As a multi-passionate entrepreneur, I’ve learned an immense amount over the years about the importance of building an entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. You’ve got to be dedicated, determined, and whole-heartedly invested in your journey.
According to Small Business Trends, “one in four entrepreneurs fail at least once before succeeding. It takes entrepreneurs an average of three years for their business to begin supporting them financially.” That’s a daunting statistic.
Budding entrepreneurs must be prepared for the many challenges that they will likely face and have an unwavering commitment to their business in the face of adversity.
7 Actionable Steps to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset
Building an entrepreneurial mindset can help tremendously when facing these challenges. Employing specific strategies and tools to overcome pitfalls can help entrepreneurs recover in record time or avoid these pitfalls altogether.
Here are seven actionable steps that you can utilize to build an entrepreneurial mindset and help your businesses flourish.
1. Create Your Own Structure
One of the biggest challenges a new entrepreneur faces is a lack of structure. If you had a job before starting your business, chances are you had to report to work at a certain time, take your hour lunch, and leave once your eight-hour work day was finished.
When you are working for yourself, there is little structure to hold yourself accountable to your goals. This can throw an entrepreneur for a loop after you’ve let someone else’s structure rule your day for so long. It can be tempting to sleep in or fill your day with activities that don’t move the business forward.
You must build your own structure and stick to it. Know your schedule, create a sales plan, and detail out client onboarding processes. Don’t let a lack of structure completely derail your business.
On the flip side, don’t burn yourself out either. When not tied to a 9-5 work day, a lot of entrepreneurs will find themselves working from dawn to dusk, or later, and not even realize it. Being available during the entirety of your waking hours and on weekends seems like it is a normal part of entrepreneurship, but you can’t build a sustainable business to operate that way.
Examine what schedule is most reasonable and successful for you and your business. Then, set it, and stick to it. Boundaries are essential in building an entrepreneurial mindset.
2. Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should
A very interesting phenomenon that happens when you get a business rolling is that opportunities start coming out of the woodwork. Some of these opportunities are quite exciting, and if you have yet to create any structure in your business, it’s easy to overcommit.
Saying yes to everything that comes your way is a sure-fire way to tank your business.
Adopting a mindset of being discerning with your time and resources can be difficult when just starting out, but it can also keep you focused on your mission and vision.
If a potential client comes along that’s on the periphery of your vision and seems like they are not going to be a good fit, don’t take them on out of desperation to book more clients. Stick to your mission, build up your business to fit your vision, gain social proof from your rock-solid clients that fit into your mission and vision, and the rest will fall into place.
Don’t let shiny objects distract you.
3. Talk About What You Do
You may have been raised not to talk about sensitive topics like money, politics, or religion with people or told that discussing what you do is impolite. But when you are in business for yourself, you must get into the habit of talking about it with everyone you meet.
Chance encounters, conversations in line at the coffee shop, or that person sitting next to you on an airplane just might be a new client or an introduction to one.
Break out of the mindset that talking about yourself is taboo. Tell anyone who will listen about your business, without being obnoxious, of course.
It helps to devise a nonchalant lead-in, something about your business that relates to a broad audience. It can be a short, light-hearted quip about a service your business provides or how you got started that you can mention to strangers in a casual conversation.
In building an entrepreneurial mindset, it’s important to have this banter on deck in your ‘small talk’ arsenal.
4. Humble Yourself
When I meet an entrepreneur, I can always tell who has been in business for a while and who is brand new to the game.
A seasoned entrepreneur is someone who has battle scars. Being an entrepreneur can test the resolve of even the strongest person and leave them with a huge slice of humble pie.
Be humble when you are getting started. Accept help, advice, and support from those who have come before you. Because you’re building something that’s never been built before–even if you are selling an identical product as someone else, it’s still brand new to you.
You will have slip-ups, angry customers, employee issues, product problems, and the like as you learn and grow. Stay humble, so you can get through the learning curve a tad less scathed.
5. Problem Looking for a Solution
This is a coding concept that I heard once and absolutely loved: “Don’t create a solution to a problem no one has.”
Shift your mindset from creating something “clever” to creating something that actually solves a problem. If you’ve created a solution to a problem no one has, you’re in big trouble.
Instead, focus on the type of people you want to serve and solve their problems. Examine your target audience. What do they need that they are lacking?
If you can answer this question, there will be an instant demand for your product or service. If you are not providing a solution for your audience, your product will be extraneous and a lot harder to sell.
6. Don’t Fall In Love With Your Product
So many times, the business you start isn’t the business you end up with. Markets change, customers’ needs change, and you’ll need to change along with it.
Falling in love with your product or service can keep you in a fixed mindset, not allowing you to see the opportunities in front of you. This can keep you stuck and keep you from innovating.
Building an entrepreneurial mindset means constantly looking to solve your customer’s problem, even if that means shifting your product or service to do so. This keeps you from falling so in love with your product that you become obsolete.
Often, I see entrepreneurs that are so set on pushing through with their original idea that they lose sight of this mindset. Having this kind of flexibility, allowing your product or service to morph into something your customers desire, will keep your business relevant and successful.
7. Revenue Generating Activities Vs. Non-Revenue Generating Activities
Don’t get caught up in busy work that doesn’t make you money. If you find that you are wildly busy, start a to-do list and get it all out on paper. Once you’re finished getting it all down, separate every task into a “revenue-generating” column and a “non-revenue generating” column.
Make sure you are working on your revenue-generating column each day, and don’t let tasks that don’t make money consume your day.
Prioritizing is also an incredibly useful tool. Once you’ve gotten your revenue-generating tasks sorted out, put them in order of importance. Tackle the most important or complex tasks first, and you will be well on your way to a prosperous business venture.
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned pro, building an entrepreneurial mindset is key. Setting boundaries, making wise decisions about who you work with, sharing your ventures with the world, remaining humble, being a problem solver, staying realistic, and keeping your priorities in check will help you to be wildly successful.
Taking these steps to set yourself up for success is one of the best things you can do along your entrepreneurial journey.
Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com
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