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5 Steps To Become A True Entrepreneur From One College Dropout Who Reinvented Himself

5 Steps To Become A True Entrepreneur From One College Dropout Who Reinvented Himself

Dropping out of college and hanging out in your parents’ garage aren’t parts of the traditional recipe for success. In Sam Ovens case, something was different. By his second year of university, Sam knew that staying in school was not doing him any good. He wasn’t interested in the 9 to 5. Like most budding entrepreneurs, he wanted something different – something better.

In 4 short years, Sam made $10,000,000 dollars and moved out of his parents’ New Zealand garage to Manhattan. Sam rewrote the playbook for the consulting industry, and, at 26, he’s one of the fastest-rising successful entrepreneurs. There was no magic moment that turned his life around, and his rapid success offers lessons for other, would-be entrepreneurs.

Successful Entrepreneurs Are Made by Experience

OVENS International, the consulting company that led to this entrepreneur’s wild success, was not his first business. It wasn’t even his first successful business. It did change the way he thinks about entrepreneurship, however. From his parents’ garage, Ovens had started several previous businesses, including a reverse job board that flopped after nine months of hard work and investment. He had nothing, but didn’t quit.

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Research shows that he was in good company, repeat entrepreneurs are more successful. Learning from mistakes is what separates a business owner with a decent shot at success from someone like Sam Ovens, who entered the business consulting industry, flipped it on its head, and enjoyed wild success by the age of 26.

Never Underestimate the Value of Being Organized

Repeat business ownership can teach valuable lessons, but only if you are prepared to learn from previous mistakes. Planning and organizing are vital to an entrepreneur’s skillset for a few reasons, most importantly because you can’t learn a lesson from the past if you don’t know where things went wrong in the first place.

There is another reason to stay organized and plan. Building your personal brand takes time and commitment. Your agenda will already be packed, and if you aren’t following a schedule and planning, making time for personal branding could be easy to overlook. Your personal brand is just as important as your company’s branding. Look at Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Richard Branson – their names are synonymous with the companies they created.

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Look for Solutions Where Others Think They are Impossible

One lesson repeat entrepreneurs master is the need to rethink approaches, both theirs and accepted industry practices. The willingness to self-criticize, analyze, and innovate are skills that make breakthroughs more possible.

One of the most common questions startup owners are asked is how they came up with their ideas. Sam’s story offers a clear lesson on this count. The innovative nature of startups is often a result of the analytical nature of the people running them. Innovation isn’t a one-time event in a successful startup’s life. Success doesn’t revolve around a single decision. It’s a process that evolves over time, as important decisions are evaluated and reevaluated. The willingness to rethink what existed is why Ovens’ consulting firm succeeded so quickly, and how he could reshape the industry’s grey areas into a clear science.

Talk to People

No matter how amazing your product or service is, it cannot sell itself. Talking with people about what you do is a major step in advancing your brand, and one that can be particularly difficult for introverts. Start with your personal network. Discuss your business with friends and family, and sell them on what you do. It’s often easier to sell to your personal network. They already know you, and talking with them is less intimidating than approaching strangers.

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Once you have your elevator pitch mastered and have made a few sales in your personal network, ask for referrals. Grow your business through family and friends first, and ask for testimonials. The ego boost from a few good testimonials will help you to get over any rejection you might face later and you can also use them to help attract new customers.

Last Word – Keep Analyzing and Evaluating Your Decisions

Sam Ovens took an incredible journey from living in a garage with three failed businesses behind him to managing a multimillion dollar consulting firm from Manhattan. He’s made millionaires out of nine other consultants and helped nearly 140 more earn six-figure incomes. His success is the product of repeatedly analyzing and evaluating himself and his company and remaining flexible but persistent.

Look in the mirror. Don’t be afraid to criticize yourself or your business. The change brought on through careful analysis can take your business from a pipe dream to an overnight success.

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Featured photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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