Prepare yourself for some difficult times ahead.
After leaving paid employment, I was euphoric. But, sadly, it wasn’t to last. Six months after starting my first business, it failed spectacularly, and I was left with no way to pay the mortgage and household bills. Despondent, I was forced to return to the ranks of the employed. At the time, it was a bitter blow to find another job that paid a fraction of the salary I had been previously earning and with none of the benefits. Even vacuum-packed sandwiches, fluorescent lighting, and uncooperative lifts all seemed like a dream compared to my new job, where my circumstances were far worse than before.
The five secrets of being a successful entrepreneur
- Develop self-reliance.
- Work with written goals.
- Develop a ‘can-do’ attitude.
- Maintain a sense of humor.
- Keep your ‘own counsel.’
Through starting and running my businesses, I’ve met many successful entrepreneurs who have overcome all sorts of challenges to create successful companies. Without exception, what they all have is an acute sense of self-reliance. They believe entirely that whatever life or business can throw at them, they have the power to overcome whatever this may be. They also accept fully that they alone are responsible for their future. This is crucial to their success – that unshakeable belief that they, and they alone, are in charge of their lives.
Work with written goals
I wish I had discovered this secret earlier. If I had, I would have undoubtedly spared myself much heartache and false starts. When you set a written goal, you commit to achieving whatever you want, which could be anything from simply spending half an hour a day researching your new business to set a start date for your new business. Just think for a moment how motivating it is to write down the date you intend to start your first business. Imagine for a moment the forces that begin working on a conscious and unconscious level, moving you towards this goal.
Develop a ’can-do’ attitude
Like developing a real sense of reliance, successful entrepreneurs also have a genuine ‘can-do’ attitude. You know the type of person I mean. You’ll find them heading up local community campaigns, tackling problems head-on, and refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer from anyone. You’ll have met these people when you’ve been on holiday. When there’s a problem, they are the ones that get it sorted quickly without fuss or insult.
Maintain a sense of humor
I’d love to tell you that I’ve laughed at every one of my many shortcomings and numerous failures, but I won’t lie to you. For most of my life, I’ve taken things far too seriously, and it’s only as my businesses have begun to see the faint, flickering light of success in the far-off distance that I can finally start to understand the importance of being able to laugh at myself. Today I’m getting better at it, but I firmly believe that if I had realized earlier on in my self-employed career that being able to laugh at yourself is as essential as paying your rent or mortgage, I believe I would have achieved more and far quicker.
The boating lake
Some time ago I ran a boating lake in our town. As you can imagine, given our current climate in the UK, it was pretty much a seasonal business. We’d open the lake at Easter, and it would close again in early September when the children returned to school. Our busiest times were bank holidays, and it was on these days (weather permitting) that we would finally see a financial return on all our hard work.
Keep your own counsel
If you’re the type of person who has to tell all and sundry your future business plans, then save yourself from future agonies and decide now not to start your own business. Sharing your goals with everyone else is disastrous. Let me give you an example of this via something that happened to me a while ago. When I decided that I’d had enough of working for someone else for a living, I had already given a lot of thought as to what sort of business I was going to start and run. I’d worked through the figures, carried out lots of research, and had found a company that was easy to set up and run and, more importantly, was already making money for someone else.
Starting and running your own business isn’t for everyone, but everyone can do it provided they’re prepared for what lies ahead. Ultimately, the rewards will change your life for the better. So be ready for a life-changing journey and all the fun and excitement that goes with it.