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3 Essential Actions for the New Entrepreneur

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3 Essential Actions for the New Entrepreneur

    I recently delivered a keynote at a conference on modern entrepreneurship. A new entrepreneur asked me, “What three things do you think I should do to start a successful business?”

    While there are a million pieces of advice to give to any budding entrepreneur starting with a laundry list of books to read and people to speak with, and ending with  getting used to eating ramen for a year or two, below are the three essential actions that any new entrepreneur will need to truly flourish.

    Doing one of these things will help you succeed. Doing all three will turbo-charge your new business and set you on the path to success.

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    1. Burn your ships

    Imagine for a second that you are a warrior and that you have just sailed to enemy territory. Moments before you begin your attack your commander says, “before we attack we must burn our ships!”

    How would you feel?

    If you’re anything like me you would feel terrified. And motivated. Suddenly, the only way you would return home safely was through victory.

    As a new entrepreneur, if you really want to succeed, then burn your ships. Resolve yourself to succeeding and eliminate all possible alternatives. Do not contact your old boss to see if you can come back. Do not toy with the idea of going back to school if you’re not cash flow positive after 6 months. Do not take a part time job that will make ends meet to relieve pressure. Instead take a loan and let the fear motivate you.

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    Commit to your own success by burning all of your ships.

    2. Get a mentor

    Now that you have burnt your ships, add an essential person to your team: a mentor. A good mentor will show you how to navigate failure and speed up your success.

    How do you get a mentor? Think about where you want to be 10-20 years from now. Find someone who is there right now in your city and email him or her. Ask if you can take them out for coffee, lunch, breakfast, or anything that would be convenient for them for 15 minutes.

    Once you setup the meeting spend 80% of the time listening. Contact them again a few months later giving them an update on your work and ask for another meeting. Continue repeating this process until you have developed a stable relationship.

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    3. Stay playful

    It’s trendy to tell new entrepreneurs that life is easy if you’re passionate and committed to your success. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s true. While entrepreneurship is incredibly rewarding, it’s also an uphill battle for the first year or so.

    The trick to surviving the turbulent start-up phase of business is to ensure that your life outside of your business is still playful and fun. Make sure that each week has at least one personal activity that you are truly looking forward to. This will revitalize you and give you more energy to channel into your startup.

    Besides, life is too short not to have fun along the way.

    Starting up is tough. In fact, most businesses bust before they ever even have the chance to become successful. Leverage the odds in your favor by burning your ships, getting a great mentor, and staying playful along the way.

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    Good luck!

    (Photo credit: lamp head male writing something via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on November 15, 2021

    20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

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    20 Ways to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview

    “Please describe yourself in a few words”.

    It’s the job interview of your life and you need to come up with something fast. Mental pictures of words are mixing in your head and your tongue tastes like alphabet soup. You mutter words like “deterministic” or “innovativity” and you realize you’re drenched in sweat. You wish you had thought about this. You wish you had read this post before.

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      Image Credit: Career Employer

      Here are 20 sentences that you could use when you are asked to describe yourself. Choose the ones that describe you the best.

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      “I am someone who…”:

      1. “can adapt to any situation. I thrive in a fluctuating environment and I transform unexpected obstacles into stepping stones for achievements.”
      2. “consistently innovates to create value. I find opportunities where other people see none: I turn ideas into projects, and projects into serial success.”
      3. “has a very creative mind. I always have a unique perspective when approaching an issue due to my broad range of interests and hobbies. Creativity is the source of differentiation and therefore, at the root of competitive advantage.”
      4. “always has an eye on my target. I endeavour to deliver high-quality work on time, every time. Hiring me is the only real guarantee for results.”
      5. “knows this job inside and out. With many years of relevant experience, there is no question whether I will be efficient on the job. I can bring the best practices to the company.”
      6. “has a high level of motivation to work here. I have studied the entire company history and observed its business strategies. Since I am also a long-time customer, I took the opportunity to write this report with some suggestions for how to improve your services.”
      7. “has a pragmatic approach to things. I don’t waste time talking about theory or the latest buzz words of the bullshit bingo. Only one question matters to me: ‘Does it work or not?'”
      8. “takes work ethics very seriously. I do what I am paid for, and I do it well.”
      9. “can make decisions rapidly if needed. Everybody can make good decisions with sufficient time and information. The reality of our domain is different. Even with time pressure and high stakes, we need to move forward by taking charge and being decisive. I can do that.”
      10. “is considered to be ‘fun.’ I believe that we are way more productive when we are working with people with which we enjoy spending time. When the situation gets tough with a customer, a touch of humour can save the day.”
      11. “works as a real team-player. I bring the best out of the people I work with and I always do what I think is best for the company.”
      12. “is completely autonomous. I won’t need to be micromanaged. I won’t need to be trained. I understand high-level targets and I know how to achieve them.”
      13. “leads people. I can unite people around a vision and motivate a team to excellence. I expect no more from the others than what I expect from myself.”
      14. “understands the complexity of advanced project management. It’s not just pushing triangles on a GANTT chart; it’s about getting everyone to sit down together and to agree on the way forward. And that’s a lot more complicated than it sounds.”
      15. “is the absolute expert in the field. Ask anybody in the industry. My name is on their lips because I wrote THE book on the subject.”
      16. “communicates extensively. Good, bad or ugly, I believe that open communication is the most important factor to reach an efficient organization.”
      17. “works enthusiastically. I have enough motivation for myself and my department. I love what I do, and it’s contagious.”
      18. “has an eye for details because details matter the most. How many companies have failed because of just one tiny detail? Hire me and you’ll be sure I’ll find that detail.”
      19. “can see the big picture. Beginners waste time solving minor issues. I understand the purpose of our company, tackle the real subjects and the top management will eventually notice it.”
      20. “is not like anyone you know. I am the candidate you would not expect. You can hire a corporate clone, or you can hire someone who will bring something different to the company. That’s me. “

      Featured photo credit: Tim Gouw via unsplash.com

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