What It Actually Takes To Be A Successful Entrepreneur
If you’re looking for an article that is going to help you “get rich quick” or discover “the magic bullet to overnight happiness” this is not that article.
Now would be a good time to leave if that’s what you’re in search of. For those of you still with me, let’s get real.
Let’s talk about exactly what it takes to be successful and to feel true happiness.
There are people in this world that will tell you there’s a formula for success. That you can read one self-help book and learn the 13 Steps To Ultimate Riches and Happiness. You might even be able to find a podcast about becoming a millionaire in just 7 minutes per day. But the majority of the people creating those types of messages are doing one specific thing: Playing a psychological game with you and convincing you to buy/consume their substance-less product.
Now, of course, there are exceptions to this rule. There are people who create amazingly helpful content that can steer you in the right direction to building a business and a life that bring you true success and happiness. But rarely do those people pitch success and happiness as fame, fortune, etc.
I have reached a level of success and happiness that I am extremely proud of. Do I have a formula for you to follow? Do I have a simple set of steps that can be accomplished in one sitting? I do not. But what I do have is a set of tenets that have helped me, that continue to help me, and that I know will help you on your journey.
Let me be 100% clear: Saying that I have success does not mean I have a bank account overflowing with money. Success to me is defined by my values and if my life and business are in strong alignment with those values.
I believe the tenets I’m about to share with you apply to both life and business. These are not absolutes. These do not need to be read or followed in any step-by-step fashion. Some of these will even come and go. But these tenets are what it takes:
This is where it starts and this is the secret sauce. I do not know a single person who has poured countless amounts of effort into something and gotten zero results. Unfortunately results do not always equal money. Results can sometimes be important lessons that needed to be learned. Effort is necessary, and luckily for you, you are in complete control of how much effort you can put into your business and relationships. Effort is not limitless and should not be overused. You must take breaks from effort so that you can reflect, learn, iterate, and make changes.
All success comes with sacrifice. A business is not created by magically adding three extra hours to the end of a 24-hour day. A relationship is not improved by staying exactly the same and making no changes. Sacrifices must be made to achieve success. Those sacrifices can come in many forms and can come at many unexpected times. But you must ask yourself when you’re staring potential sacrifices in the face, “does doing this help me or hinder me from achieving what I want?” Prepare yourself for sacrifices. They may be some of the most fulfilling things you can do.
It is impossible to please everyone. Whether you’re putting your business out in the world or you’re putting yourself in front of new people, you will get turned down. You will get denied. You might even get harassed to some degree. Building up thick skin takes time. If you’re just getting started, unkind words will affect you. But the more you understand that the opinions of other people don’t matter if they aren’t in alignment with what you’re striving for in life, then the better off you will be.
What is it that you are setting out to do in this world? Who are the people you want to surround yourself with? You don’t have to want to make an incredible change or impact on the world (you certainly can though). But you do need a vision. You need an idea. You need something that’s bigger than you. If you’ve never had something to strive for before, that’s okay. Start with something small. Work toward recognizing that vision. Once you can grasp it in your hands, find a new vision and work toward that one.
You will need help. You will need someone by your side. Having support is a shortcut to overcoming obstacles and failures. Pride is a tricky thing. Asking for help can feel embarrassing and uncomfortable. But true growth comes after getting through uncomfortable moments. And even if you were to succeed by doing everything on your own, who would you share your success with it? Success is a drink much sweeter when shared.
It takes digging deep. It takes getting through rough patches. It takes hunkering down and not accepting things for the way they’ve always been. There will be pivotal moments. There will be times when you have extremely difficult decisions to make. Are you going to have what it takes to clench your fists and fight for what you believe in and want in life?
You have to put in the work. You have to make it a priority to regularly and repeatedly take action. No one says you have to consistently do things well. No one says you have to be perfect. No one starts out doing everything the right way. You simply have to show up and show up often.
Be unapologetically you. It’s easy to copy the success of others. It’s easy to make money following the tactics of other people. But you won’t enjoy the rewards that come with copying and emulation. Unauthentic success is hollow success. You might not believe me if you haven’t experienced this for yourself before. But following the footsteps of others, and ignoring the uniqueness of your own footsteps, will lead you down a lonely path. Be true to who you are and don’t fight what separates you from the rest of the people in the world. Appreciate your difference.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius
Time, the fears of others, and the pressures of society skew our perspective. It’s up to us to use these tenets to correct the crooked lens through which we look at the world. These are just the building blocks. You must search within yourself to find the additional tenets that matter most to you and that need your attention.