Ha-ha! I knew it! You really into making money, and thus decided to throw away your 9-5 job to finally run your own business and become filthy rich, isn’t it? Today we’ll talk about that.
There is a saying, about becoming an entrepreneur, that I still remember clearly and goes by as following: “you can only be born an entrepreneur, but you can become a good entrepreneur”. I know what you’re thinking right now: doesn’t that sounds counterintuitive? Not at all, behind that quote, there is an interesting concept that had me thinking about it many times. Let me tell you a personal story: when I was eight years old, I used to collect the coins of others Countries, either visited by me, family or friends, with the goal of making money out of it. How? I would first polish all coins with a cleaning bath fluid until they were shiny, then pick an old cardboard box, cut a window using scissors, apply a transparent plastic wrap film on it, and finally put a small paper pedestal to serve as the display for the coins. That was a portable coins-museum, and I would ask money to my friends and cousins to watch it. I think that was my very first business, and it was successful, for a while: I still remember the number of ice creams I bought thanks to it. Fast forward ten years, I’m opening my first company… and failing! The second company fails as well… and so on. What did the heck happen? Wasn’t I talented? Did I lose my talent for entrepreneurship?
I faced nothing but failure for a long period of time until something happened…
When in doubt, rob a bank
Just kidding. Considering the fact you are browsing a blog to increase your knowledge about business, chances are you want to improve the quality of your life, going from depending on someone else to being free to follow your own path. The little anecdote I wrote above, represents one of many I could share on this topic and serves well the purpose of framing many recurring elements in the field of business, which I consider determining factors when it comes to making the transition from being salary-driven to being financially independent. Since the goal of this article is not to be all-encompassing, impossible task due to the amplitude of the topic itself, I will try instead to list some of the most important aspects to keep in mind when planning a career in entrepreneurship.
It is undoubtedly true that some of us are born with a natural talent to do well in business, as pretty much everyone can encounter someone in his life that reflects those characteristics, but if we stop for a moment to think about that phrase, “do well in business”, what does that even means? Most people think that the primary metric to measure that ability is “money”, but I want to challenge that belief offering a different perspective. Ask yourself, if you’d win 10 million dollars at the lottery, would you be “doing well in business”? And what if you robbed a bank? The answer is “no”, you would not be doing well in business just by having lots of money, because that money would be the consequence of actions or circumstances that are not related to talent in business and, also important, they are out of your sphere of influence, which means you can’t win on command nor you can transfer this ability to others. In order to better understand the reason behind this article, and those I’ll publish in the future, we first have to frame a definition of what it means to “do well in business”. Here is what I think:
“To do well in business means having the ability to create at will circumstances that favour you”
And the next thing you need is to master the ability to do so at will, until finally you become able to transfer this ability to other people.
Every week I get pitched new ideas from many who want to become an entrepreneur, and yet nine out of ten have an extremely incorrect perception of what is needed for this to happen. When I ask them: “why do you want to run that business?”, the most common reply they give is “because I am good at doing this”. And you know what? they look more surprised than I do as if I was asking very inappropriate questions. It’s not wrong to do what you like, of course, but you can’t hold the belief that a business will be profitable just because you like it.
Ok so, what do I do?
Educate yourself. And no, I’m not talking about just regular studies, which I will discuss in the future. There are plenty of ways to do so, and I hope you will get inspired by some thoughts I’ll share with you on these pages. What is critically important is that you begin immediately, and stop procrastinating. In order to run a successful business, you don’t necessarily need a groundbreaking idea, a Ph.D., or to be fond immensely of the business itself: the first thing you need to acquire is a business mindset. Here is when it gets tricky: what is a “business mindset”? You have heard of it almost anywhere, all big names in the industry talk about it. Simply put, the business mindset is a way of living in constant research of opportunities. I know it is a giant approximation, but if you are trying to learn the basics, it will do for now. Now think about this: you are taking a walk in a commercial area, your attention gets caught by a nice display that shows your favorite phone is on discount, say instead of 1.000€ it’s now 900€. If you say “I can’t afford this”, that’s how normal people think, but if you say “how can I afford this?” that speaks volume about the business mindset. Of course, words and thoughts alone won’t be enough along the road, but they certainly pave the way.
Remember the first paragraph, when I said: “something happened”? I started further improving my best asset, the mind, and begun ignoring money, focusing on processes to generate value instead. My life started taking a different spin and new opportunities began to unfold along my path.
If there is something you’d like to pick from this article, pick the need to change your mindset. It won’t happen overnight, it won’t be easy, but it is possible and it will change your life. The power of “how can I….?” is immense, it sets your mind in motion, rather than passively accepting your fate.
What about you? What’s your story?