an entrepreneur. Sure, there are some entrepreneurs that become rapidly successful in a short amount of time, but this is usually the exception to the rule.
2.) Cut down your lifestyle and minimize debt
When you are looking to take that leap from employee to entrepreneur, the first 2-3 years will be a struggle for your personal finance situation. If you have high personal expenses, that is more money you need to have saved up and a lot more overhead you need to cover before going full-time. You are slowing yourself down by having a high lifestyle because you are delaying going full-time in your business. Making the transition from part-time to full-time is going to grow your business exponentially because you can focus all your attention on your venture.
3.) Become educated in your field
Knowledge and experience in business is your competitive advantage and is essential to running a successful business. Read and consume as much educational content you can every day. Read books, take courses, get degrees and certifications.
4.) Become educated in general business and entrepreneurship
Becoming an entrepreneur is more than just being a technician in your field. You must be the marketer, sales person, financial manager, IT person, hiring manager and many more aspects of business as an entrepreneur. Some people are masters at their craft but are poor business people. I encourage you to read up on business and learn from successful business leaders.
5.) Develop a network of professionals in your field
Developing a strong network is one of the most valuable things you can do in business. You may meet potential business partners that can help you transform your business. People may give you opportunities to fast forward your career. You might meet an investor that will provide you with sufficient capital and managerial expertise to help expand your business. Do not underestimate the value of a professional network.
6.) Save up money for seed capital to start your business
When you go into business you are going to have to spend money to make money and is why I suggest that you live a minimal lifestyle at first. I would suggest saving at least a year or more worth of living expenses and then a surplus amount of capital to start-up the business that will last until you can become profitable.
7.) Trial run smaller time ventures to practice your entrepreneurial and business skills
Attempting to run a large operation without ever running a smaller operation will pose a lot of risk because you do not have the experience of running a business. Start with smaller ventures and slowly build into more complex and capital-intensive ventures. This is one of the least risky methods of becoming an entrepreneur.
8.) Develop a strong work ethic
As an entrepreneur it is in your best interest to work long hours because your earnings potential is unlimited unlike a salaried position. If you are not working at least 60-80 works for the first few years, you will be at a serious disadvantage and growth will be unbelievably slow unless you get lucky.
9.) Keep your health in check
Your health and energy as an entrepreneur is going to give you a competitive edge. How are you going to work on your business if you are always sick and tired? In addition, you will be saving on medical expenses by not being in the hospital and spending money at the pharmacy.
10.) Become an expert in your field at the cutting edge and discover ways to make things better
The most interested and profitable business ventures are on the cutting edge of an industry. This is where you can truly differentiate yourself and offer value to the market. Continue to build your expertise to a level where you can identify these opportunities and then exploit them.