Not long ago, I was about thisclose to having to file bankruptcy. Yeah, I know. I was pretty depressed about it, but it can happen to anyone, especially if you don’t have a healthy relationship with money at the outset. However, I was fortunate enough to begin to apply the lessons I’d learned from studying business in college in order to not only improve my financial literacy but to also pay off a little more than $250,000 in debt. I’m sharing my experience with you in hopes that you can avoid the pitfalls that almost ruined my life.
By now, I'm sure you've heard the adage: your network determines your net worth. And if you allow me to channel my inner Robert Kiyosaki, "The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work." So, it goes without saying that if you want to build a dynamic corporate career or become a successful entrepreneur, you're going to have to work on building a strong network.
Look. Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a....
Well, although I have been known to occasionally leap tall buildings in a single bound, I think it's time to set the record straight on a few things. For starters, when I say I'm an entrepreneur, I don't mean like Eddie Murphy's Mr. Robinson sketch on SNL. It really does mean that I have leveraged my talent and experience to exploit market inefficiencies to create legitimate business opportunities. However, it seems that there are wild misconceptions about what it means to be an entrepreneur these days, so let's clear the air.
If you're at a crossroads, take some time for self-reflection and consider the pros and cons of a move in either direction. What might be right for someone else, may not necessarily be right for you. If you're going to go DOLO (do your own thing), make sure it's the right decision for you. You only live once, so live your best life.
Entrepreneurship is a lot like sports in that way. No matter how many books you read, no matter how smart you are, no matter which school you graduated from, you will still get your butt kicked from time to time by any number of adversaries - and nobody wants to hear your excuses. What people do care about, on the other hand, is how well you bounce back after a setback. How well can you handle pressure?
Well, let me start off by saying everything isn't for everybody. As you know from my last blog post, I rock with the side hustle. As a matter of fact, I rock with all forms of entrepreneurship (it's in my DNA), so let's not make that an issue. However, while we talk about sidepreneurs and validate their hustle, we don't always address the issue of transitioning from sidepreneur to full-time entrepreneur. Here are a few tips to help you decide when it's appropriate to take your side hustle full-time.
Look, I get it. You've decided to become an entrepreneur, so you want people to recognize your swag, and nothing gives you street cred as a business owner quite like business cards that announce your presence to the world as a 'Founder' or 'CEO'. However, you can't lose sight of the fact that the most basic role of an entrepreneur is to sell. As an entrepreneur, if you can't sell, you won't be in business for very long.
Because people value their time so highly, they are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of saving time. If you want to make a big splash as an entrepreneur, you will want to develop an idea that will solve a problem by saving customers' time. Here are a few simple steps to get you going in the right direction.
From professional sporting events to neighborhood block parties, O.P.P. could be heard everywhere, and this hit changed the trajectory of Naughty by Nature's career, catapulting them to superstar status after their careers had floundered until that point. If O.P.P. worked for Naughty by Nature, it can work for any struggling entrepreneur, as well.
Just imagine your 13 year old becoming increasingly annoyed with a problem he or she encounters everyday - a very solvable problem to a precocious teenager - and then building a robot to solve the problem. With a business model that innovates the service delivery for this invention, your child just might become the next tech startup rock star.
I'm sure you've heard it at least once before. You know, the anecdotal tale of the woodcutter who works tirelessly sawing wood for days on end, becoming increasingly less productive because the incessant sawing dulls his blade. The simple solution to his declining productivity is to occasionally sharpen the saw.
As an entrepreneur, as in life, you will be faced with challenges. Often. If this realization is a deterrent, then you might want to consider alternatives to entrepreneurship; perhaps the assumed job security of the corporate world might be more to you liking, in that case. For the true entrepreneurial spirit, on the other hand, challenges are merely opportunities to prove how powerful the determination to achieve our goals really is, how badly we want it.