Brave New World
What makes for a great entrepreneur – not fine or good, but truly great? We here at TheSelfEmployed have found they tend to have five things in common. What are they? Read on . . .
As Bob Dylan famously sang — “The times, they are a-changing.” It was true in 1964, and it's true today. The powerhouse American economy that our parents and grandparents labored to construct has been under assault the past few years. Unemployment, under-employment, out-sourcing, downsizing. Which way do we turn? Where is the opportunity?
Self-employment is the ultimate expression of professional freedom…
For millions of Americans, self-employment, entrepreneurship, is the answer. Think about it: The American Dream is a dream of self-sufficiency. We want to be comfortable, secure, and satisfied. The American Dream has nothing to do with cars, clothes, or square footage, it's really about having a sense of purpose and being the author of your destiny, your own success story.
Self-employment is the ultimate expression of professional freedom: no bullying boss, no set schedule, no stewing over office politics and gossip. Sound's great, right? Every year, thousands of Americans go into business for themselves. Some fail, some succeed, and a select few go on to become household names: Peet's Coffee, Dell Computers, Apple, Oprah.
Every successful entrepreneur has a different story, but there are a few commonalities worth exploring. And if you're ready to strike out on your own as a self-employed entrepreneur, then you might want to take some notes.
Passion, Purpose, and a Little Help
If you want to succeed in the world of self-employment, then the first requirement is passion. You have heard it before because it's true. There is no way around it. Sure, it is thrilling to be your own boss… at first. But self-employment can feel like pushing a rock uphill, especially in the beginning. Steve Jobs said, “People say you need to have a lot of passion for what you're doing, and it's totally true, and the reason is because it's so hard that if you don't, any rational person would give up.”
As a solopreneur, sooner of later you are bound to hit a wall. Maybe you are having trouble grabbing a big client, or you can't find the financing you need to grow. Inevitably, you will think of giving up. Why not just cash in my chips and walk away? But if you have passion for your business, your product, or your message, you cannot help but persevere, and eventually you will break through.
Second, great self-employed businesses begin with a great idea. Your idea will give you a clear sense purpose. As you draft a business plan and begin to recruit clients, hold on to your great idea, to your sense of purpose, as it will help you find your identity as a solopreneur.
Third, you must be like a ball. What? Yes, a ball. You must be flexible and go where momentum takes you. As your business grows, you will need to remain flexible—”adapt or die” should be the motto of every self-employed entrepreneur. That marketing idea doesn't work? Try another. That product doesn't sell? Drop it. That webpage gets no page-views? Dump it.
Fourth, they create a great team. Begin building a network right away. No one succeeds on their own, especially not solopreneurs. You need your clients, your suppliers, and your contacts—your network should grow apace with your business. Recruit allies whenever possible, and never be afraid to actively promote your services.
Finally, you need unwavering confidence. No one will believe in you, unless you believe in yourself.
Believe in yourself. You can do it.