The Bob Pritchard Column
Many people get tired of working for the man and determine that they will work for themselves and be their own boss. You need to have one important trait, a willingness to learn.
“There’s an essential mindset for being your own boss,” says Dorie Clark, a New York City-based marketing strategy consultant. “You have to be the one who brings in the business.”
Getting away from an employee mentality is hard. Defined tasks are a thing of the past for many, and being your own boss means honing many skills and focusing on the big picture. Entrepreneurs don’t own a task. Entrepreneurs own the outcome. But the payoff for mastering your own destiny can be big. Income is potentially unlimited. Your free time is highly flexible. And you’re not reliant on one client — your employer — anymore.
Not having a paycheck is frequently seen as risky, but entrepreneurs actually are risk mitigators. As a small business, you’re relying on multiple clients, so you’re better positioned to weather disruption. It is much safer financially.
There’s no entrepreneurial gene. Success comes from working hard — and taking the following steps:
Identify a business where you can thrive.
Understanding what you’re good at is key. That can mean relying on skills you already have, pinpointing your passions and experimenting with different niches. After becoming an entrepreneur, Clark tried political consulting, but she quickly realized she wasn’t getting much traction. More business was coming from nonprofits and other companies, so she focused her efforts accordingly. “Learning that early on was critical,” she says.
Build social proof for your business idea.
Social media is a key tool for building a business these days. You can do that by blogging, posting photos on Instagram or Facebook, tweeting or producing a podcast. Gary Vaynerchuk originally started blogging about wine and then he realized that he was a terrible writer, so he moved to video. Now he has nearly 800,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. If you’re not good at writing, Instagram is a great venue. And you’re only required to take photos, which nearly anyone can do, such as for wedding planning.
Serve your customer well.
Understanding what customers need is your main mission, and that means talking with them about what they want. Start with your own network, where you’ll have an audience you already know and who knows you. Never insist on doing things your way without getting new information. Get close to customers so you can tweak pricing or service.”
Keep learning new skills.
While you can outsource some skills, like bookkeeping, it’s best to learn others yourself. For example, be your own salesperson. You are the most believable messenger. There’s something powerful about hearing about a product from the founder. Developing solid speaking skills is important, you can get lots of mileage out of it.
Build a network of mentors.
It is very difficult to be successful as is evidenced by the fact that 95% of all businesses fail. It is important to learn from experienced people who have faced the challenges that you will face and learn from them. Build a board of advisors that become your mentors. You can’t figure out all the challenges you will face in a vacuum.
It can be lonely being an entrepreneur. You have to figure out everything on your own. But building a network makes an enormous difference.
I believe in a strong mindset. I’d do anything to lose ten pounds, except eat healthy, reduce my drinking and do exercise
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