Being an entrepreneur takes passion and belief in yourself. It takes flexibility and perseverance and a lot of qualities not seen in most people. Being an entrepreneur takes also takes courage, humility, focus and above all, a first class idea that has merit to real customers in the real world.
You may have heard this before, but bear with me a moment because most people buy this superficially but don’t think deeply enough about it. Whether it is when they plan to become entrepreneurs or when they look at an entrepreneur and appreciate (or not) her/him, people should understand the “real deal”.
Let’s take it piecemeal…
Let’s face it – in any thing you do, there are moments when you wish you could just walk away. Whether it’s a relationship or a business, there are always those moments, and the only thing that prevents you from doing some incredibly stupid is the realization that there is nothing you care about more. That’s passion.
But there are other benefits. When you have passion for something, it rubs off. Co-founders, employees, customers and yes, even vendors and partners will be attracted to you because they will feel excited about what you are doing. They know that you will not walk away (see above) and will see things through. And so, you will attract the best, the most committed people, to your enterprise. That’s worth more than all the venture capital in the world.
And now listen to this:
“I never trust anyone who’s more excited about success than about doing the thing they want to be successful at.” ~Randall Munroe
So be careful what your passion is. If it’s “making the big bucks” or “being on the cover of xyz”, forget it, you’d be better off in entertainment or politics. What I am trying to say here, if you haven’t already got it, is that you need to be passionate about your product or service – whatever it is that you are offering. Not passionate solely about making money (although as I will show you later, you need to be focused on making money too). You need to be excited about getting up in the morning because you want to work on your passion.
“…belief in yourself…”
I will write someday about the link between innovation and entrepreneurship, but for now, suffice it to say that they go together like love and marriage, or peanuts and beer. This means however, that you are most likely going to be doing something different or differently, in other words, innovative. And no one else will like it, at least initially.
If you are doing something really great it will most likely be something that no one has thought about it. That means everyone will deride you, maybe openly laugh at you. They will tell you it can’t be done, that no one will buy it and many such negative things. The thing is THEY MAY BE RIGHT, some of the time. And that will make you lose heart. But don’t. Because you will be right, eventually, if you keep adapting, modifying, and sticking to it. Which brings us to…
Flexibility, tenacity, perseverance
”Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
– Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States 1924-1928
Of course this applies no matter what you are doing, not just in entrepreneurship. But, in entrepreneurship, you have to fight against massive odds, and failures are almost a given. In fact, innovation (which again, I believe to be fundamental to entrepreneurship) requires many failures in order to perfect the offering. In fact innovation and therefore failure, and the ability to overcome failure by solving the problem has to be your culture and that of your company.
This is becoming long, so I will continue in another post…watch this space.