So, you want to become an entrepreneur?
Great! I think you probably chose a pretty solid path.
But…entrepreneurship is not exactly as sexy as it seems from the outside.
In fact, its work.
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It’s a LOT of work.
The rewards, you ask? There may not be any….
At least until you hit it off big ;)
But still, the rewards are great enough that it’s still not a bad path to go down if you know what you are doing.
I mean, I am no successful millionaire here giving you the holy grail to successful entrepreneurship.
So, today, I am going to go ahead and give you 5 of most important lessons I learned from the 4 startups that I have tried my hand at.
Will I convince you to try your hand at a business of your own?
Or, maybe not.
But, regardless, my goal is to at least share with you the lessons I learned so that if you do decide to go down this sort of path at some point in your career, you will have some insights going into it.
After all, they say: Learn from other’s mistakes. Why?
Because you won’t live long enough to make them all on your own…
Lesson 1: Have a Front-up Plan
So, yes, of course you need to plan to go to college.
Of course you need to plan to have a 9-5 job for the rest of your life. Because it’s still the only thing that seems to work for most people.
Now, I can hear some of you saying “Oh, but Robert Kiyosaki said that you need to have financial security and not job security. So, I need to focus on passive incoming and entrepreneurship.”
We are not all gonna be Robert Kiyosaki.
Let’s face it.
He is an exception.
In fact, he is an exception among exceptions. Yes, he did not go own the traditional path of college education and still succeeded.
But, ask yourself this: Why do you know about Robert Kiyosaki?
He is not the only bro to drop out of college/not go to college…to pursue entrepreneurship….
He is JUST 1 of those people.
What about the thousands of others, who went down the same path that he did but are never heard of??
You don’t know of them or about them.
Wanna know why??
Because they are failures. No one cares to know about all the people who tried and failed. We only care about the winners. Those few people who did it and did it big.
But the rest of those dreamy-eyed people…
They are stuck in a cubicle at best case scenario…
with a regular job and probably slaving their life away.
Only because they do not have any formal education. Some of these people cannot even have the fortune of the 9-5 cubicle life because they have to pick up manual jobs.
Now, I know I am using extreme case scenarios but it can happen. I bet you it can happen.
So, my advice and the lesson to be learned from this:
Make entrepreneurship your back-up plan until it becomes your main hustle.
If you are figuring out what career path to choose, always start with the one that has the highest chance of working out.
Only after you have something really solid going for yourself could you afford to go down the risky path of being a full-time entrepreneur.
When I launched my Chess Leadership Program, I thought…
well, that’s it.
This is now my full-time job and business.
But that wasn’t the case at all. I was struggling to scale my chess coaching program even though I was in a niche market and was very good at it.
The demand simply wasn’t there, and I had to shut down the business eventually.
So, once again to repeat:
Plan to go down the normal path, but ALWAYS keep working away at your side project, your entrepreneurial venture, on the side.
When your side hustle becomes bigger than your main hustle (which is bound to happen at some point if you keep at it), that’s when you should make the switch.
Lesson 2: Network. Network. Network with RICH and INFLUENTIAL People.
It doesn’t matter how cool your product is, if you don’t know the right people, you will have a really hard time scaling your business.
Go out there, and constantly try to meet and get to know the experts and the influential within your particular industry.
Because they are the ones who have the power to fast-forward you light-years of work simply because of the opportunities they may have in-store for you.
Seriously, you gotta meet these people.
If you are trying to become rich, the easiest way to do it is to know a bunch of rich people.
If you are trying to become a writer on Forbes, the easiest way to do it is to become friends with all the writers and also the editor of the site.
It should be a very good predictor of how much money you probably make.
So, meet people constantly.
For me, when people ask me what I have been up to these days, I say,
“I am always either working or networking, but either way, I am working!”
Some good ways to network with influential people are:
- Business mixers
- Public Speaking
- Finding a Mentor
- Getting in the Media
Once you get to a point where you have established personal connections with a lot of people within your industry, opportunities will open up from every direction.
At least it has for me. I have found many clients simply because I knew a big influencer.
I have picked up clients because I regularly publish articles on LinkedIn which are read by some influencers who then refer potential customers to me.
In fact, the majority of my clients for my marketing firm now come through referrals from other big people in the industry.
Lesson 3: Build a Really Strong Personal Brand and Increase Your Following.
Because your personal brand never goes away from you.
It sticks with you no matter what business you get into next.
Knows of them….
Because they worked really hard over the years and built a very strong personal brand and a huge following.
It does not matter if tomorrow Neil Patel starts selling cars or Pat Flynn starts a trash-collecting company…
They will still have their brand names, which will follow them right on to the next business!
are also likely to be the first customers of the new business.
they will refer new clients to the newly launched business.
Simon Sinek does an excellent job of discussing why people buy why you do it, not what you do. With that in mind, you can clearly see the importance of building a strong personal brand and increasing your number of loyal followers.
This strategy works really well…It has for me.
I started my free lance marketing by reaching out to small businesses and trying to get them to work with me. Wasn’t a bad model.
The problem was that I had no kinda online following to show for it!
If instead, I pitch them about how good I am at Facebook marketing and SHOW that I am by showing them that I have 20k Likes on my own Facebook page, they are much more likely to believe my ability to increase traffic and engagement to their page also.
You can build a really good personal brand by being open with your audience and sharing lots of life stories.
Made an extra $2k this month with some weird psychological trick? Share that on this month’s blog post!
It can be anything…
Literally anything..as long as its personalized and you share value, you will engage your readers a lot more.
Because ultimately, if you are to convince people to buy something from you, you have to get them to trust you.
And according to Psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, in his famous book, Thinking Fast and Slow, he shows that people tend to associate familiar things with positiveness and unfamiliarity with negativeness.
So, get people very used to your personal life. Openly share your life on Facebook and other social media. Blog about it constantly.
And then just network with lots of influential people. It is one of the sure fire ways you can often find some really good partnership deals, etc.
The more people learn about me, the more like they are to follow me.
The more likely they are to buy from me…
So, start working on building that personal brand today!
A least launch your own personal blog if nothing else :P
Lesson 4: Focus on Creating Value for Your Audience.
Yes, you might be able to make money by being a really good salesman, but let me tell you something…
You won’t have any component of the Lifetime Value of a Customer in your business…
Unless you provide value also.
What do I mean by that?
Think about it this way:
The easiest way to make a lot of money is if you can also help your customer make a lot of money. As long as you are yielding them a positive ROI, why would they not come back to you over and over?
My experience shows that the LVC increase tremendously if you are able to somehow help people succeed in their own business or provide them a service they can actually sincerely benefit from.
Otherwise, you will begin to rap up a bad name for yourself.
A few lines ago we talked about personal branding, right?
Now, imagine what this bad rep or inability to provide value means for your personal brand…
Can’t be good, can it?!
So, no matter what it is you want to do, figure out exactly what your customers are looking for. Exactly what can you do to solve one of their problems.
I have found it very effective to use a model where I first help people out for FREE or almost free.
This gives me a chance to show them the quality of my work and my dedication without them having to spend any money at all!
They will be so happy for it, the next time they need something done, they will come to you before anyone else.
Because, you have already helped them and produced results for them!
So, why not? You provided them with value. They are now happy!
That’s the most important thing you need to focus on.
Businesses which solve a big problem and constantly provide value to their customers also spend a lot less bucks on marketing than those businesses which are not so solid at proving value and helping people solve their problems.
So, keep your audience in mind and try to help them as much as you can.
In the beginning, help them out by doing small things for them for free. Once you get them hooked, you can market all sorts of things to them.
And trust me, they will be 10x more likely to buy from you than a brand new customer who does not know anything about you or your company.
“If you make a sale, you make money today. If you help someone out, you money over and over, again and again.”
Lesson 5: Read and Study. NEVER Stop LEARNING.
Because one you stop learning, you kinda die as an entrepreneur. The successful people always have one thing in common:
They constantly learn new ways to get ahead of their competition.
Thats the reason why they are successful. Because they are better than their competition. It makes them more likely to get clients. They know more. They are able to invest their time and money more effectively to get better results.
Read and study all the time about things which are relevant to your industry.
I constantly follow the top people in my industry. I read their books, listen to their lectures on YouTube, follow them on social media, read their blog, and sometimes, I directly ask them questions just to build a personal relationship with them.
In fact, a lot of recruiters are looking to hire those who have taken other courses on their own besides their formal education.
With information at the tip of our fingers as a result of the internet, you really do not have to go to school to learn. You can learn the same stuff from sitting at home and watching lectures on YouTube, for example The Khan Academy.
So, continue to learn.
I personally find audio books one of the best ways to gain large wealth of information rather quickly.
I like to listen to audio books on YouTube…
But, here is the interesting part…
I don’t like to waste time and try to be efficient whenever I can be.
So, what i do is I listen to YouTube lectures and audio books at 1.25 or 1.5X speed. This way, I can get through content a lot faster.
I also like to listen to audio books when I am at home and something some sort of a single repetitive task.
When I move to my own place soon, I will actually arrange a sound system all around the house and constantly have my audio books playing so I can constantly soak in new information while I work.
The car is also a great place to listen to audio books instead of music like we typically tend to do.
“Just remember to never let school interfere with your education.”
I have not been an entrepreneur that long.
But…I have started a few things.
Some of those did well, some did not.
But thats not what I want to focus on in this post.
What I want to share with you is the things I have learned from my attempts.
I am not here to share my success or failure stories.
I am here to tell you what seemed to work well for me and what did not work so well.
If you want to take into consideration some of the stuff in this post, go for it! Give it a try at least.
If they work, great! All good for you :)
…try other strategies…
But be sure to keep trying and trying until you find something that does work.
Thats the key.
And be sure to write about it.
But for now, try out mine. If they work, feel free to hit me up with an email or a comment to this post and let me know.
So, are there any other strategies that seemed to work well for you? If so, I would love to know!
Comment them below! :)