My entrepreneurial journey began at midnight on Halloween in 1971…my birthday. It’s been said that my first cry sounded like “Waaaat’s the ROI?!” In all seriousness, I honestly believe I was born an entrepreneur. That’s why it’s hard for me to respond when people tell me they don’t know how to be an entrepreneur.
Your path will be easier if you innately have the desire to call the shots, but you don’t have to be born an entrepreneur if you really want to become one. In fact, you may have the entrepreneurial spirit and not even realize it!
You may already be an entrepreneur.
Sometimes it’s easier to do things if we think we already have experience doing it. When you were a kid, did you have a lemonade stand? Did you mow lawns in your neighborhood? Did you babysit children? Did you shag golf balls out of the water hazards and sell them to golfers? (I did everything except babysit…children frightened me.)
If you did any of these things or something else where you sold your own services and collected money for them, you already have entrepreneurial experience! Congratulations!
If you did NOT do any type of entrepreneurial ventures as a child, then you may not have experience yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it.
What we can learn from our inner child entrepreneur.
Kids don’t think about being an entrepreneur or not being an entrepreneur. All they know is that they need some money to buy some gum at the store or that toy they’ve been eyeing. Children don’t think through the consequences of their actions like us adults do. They think to themselves, “I need money. What’s the fastest way to get it?”
The lemonade stand is a perennial favorite for young kids because the overhead is low (mom usually buys the supplies) and the labor is low (mom usually makes the lemonade). All the kids have to do is sit at the stand, look cute, pour lemonade into cups and haul in the loot.
The unfortunate side-effect of childhood entrepreneurial ventures.
Most lemonade stands don’t generate much revenue, though. If they did, we’d see lemonade stands on every corner all the time. It’s hard to overcome the “ick” factor. As their target market drives by, they’re thinking, “Did those kids make the lemonade themselves? Did they use salt instead of sugar? Did they stir it with their fists?” Ick. Wave. Vroom.
It turns out that the only buyers of lemonade are parents, grandparents and close friends/neighbors who think the kids are cute and want to boost their ego. That’s not a large enough market for a sustainable business, so most kids close up shop and are left with a sour first taste of entrepreneurship (pardon the pun). Unfortunately, that’s enough to prevent a lot of kids from ever trying another entrepreneurial venture.
You’ve already taken the first step!
Even if you had a few setbacks with your childhood ventures, or if you don’t have any entrepreneurial experience whatsoever, there’s still hope! And the great thing is, you’ve already taken the first step! You’re reading about how to be an entrepreneur right now!
That means you’ve already started the process of changing the way you see yourself. You’re starting to visualize what it would be like to be an entrepreneur. That’s a huge step!
It’s time to take your next step.
Now it’s time to create your vision. What do you want to do? You can’t be an entrepreneur without a business.
This is something you have to answer yourself. There are countless snake oil salesmen out there who would love to sell you the perfect cookie cutter business that’s “guaranteed to generate you 6 figures by next week” but don’t trust them.
Everybody is different. We all have our own strengths and our own weaknesses. A particular business might work really well for someone else, but bring in a big zilch for you. Then you might get discouraged and doubt your entrepreneurial grit, when it’s really just a mismatch for your talents.
For example, one of my clients is a fantastic baker. She has a culinary degree and a love of baking cookies and brownies. This business fits both her experience and her passion. It certainly wouldn’t work for me or most other people, but it works great for her.
Another client is a fantastic sales person. She has 20 years of sales experience and she loves selling products that she believes in. Now she’s decided to start her own business as an independent sales rep so she can do what she loves for herself instead someone else. This business fits her personality perfectly, but it wouldn’t work at all for my baking client.
Your entrepreneurial journey.
Whatever you choose to do, prepare yourself for a bumpy road. The road to success has lots of obstacles and detours. Some days you’ll be way up and some days you’ll be way down. Just stick with it, keep taking small steps, and before you know it, YOU’LL be telling people how to be an entrepreneur!