I love telling people I’m an entrepreneur, it makes me feel successful, like a visionary, and incredibly proud of what I do. For a while I didn’t feel I could really class myself as such, but today I have about five different enterprises currently bringing in profit and each of them I launched off my own back – so I feel pretty confident I can describe myself thusly.
In fact the only downside to saying you’re an entrepreneur is that many people just don’t believe you – they presume that it’s actually just code for ‘unemployed’ or ‘lazy’, or they think you’re just blowing your own trumpet. The problem is that it just seems almost too good to be true – making money from your own ideas, living your life completely free from bosses or deadlines, and contributing something real to society that has a genuine purpose. You even get to help the economy while getting tax breaks!
And the point is that really it’s not all that hard to become an entrepreneur – anyone can do it. Sure you need a number of specific personality traits and a range of skills, but all of these can be developed if you’re currently lacking in those areas. Here then we’ll look at some of the most important skills and traits you need to develop, and once you’ve done that you too can experience the joy that is telling people: ‘I’m an entrepreneur’.
Creativity and Lateral Thinking
One of the most important skills you need to be an entrepreneur is to be able to think outside the box. You need to do this right from the beginning in order to know that you don’t have to stick to the same life pattern as everyone else or the precise path set out for you by the school curriculum – you can break out of that mould and make money yourself.
You also need creativity and lateral thinking in order to see the problems that need to be solved and to come up with unique solutions. To be able to come up with these creative solutions you should cultivate creativity by taking in lots of media, and by training yourself to think that way.
Most of us suffer from something called ‘loss aversion’ which means that we’re more afraid of losing things than we are excited about gaining them. This means you then just don’t take any chances, which of course prevents them from putting any ideas out there or setting up their own business. The skill here then is to learn to reduce risk, but also to become less averse to failure by having contingency plans and seeing it as a crucial step to growth.
I often compare success in business to success in the gym. Both of these require many of the same traits, the number one of which is ‘sticking power’. Ultimately you should look at your business ideas as a game of numbers and while you might have 30 failed ideas for businesses and projects, you need to just keep on going and not get disheartened if you are going to have that one idea that sticks and makes you super rich. And actually spending time in the gym working toward training goals is a brilliant way to cultivate this trait.
Sara Brown is a business enthusiast.