Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Entrepreneur Life Lessons



Entrepreneur dictionary reference
Entrepreurs are risk takers.
When I was just getting started in an entrepreneurial endeavor, I often had people ask me how could I do this or that and go without a steady source of income? Wasn't I afraid of the risk. I would reply that it's less risk to be an entrepreneur because you have multiple sources of income from different customers. And an employee could lose his or her job.

But there is some validity to that question. How you handle that risk or your assessment of that risk helps to determine your level of success. Not just in your business but in your life overall. You can worry and stress about your business all the time and still be successful, but you'll likely be a true workaholic who avoids time with family and friends to work on and in your business. This could lead to divorce, estrangement of your children and the loss of friendships. I'm not joking. I've seen this happen. Or you could end up with serious health problems. Your business may be a shining success but the rest of your life is in shambles. Not good.

So how do you become more comfortable with risk?

You must get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. To do this, you must step -- no, leap -- outside your comfort zone. What did it for me was traveling around Asia and not reading or speaking any of the languages. (Ok. I could read and write some Chinese / Japanese based on my Japanese language skills.) Since the pain of sitting in my hotel room with nothing to me was greater than the pain of reaching out to people to learn the cultures and have fun, I chose the latter. Over time, I became more adept at it. After several trips, I even stopped booking hotel rooms in advance!

Do something that scares you. And do it repeatedly. Then try something else. You'll learn that you get better with experience or practice and that the fear decreases over time. In other words, you become more comfortable with the uncomfortable. The funny thing is that this feeling broadens to include other areas of your life, not just the area your experiencing. For me, I realized that if I could travel around Asia all by my lonesome, then I could certainly start or buy a company and take it to millions in revenue, good cash flow and profitability.

If you need suggestions on some one-off activities to engage in to help you blow out your comfort zone, check out the examples in The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated).


Maintain Balance

The key to success
Everyone's key to success is different. Define yours.
Entrepreneurship and the drive to build a successful business can be all consuming. Don't go there. One of the best ways to maintain balance is to write out your vision for your life, then break that vision into achievable goals. If one aspect of your vision is having and maintaining close friendships, then carve out time to spend with your friends, even if it's only lunch once a month or, if they live far away, a phone call once or twice a month and a long weekend visit once a year. You can also build new friendships by joining entrepreneur or small business-focused organizations and cultivating relationships there.

If your health is important, eat healthy and head to the gym or go for a run or swim three to five times a week. If you do this from the beginning, you won't have to make drastic adjustments later on. You can have everything you want in life, you just may not be able to have everything to the same extent at the same time.

Keep the Faith

Maintaining your commitment to entrepreneurship and business ownership is critical. If your company is not doing well, seek outside assistance. Help comes in the form of mentors, friends who are business owners or who specialize in your area of need, consultants, interim or part-time senior management, online webinars and courses, small business classes...  If your business is just a dog, then shut it down and put what you've learned into practice by opening or purchasing another business. But do not give it.

To keep the faith, you can listen to pastors like Joel Osteen if you're religious (or even if you're not!), recordings by those that espouse the Law of Attraction or listen to recordings by other successful business owners who have gone before you. You can chant affirmations, meditate, pray, do yoga,...whatever works to help you stay in a positive frame of mind regarding your business. Successful business owners are often not the smartest guys in the room. But they almost always are the ones that persevered until they found the way to success that worked best for their company.


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