Dreams of an empire? Imagining what it would be like to see your dreams come to life? Are you ready to work hard day in and day out to meet your goals? If you’re ready to invest and put in the work, then we are happy to share with you how to become an entrepreneur.
People will try to sell you big secrets on how to become an entrepreneur. But the truth is simple: becoming an entrepreneur is easy. Anyone with an idea and a strong work ethic can start the process. The real question is: how do you keep your entrepreneurial efforts afloat so you can stay an entrepreneur?
There are some important traits you will want to succeed. These traits are shared between successful entrepreneurs all over the world. They involve a detailed mix of your mindset and your business acumen – and you will need both.
You cannot be an entrepreneur without the right mindset, but you need to learn about running a business to succeed.
That’s the key difference: to succeed. You don’t want to just be an entrepreneur, you want to be a successful entrepreneur. You want to go on to sell or own a successful business.
So first, you need to get started.
How To Become An Entrepreneur In 3 Steps
We would love to be able to say, “Take these 3 easy steps and you’ll have a successful business!” But that’s not true.
We do have three steps for you.
They sound easy.
But they aren’t.
Being an entrepreneur takes time, investment, energy, grit, determination, and work. The good news is that you can have those traits if you want.
But more on the traits you need to be a successful entrepreneur in a minute.
For now, we do have three steps to help an entrepreneur get started. We recommend creating your own list of things you need to do to make sure your business gets off the ground. But these three steps create a basic framework for what a successful entrepreneur needs.
Step #1: Have An Idea
You will need one of two types of ideas to start out as an entrepreneur:
- A unique insight into a problem that does not currently have a solution.
- A better solution than those that currently exist on the market.
If you are solving a problem that does not have a solution, you’ve most likely discovered a latent need. A latent need is a need that someone has but does not know they have it until it’s pointed out to them.
For instance, in the 1950s, when drive-in movie theaters became popular, people wanted to start eating in their cars. Manufacturers started to include complex picnic baskets and trays in their vehicles. But that wasn’t enough. People started to want to eat (and drink) on the go.
So in 1984, Chrysler released a minivan with built-in cup holders for the first time.
Quickly, the minivan became the go-to vehicle for suburbanites, and the cup holder was popularized.
Can you imagine owning a vehicle without a cup holder now?
Unless you’re driving a vintage car, it’s a ridiculous thought.
When people realized how annoying it was to have to hold their cup, they needed a cup holder. But they didn’t feel that way before there was a solid solution.
So you need an idea like the cup holder.
Someone saw a problem and opportunity arise that no one had found a true solution for yet, so they solved it.
What is something in your job or industry that is annoying and doesn’t have a solution? A process that could be streamlined or an item that could be optimized.
If you see a problem that has a solution but it could be better (i.e. a bundled service), that’s a valid idea, too.
You just need to make sure that your idea has some unique element to it as you take it to market. (Or you could enter the gig economy with a service, but more on that in a minute.)
Step #2: Develop A Business Plan
Once you have your unique idea, you need a plan to make it into reality. You may feel like you have your business planned out in your head, but that’s not enough.
Business planning is a critical step.
Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to see this business be viable.
This business plan will help you figure out manufacturing, marketing, contingency plans, business structure, taxes, and more. Depending on your country, state, and region, you will have to research different tax and entity structures. This structured plan will give you a concrete way to organize this aspect of your business, as well.
Note: this is your first investment in your business. It’s not a monetary investment, but it’s an investment of time, energy, and heart.
Depending on your area, you may need a business plan to secure a business license in the first place.
But most importantly, having a solid business plan can help you secure financing.
Step #3: Find Funding
Are you trying to become an entrepreneur with little to no money to invest yourself? You can still do it. Once you have your business plan, you will be able to pitch your idea to investors or get a business loan.
Additionally, depending on your product or service, you could start a business with very little capital. Not every entrepreneur has a physical product that needs to be manufactured.
So if you don’t need to get a loan to manufacture products, you can self-fund your business with a bit of work.
If you don’t have your novel idea, you could learn a High Income Skill to start your business. These skills include web development, copywriting, high ticket closing, digital content creation, and more. As with a physical product, you still need to make yourself stand out in the market. But you can learn how to do so by getting a mentor or coach who can help you ensure your success.
But the good news about starting a business with a High Income Skill is that you don’t need thousands of dollars to get going. You will have a few expenses. You’ll need a computer, solid internet, business license or LLC (depending on your location–make sure to research what your state or country requires), website, and training.
You can get started, though, with free resources online. So you don’t even need to find funding right away. Once you start to learn the skill, you’ll need to find some clients to work for at a discounted rate or for free. This way, you can build a portfolio. Once you earn a little cash, you can invest in training and expansion.
But to grow your business, you’re going to need to make sure you have some key traits.
How To Become An Entrepreneur With 5 Key Traits
Being an entrepreneur is not easy. Each of the aforementioned steps sounds simple but can take months (or years) of work. As you start your business, you need to embrace a few key traits to ensure your success.
Some of these traits may come naturally, and others may take work. But you need to give yourself a combination of basic business skills and acumen as well as determination and mindset.
If these skills and traits don’t come naturally, you will need to work harder to embrace them. But you, too, can be an entrepreneur.
Are you ready to adjust the way you think to embrace the entrepreneur mindset and life?
Trait #1: High-Risk Tolerance
If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you need to be ready to take some risks. You may need to quit your job to pursue your business. You might have to take out a huge loan. Or you may just need to ask people to take a big chance on you.
Studies showed 96% of start-ups fail, so entrepreneurs need to be ready to jump off the cliff and try anyway.
Take Bill Gates’ risks, for example. He started Microsoft with very little funding, so it seems like there was no risk involved there. He had no money on the line. But he dropped out of Harvard in 1975 to pursue his cup holder idea that changed the world. And they don’t just let you back into Ivy League schools when you drop out.
But beyond his initial risk, he took another risk in 2008 when he left the company in the hands of others. He spent decades building a literal empire and a world-changing company, but he left it to work full time with his foundation. He took the risk that his work would not be all for naught.
By 2008, he had money, fame, and power, so the risk wasn’t losing a safety net. The risk was in watching his empire and work crumble. But it shows how powerful entrepreneurs are risk-takers in every area of their life.
Trait #2: Willingness To Invest
You need to be ready to invest. You will need to invest your time and money in your venture, but you will also need to invest yourself into the business.
If you don’t invest yourself, your business will never grow.
You’ll need to invest in your idea. Cultivating your idea will take time and energy.
You’ll need to invest in your own learning. If you don’t know how to grow, own, and operate a business, you shouldn’t expect to suddenly know how to. You’ll need to invest in training, education, and possibly a mentor.
These are a few pertinent examples, but you need to ask yourself if you’re the type of person who can invest in something. If you’re only putting one foot into your business, you won’t be able to grow it.
Trait #3: Charisma, Persuasion, & Closing Skills
One risk you may need to take is trying to get others to believe in your idea as much as you do. To do this, you will need charisma, persuasion, and closing skills.
Because you’re going to constantly need to sell your idea. To your customers, investors, friends, family, and sometimes, yourself.
But being able to sell your idea is critical. For example, we know Elon Musk for Tesla. But the idea was originally sold to him by someone else.
Martin Eberhard had the idea for Tesla and started the business with another co-founder, Marc Tarpenning in 2003. A year later, Musk came on board as an investor. Eberhard had to sell his idea about the car of the future to Musk.
Eberhard also did his research on investors because Musk was already drawn toward the electric car industry. So if you do need investors for your business, remember to do your research on your investors. This is part of closing high ticket sales.
Trait #4: Millionaire Mindset
Beyond being able to close deals, you need to address your mindset. Being an entrepreneur is difficult. There will be ups and downs, so you need to be able to overcome that. You need to think like a millionaire. You need the Millionaire Mindset.
Part of this is determination. You will need to pick yourself up when things get tough and keep going.
But you also need to keep your mind on the money. You have to think smart about how you handle it, where you invest it, and how you view your money.
You also have to think big.
When Jeff Bezos started Amazon, it only sold books. But he knew from the beginning that it would be much larger. He always had the vision for it to be a one-stop-shop. This mindset led to Amazon being a household name and Bezos being the richest man in the world.
Even when he was just founding his business, he had a millionaire mindset.
Trait #5: Aptitude for Vertical Integration
Beyond mindset, you will need a number of practical business skills and a bit of business acumen. For some, thinking like a business owner is easy. Tuning into their inner business acumen is simple. But for others, you will need to work on it.
So let us give you a piece of advice to help you get started with thinking like a business person: consider vertical integration.
Vertical integration is when a business takes on as many pieces of the production and distribution process as possible. They produce, warehouse, and distribute their product.
Good news: if you’re in a service-based industry like copywriting, you’re pretty vertically integrated already. This aptitude for vertical integration matters more to those who have a physical product.
So how do you become an entrepreneur with a vertically integrated business?
The reality is you probably can’t with a start-up. Funds most likely just won’t allow it. You will need to outsource production. But this business structure is common across many large businesses. When they were founded, their entrepreneurs were not able to integrate. But once they started to grow, they did. It’s more economical, and the company has more control. Thus, the following companies (some of the largest in the world) are vertically integrated.
We’ve talked about Bezos quite a bit already, but he’s one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. So we need to mention Amazon’s unique vertical integration. They don’t produce all of their products, but they do have their Amazon line. These products are cheaper, streamlined, and promoted. Additionally, they’ve acquired Whole Foods to start integrating groceries. Plus, in large cities, they have their own shipping line. As the shipping expands, they will no longer need UPS and FedEx.
Walt Disney Studios
Disney is a giant–a vertically integrated giant. They own the companies that produce and distribute their content. Even though these businesses still operate outside of Disney’s name, they are owned by them. Disney also has its own retail stores.
Arguably one of the most influential companies in the world, Apple is also a prime example of vertical integration. Steve Jobs started integrating early on. Apple manufactures and distributes its own product, so they have extreme control over their image, brand, and pricing.
AT&T (& TimeWarner)
You may think of AT&T as just a cellphone company, but they are more than that. AT&T owns DirectTV. So they bought TimeWarner for the sole purpose of vertical integration. Since TimeWarner produces television and movies, the idea was that AT&T would be able to distribute the products through DirectTV.
While your business may not be the size of these giants, you need to remember to think big. Plus, this is just one point of business knowledge. Recognizing that producing your own goods gives you control over your pricing, image, and brand is a business move. Even if you can’t act on it right away, recognizing patterns like this is important to think like a successful entrepreneur.
What Is Stopping You From Becoming An Entrepreneur?
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you are on the right track. It shows that you want more for your life. You want to be in control of your life, find success, and seek growth. That’s an excellent start.
But now you need to take the next steps towards this future.
Wherever you are in the process, keep going. Keep thinking. Keep dreaming. Don’t be scared of imaging the big, bright future you want.
Because if there is a secret about how to become an entrepreneur, it’s just that: thinking big.
So is your mindset stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur?
Are you scared to think big or dream of the world you want?
Let go of those fears and you will be able to seek success.
So what’s your cup holder idea?