Not everyone can make it to end of the entrepreneurial journey. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months, that’s %80 of them.
For most people entrepreneurship is wrongly associated with having a disruptive idea and pursuing it manically. That’s why many people push their ideas relentlessly even in the face of such realities as lack of a market, lack of a budget, lack of a clear business model, too many competitors, and lack of a suitable leadership. People are more interested in seeing their ideas in action than solving a real problem.
This said, there are some ways to counteract the failure process and go beyond as an entrepreneur. If you own a business or willing to own one, you need to forget the hype, know thyself, seek help, and grow more confident in business.
#1. Forget the hype: do what you’re supposed to do
We all have a knack for getting lost in the hype. Maybe it’s social proof that makes us do what everybody does, or maybe it’s because we tend to look for shortcuts rather than the real way. Whatever the reason, we easily get distracted once we see a new trend popularized by the internet gurus (who are always in partnerships).
But once you know that the value you’re getting from following the hype is nothing compared to the growth you’ll achieve by doing your job, you’ll forget the hype. As Cal Newport writes for NYtimes,
“Professional success is hard, but it’s not complicated. The foundation to achievement and fulfillment, almost without exception, requires that you hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people care about. This is a philosophy perhaps best summarized by the advice Steve Martin used to give aspiring entertainers: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” If you do that, the rest will work itself out, regardless of the size of your Instagram following.”
From Newport’s point of view having to build a strong social media brand for everyone is a hype and should be dismissed. To “hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people care about” is what you need to do.
I would add to Newport’s argument the problem of poor content loop. Because social media is run by content and because you feel obligated to be active on social media by producing content, you tend to use the most accessible (and at times ridiculous) content for reference and inspiration for your own content. So the same old content gets rechewed and overhyped all the time.
Declutter your mind and forget the hype. You don’t need to do everything you read about.Take time to rethink how you’re helping people to weed out their problems. If it’s copywriting, spend more time to hone your writing, improve your portfolio, and reach out to people. If it’s a new product, make sure you have clear value propositions, build your email list, know your ideal customers, and provide great user experience for them.
#2. Know thyself: learn your personality
Apparently inscribed on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the phrase “know thyself” has many implications. For postmodernist thinkers, it is a very derisive ideology emphasizing the fixity of human nature and neglecting the ever-changing personalities. For others, it is a quest to live a more fulfilled life.
Being successful as an entrepreneur is dependant on how realistically you evaluate your abilities, what goals you set for yourself, and how probable it is for you to fulfill those goals.
When Sam Ovens started his business he came to an understanding about himself. He was too afraid to attend meetings, make phone calls, and put himself out there and his business was not scaling without these. He later found out that his introversion, which was in large part the result of his upbringing, was the single reason behind his poor social skills. Eventually, by deliberately working on his extroverted side, he could get rid of his fear of social encounters and start a six-figure business, his consulting training company.
He strongly believes in the power of the Myers Briggs Personality Test to change one’s life. In this video, he explains how to use the test to go beyond both in life and business.
Take time to know your personality. Take some personality tests, talk to your close friends, and ponder about your past failures. What aspects of your personality are dragging you down? How can you overhaul them?
#3. Seek help: save time by spending money
It’s great to be self-reliant. But sometimes, it comes at the cost of overwhelm and depression. When you start a business, it’s tempting to take advantage of what’s free on the web and never spend a dime on premium guidance.
The downside of this mindset is that you can easily be duped into following some made-up advice from an unqualified source. Following each and every kind of advice will only add to the overwhelm of your entrepreneurial journey.
The key to getting more off your plate is seeking help from an expert consultant with past experience and knowledge in your niche.
There are five ways you can take advantage of expert consulting:
- Done for you
- Done with you
- 1on1 coaching
- Group coaching
- Online programs
The question is: how to know which consultant to trust?
There are three ways to know:
- Good consultants have a strong portfolio and social proof: they have produced great results from their past experience. They have either worked with and grown a client from ground up, or have worked with reputable clients.
- They also have an authoritative voice in their niche. They produce content that showcases their expertise either in major publications, their own blogs, or their social media feed. Take time to read their content and decide if they know enough of your niche and the most prevalent issues in it.
- And finally, their point of view goes deeper than the surface. They provide a detailed plan, a step-by-step guide to achieve some predetermined goals.
#4. Grow confident: make sure you can make a difference
Your lack of self-confidence might stop you from starting the business you’ve always dreamed about, or from taking the necessary risks to move to the next level, facing the adversity, beating the competition, and basically anything related entrepreneurial success.
Being confident has always been considered a must-have entrepreneurial trait. John D. Gartner, the author of The Hypomanic Edge, interviewed a group of ten internet CEO’s and asked them if they thought some sentences would describe an entrepreneur. Among the sentences were the following:
- He channels his energy into the achievement of wildly grand ambitions
- He feels brilliant, special, chosen, perhaps even desired to change the world.
- His confidence can make him charismatic and persuasive.
- He is also prone to making enemies and feels he is persecuted by those who do not accept his vision and mission.
All of the internet entrepreneurs agreed that these sentences describe the ideal entrepreneur.
Although Dr. Gartner’s aim is to prove that most of the successful entrepreneurs as we know show the symptoms of hypomania, a milder form of mania, his research also attests to the importance of self-confidence for entrepreneurial success.
If you’re not self-confident as an entrepreneur, you might find the reason in the following:
- You’re too much obsessed with your small mistakes
- You have unrealistic goals
- You don’t have a clear plan
- Lack of practice is holding you back
- You don’t have a network of supporters
Making it to the end of the entrepreneurial journey is more easily said than done. You could easily get deluded by the hype and leave out what you really need to do, you could have the wrong impression of yourself and have unattainable goals, you could get overwhelmed and depressed on the way, or you could lose hope in your cause.
Hopefully using the advice above you can dodge the bullet and go beyond as an entrepreneur.
Mostafa Dastras is one of those people who think talking about themselves in third person is weird (but he’s cool with it). What keeps him up at nights is how he can help his clients increase sales with no BS content marketing (or how people can grow an email list). Visit his blog, LiveaBusinessLife, or connect with him onLinkedIn to get him to write for you.