In fact, a lot of people quickly learn that this journey is not for them after embarking on it and facing swift failure.
I've found myself going through a reality check multiple times wondering if what I'm doing will lead to fruition.
To be a successful entrepreneur, there is an entire reformation that must occur that morphs you into a completely new person.
Throughout my blog, I've spoken about 100s of topics that can bring you closer and closer to becoming the person you need to be.
A handful of new skills and traits must be picked up along the way to prepare you for the challenges you'll eventually face.
Without the proper skills, entrepreneurs can quickly find themselves stuck and facing a ton of resistance.
(Before reading this article, I recommend you read the article on stoicism and how it can help entrepreneurs)
Every day, a whole sea of new entrepreneurs are born - competition is rising and it's more important than ever to focus on becoming the best possible version of one's self.
To be at the top of your game as an entrepreneur is the only way one can survive this landscape.
So how can we ensure that we're the best possible versions of ourselves?
How can we ensure that we are not amongst the 95% of entrepreneurs who fail within the first 5 years?
It's by doing what the top 5% of entrepreneurs are doing.
Here are 6 vital skills elite entrepreneurs require to succeed in their roles.
Vision & goal-setting
A business is very simply a real-world reflection of its owner's vision for the world.
When I started Condensr, my vision was to put simple education in the hands of everyone in the world no matter who they are.
It was going to start as a book summary app and eventually evolve into a platform that pioneers the learning of the future.
It was going to enable anyone to learn anything, anywhere.
Having the ability to think big is crucial as an elite entrepreneur.
This is because, without a clear vision, you won't know what direction to take your business.
There are a handful of new businesses being started every day.
The reason we don't hear about a lot of them is that they die faster than they could scream 'help!'
The ones that survive are usually the businesses that have a clear vision and are working positively towards it.
When your vision as an entrepreneur is clear, you'll know exactly what you need to do to get to that vision.
You'll set goals and lead your team the right way to make that vision a reality.
However, the businesses which we don't hear about are the ones with no clear direction.
As soon as people launch a business, they wonder "well, now what?"
When I search for business ideas to pursue, my biggest question is "can this business go from 0 to £1m per month?"
"And if so, how long could it take?"
The faster I could take a business from 0 to 8-figures, the faster I can change the world.
Once I've established that a business can reach this minimum threshold, I then start to think about the overall vision I have for the company.
When you want to grow a business, the first thing you should focus on is the vision - what do you want for your business, and what's the greater impact?
Entrepreneurs who are successful are usually the ones who can answer this question.
The clearer you are on a vision, the better your understanding of the destination.
It's like sitting in a car.
When you have a GPS, you know exactly where you're going - just follow the navigator.
However, when you leave your house without an indication of where you're going, you will find yourself wandering with no clear purpose or destination.
A vision brings meaning and purpose to your business.
It helps you identify a destination and a roadmap that you can follow to get there.
When you opt-in to become an entrepreneur, you're also signing an invisible paper that says, "I hereby agree to be a life-long learner."
When you decide to become an entrepreneur, you're agreeing to be part of something you've never seen before.
You're agreeing to jump in with the sharks and learn how to swim from there.
The only thing that can guarantee your survival is being a life-long learner.
There has never been a single entrepreneur who's been successful without embracing education.
When my formal education ended, I was ecstatic.
I dreaded school more than anything in the world.
Once it came to an end, I was extremely happy, although it felt like it left a rift inside me.
Since I started going to school over 15 years ago, I awaited the time in which I could say I finished it.
What I didn't know at the time is that formal education was nothing compared to the real-world education you need once you leave.
See, school only teaches you what you need to know to climb your way up their system.
It doesn't teach you what you need to know to climb your way up in society.
Once I left school, I found that I had to become a life-long learner or get left behind.
I realised that the only way to reach the top echelon was to embrace change and accept the one thing I'd tried to escape.
Luckily it wasn't all bad, in fact, I really like it now that I'm here - almost 2 years in.
There was a moving quote that I wanted to share with you.
"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read" ~ Mark Twain
All over the world, there are people who would die to have what you have - the simple, yet overlooked ability to read, to pursue your dreams without limit.
Until now, people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk are still learning every day.
No matter how successful you become, learning will never end.
The moment you stop learning is the moment you give up on your self-development and growth.
The realm of entrepreneurship is quickly shifting.
The people who are on top will always be the ones who accept the fact that they need to stay on top of everything that's going on.
To do this, you need to be aware.
You need to stay interested and passionate about learning.
Only then can you know what it takes to reach the top.
I'm currently reading a book called 'Mindset,' by Carol Dweck.
In the recent pages, Dweck talks about leaders who embrace the 'fixed mindset' and only pursue their personal gains and status.
She talks about leaders of massive companies like Xerox, IBM, etc, and how the leader's selfishness and striving for their own self-image drives large businesses to the ground.
It made me realise that no matter how big a business is, you're never safe.
You never have the breathing room needed to sit back and say, "We did it."
Unless you're Google, then your company must embrace a certain type of mindset to grow and stay on top of your industry.
It all starts with the people at the top - the leaders of the business, the entrepreneurs.
Without the right people in charge, the business can implode.
So what are some characteristics of a good leader?
There are too many skills to talk about, however, here are a few:
- Take charge
The first responsibility of a leader is to take charge when all seems lost.
When everyone seems like they want to give up, you'll be the person to pick them up and tell them it's not over.
There's a fine line between leadership and dictatorship - you want to be the former.
A good leader doesn't lead by fear, but by example, motivating the workforce and showing them they have something to fight for.
A great leader is also a great communicator.
They have the ability to talk to their team, address issues and problems head-on without bias.
When someone is underperforming, it's your responsibility as a leader to tell them about their performance and work with them to improve it.
The examples used in the book, 'Mindset,' all mention leaders who did nothing but fire people who didn't align with their goals - making them look better.
A good leader doesn't fire people for making mistakes, a good leader understands mistakes happen and knows how to tackle them by talking things through and planning for improvement.
A great communicator not only talks with those in their organization but also networks with those who can be of mutual benefit in the long run outside of the organization.
- Make the right hires
Hiring the right people can make the biggest difference in your business.
Elon Musk has said "There's no need to have a college degree... or even high school.
I think every manager would agree that they want people who are dedicated to their job. The goal of the hiring process is to find people who will work hard and deliver results."
Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, has also said "I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person."
In an interview on Masters of Scale, he said "In an alternative universe, would you be willing to work for this person? If the answer is yes, then you should hire them."
These are two leaders of two wildly successful businesses.
Each of them has a rather different outlook on the hiring process than the average CEO.
So what can we pick out from this?
Simply put, we're not hiring people for their natural talent or their skills.
We're hiring people for their potential for growth and overall long-term impact on the company.
On top of this, someone who fits into your company culture is very important too.
- Listen to employees
In a speech, Simon Sinek said that a good leader would come into a meeting and be the last to speak.
A good leader is someone who would listen to everyone's opinion before sharing theirs.
People you hire as a leader are usually talented people - they know how to think for themselves and get things done.
When you, as the leader, walk in and take control of meetings or talks, you're not giving your team space to grow and develop, or even embrace their inner creativity.
- Reward hard work/innovation
A good leader is someone who constantly finds ways of rewarding those who help the company grow.
Dweck mentioned how large companies stuck in the fixed mindset only embraced individuals for their creativity rather than the team as a whole.
This will only lead to a warzone within your business where people are fighting for their own self-interests.
You want to push people to work together and help your company grow.
Incentivize them by offering rewards and gifts, make people feel special and noticed.
- Lead an empowering/growth-minded culture
After hiring, most people would say that culture is a leader's next goal.
To build a unified company culture where everyone feels valued and feels like they belong.
I think we can all learn from Google's company culture.
Did you know that Google's biggest, most profitable ideas came from their employees?
they offer employees 1 day a week to work on their own projects which have led to some of Google's biggest breakthroughs.
I've always said that if I weren't an entrepreneur, Google is the only place I'd want to work!
I have an entire article written about making the right decisions quickly.
Decision making is a very important skill to have as an entrepreneur.
No matter where you are, or what you're doing, you're going to be making decisions.
You make a decision to start a business.
You make the decision on what audience you choose to serve.
You make a decision to do X or Y.
You make a decision to wake up every day and work on something you like or waste your time doing things that don't move the ball forward.
Life is all about making decisions.
Even non-entrepereneurs are busy making decisions.
When you really think about - small differences in decisions lead to massively different results.
When Mark Zuckerberg pitched the idea of Facebook to a group of people, those who made the decision to help him became extremely valuable individuals.
When Steve Jobs made the decision to come back to Apple, he turned the company around and it's now the most valuable company in the world.
Although decisions are important, a lot of entrepreneurs don't understand how to make decisions effectively.
They let decisions get into their heads, ruin their day, and ruin their businesses.
Being an elite entrepreneur to succeed in your role requires that you make decisions quickly.
It's important to think through decisions, but it's more important to make them without leaving them or overthinking them.
I was stuck in a period of indecision for a long time.
I was on the brink of closing my agency but there was so much I could do, that I was stuck with the decision.
Do I close the agency I've been running for 8+ months?
Do I keep going with all this suffering?
Do I pursue a clothing brand?
Do I pursue Condensr?
A while ago I read the book, 'The Millionaire Fastlane,' my favorite book ever, and it talked all about making decisions using the decision matrix.
You can read all about it here.
On top of that, I heard someone say "When you make a decision, find peace in the decision you make because you never would have known what will happen had you chose the other option."
Sometimes there are right and wrong decisions, however, most of the time it's going to be what feels right to you.
Learn to make decisions quickly and effectively, then accept the consequences of that decision.
It's common for entrepreneurs to be risky individuals.
However, there will always be those of us who don't embrace the same level of risk as others.
Donald Trump, although disliked by many people, deserves some respect.
Not long ago, Donald Trump went bankrupt and became a billionaire a few years after.
After a bankruptcy, many people would give up or even go into a state of depression.
It takes a specific type of person to experience bankruptcy then keep charging forward.
Donald Trump proved to us that it doesn't matter how low you are, there is always a chance to turn things around if you really want it.
I'm not much of a risky individual.
It's alright to be less risk-averse than others.
What really matters is having an appetite for a bit of risk because there will always be some element of it.
There's always a risk that your business fails.
There's always a risk that you run out of money.
There's always a risk that you lose to competitors.
An elite entrepreneur can manage that risk and fight through it.
When I was a new entrepreneur, barely able to put up a website, I succumbed to the risk of losing money.
After waking up the next day, I quickly checked the store's dashboard and saw zilch.
There was not a single penny in sales made - I was devastated.
After spending £11 in ads, I was able to make £0 back - that was the end of that business.
Once I realised that this was all part of game, I've been spending the past 1-2 years developing these skills, each one bringing me closer and closer to success.
To this day, one of my biggest fears is running out of money.
When you run out of money, you technically can't grow a business, right?
True, but there are always workarounds.
There are businesses you can start with £0 and even financing methods available.
I solely believe that there is nothing more important as an entrepreneur than your time.
In business, you're always in a race against time.
You always need to be working on moving the ball forward, making progress, or else you risk the chance of losing.
95% of entrepreneurs struggle to manage their time effectively.
Although it's important to always move forward, I took that in a literal sense and tried to work 24/7.
There's nothing wrong with working as much as you can (other than blatant health and emotional reasons) but at some point it will be meaningless.
No one can really work 24/7 - it's not possible.
I took a course that taught me something important.
You should only spend your time on 3 things:
- Your business
Spend as much time as possible working on your business and growing it.
- Your happiness
Do things that make you happy. Go out with friends, family, and enjoy yourself.
- Your wellbeing
If you're not healthy, you're not wealthy.
Make sure you do things that benefit your mind and body
For a long time, I tried to work on nothing but my business.
From the moment I got up to the moment I slept, I worked on my business.
The crazy thing is, I never made progress.
No matter how hard I worked, I never made progress.
This is because I was on a hamster wheel. I kept doing things that don't work.
Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
That's exactly what we do as entrepreneurs.
We spend all our time working and working, with little sense about time management, hoping to see a spark of light.
Little do we know, we're not doing the right things.
What's important is a little bit of progress, followed by some reflection.
You need to spend time thinking about whether what you're doing is going to take you somewhere or if you need to iterate your way of working.
Work doesn't mean just working non-stop.
It's about productivity, optimization and results.
After that, you still need to learn how to handle others things like a team, how to handle family time, and how to take care of yourself physically and mentally.
Many people say that the "reward of entrepreneurship is not the destination, but the journey of self-discovery."
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Till next time,