There’s literally no blueprint in existence that can ensure an aspiring entrepreneur’s success in any industry. The formula is different for everyone, and it can’t be written down until your story is finished.
Age doesn’t matter, though certain emerging industries sometimes favor the young, while older and wiser people who’ve lived through adversity and learned a thing or two often find they have an edge up on their competition when they do finally take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Gender can certainly play a role, but is less of a barrier than most people might think, regardless of the industry one chooses.
What does often determine entrepreneurial success is the ability to adapt, too meet and surround yourself with the right people, and grind it out until you get where you need to be.
Here’s 5 solid tips all aspiring entrepreneurs need to heed:
1. Don’t just look – Take everything in
All this talk of needing to be able to see the big picture in order to be successful has made people forget that the Devil’s in the details. To be a success, you need to look at both the big picture and the minute details, such as the dust caked on the ceiling fans of your restaurant; the cigarette butts scouring your parking lot; or those times in the wee morning hours when your sneaky web host meters your bandwidth and makes the user experience on your site less than perfect.
2. Do the work – no matter what the sacrifice
As Mark Cuban’s dad once told him: “Do the work. Out-work. Out-think. Out-sell your expectations. There are no shortcuts.” This advice is all about being realistic while attempting to defy your existing reality – where you’re at currently versus where you want to get to later.
Fortune favors the brave, only the strong survive, etc., etc. You’ll have to do more, you might have to give up things you never thought you would have when you started. You might lose a boyfriend, girlfriend, or even your best friend along the way. How bad do you want it?
3. Don’t be a know-it-all
Know-it-alls tend to fail more than they succeed in the current business climate we’re living and working in. The modern entrepreneur needs to be connected, or willing to work their buns off to get connected – to know people who know more than them – folks who understand how to get from A to B and then from B to Z.
Know-at-alls are also foolish and weak next to their competition. They don’t have the common sense to realize their shortcomings and reach out for help. Your network has your back, if you’re smart enough to admit you don’t have all the answers and welcome advice from those who do have the information you need.
4. Strive to hear the word “NO” as many times a day as you can
This advice has been echoed throughout the ages, particularly in sales circles. However, co-founder and current CEO of NewsCred, Shafqat Islam put it best during an interview with Business Insider: “If you’re not getting told ‘no’ enough times a day, you’re probably not doing it right or you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough.”
I couldn’t put this concept into better words if I tried. Shafqat also points out that in his experience, it’s the true disruptors that hear no’s the most, and that means you’re likely doing something right – ie., ruffling feathers and making your competitors nervous. It can also mean you’re hustling and a lot of prospects are turning you down too – that isn’t a bad thing as long as you’re listening to why they’re saying no and refining your offer to match their needs.
5. Remember that only losers give up because of the competition
It’s true that there have been a lot of groundbreaking entrepreneurs responsible for essentially creating an industry or niche. They are the exception. The majority of entrepreneurs launch their business in an existing industry or niche with dreams of disrupting that which exists and carving out their own piece of the pie.
GoPro’s Nick Woodman became a billionaire because the competition didn’t phase him. Mad Men actor Jon Hamm is the face of one of the most iconic television characters of all time, despite being passed over for other roles for years without success. JK Rowling literally owned the children’s entertainment business for over a decade, despite hundreds of thousands of other authors writing books for those same children.
While I can’t give you a sure-fire blueprint for success as an entrepreneur, following the advice above just might offer a small shortcut; a way to avoid common newbie pitfalls by making sure your head is screwed on right.
If you’d like to add to the discussion, go ahead and leave a comment with your own advice and/or questions.