“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky
Stop me if you’re heard this one. You’re at a party and someone finds out what you do. You could be a coach, consultant, marketer, small business owner, agency owner, whatever. This person finds out what you do and then they tell you they have this great idea that they know will make you and/or them rich. If I had a dollar every time I heard that, I could probably retire. Not that I would, I love what I do too much lol.
But, here’s my point. Like our dear friend Scott said in the quote above. Being an entrepreneur isn’t about having ideas. Every freaking person I’ve met has had some pretty good ideas. It’s really all about execution. If you can’t make it happen, you can’t make any money. Simple as that. So, how do you know if you’re really an entrepreneur? Let’s find out right now. Read through the list below and tell me if this sounds like you.
1) You Have Something To Prove To Yourself And Others
It’s not pretty, it’s most likely not healthy, but odds are you have something to prove. You may have a chip on your shoulder. Most entrepreneurs I know are driven by this desire to prove others wrong. It could have been a teacher when you were younger, your own parents or family, or a well-meaning friend who told you it just wasn’t going to work out for you. I love a good challenge, which is really at the core of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Looking for challenges and taking them on.
And proving to others that you do have it what it takes, that you aren’t just a dreamer, and that you will be a success is really the ultimate challenge. For me, I had a lot to prove to myself. I talked a big game when I was younger. I did a lot of crazy things to make money and be my own boss, from investing in real estate with no money to my name to partnering with a farmer friend in Illinois and buying 500 pregnant dairy goats. (whole ‘nother story!). I failed again and again. And each time I failed, another person would lose faith in me. I even lost faith in myself. But I didn’t give up. The desire to succeed was stronger than my fear of failure. So, I pushed on and eventually found my way by tapping into the awesome power of direct sales and internet marketing.
The dark side of this is that once you’ve proven others wrong (or yourself right), you still may not feel whole. This is because true happiness comes from within, not from achieving a goal or reaching a certain bank balance. I could preach this till I’m blue in the face, but you won’t know what I’m talking about until you’ve reached the goal and the bank balance you think you want. Once you do that, hit me up and we’ll talk.
Here’s a great story from Barbara Cocoran of Shark Tank fame on how what her Ex-Husband said to her drove her to achieve amazing success.
2) You Get Things Done Fast & Never Put Off Till Tomorrow What Could Be Done Today
Ok, this one is an ideal we should all strive for. Being an entrepreneur means getting things done. Being a successful entrepreneur means getting things done as fast as possible. When you own your own business, you are in charge of a lot of people and things. But first and foremost, you are in charge of yourself. The key here is that you never put off work that could be done today. This is called procrastination. It’s a sickness that can creep up on any of us at any time. And it can really make a mess of things fast.
There’s a famous quote from the Popeye character Wimpy that I have always loved because it shows the exact opposite nature of an entrepreneur. It goes like this:
I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today – J. Wellington Wimpy
While in general this quote is about being financially irresponsible, I also see it as trying to put off what you should be doing now until tomorrow. (Or Tuesday). If you’re a successful entrepreneur, your life should read something like this:
You wake up around the same time every day and take care of your necessities. Then, you hit the ground running clearing away important tasks and projects. You avoid distractions and push to accomplish as much as possible. You don’t always achieve everything you want each day, but you’re excited to get back to it the next day and keep the forward momentum going.
If this isn’t you, then ask yourself – why not?
3) Your Passion Drives You – Not The Pursuit Of Money
Whenever someone asks me what’s the best way for them to start making money fast, I cringe. On the inside. It’s almost a guaranteed sign to me that they aren’t going to make any money. I know this sounds harsh, but in my experience, you have to be passionate about what you do to really make it work. I’m not saying you can’t make money doing something you don’t like, obviously most people do just that. It’s called a job. But as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to align yourself with a higher purpose.
For me, it’s been my love of all things business. I love growing companies, marketing, sales, operations, HR, the whole thing. I lucked out in that way. I love products too, but my passion lies in taking a company and seeing it grow and thrive. That’s what drives me. That’s why I got into coaching and consulting. So, I can continue to pursue my passion and help companies grow while helping business owners find freedom.
What if you’re in a company where you don’t love all aspects of it? Well, first, that’s most likely the case for all of us. We are not going to like every part of our business. And that’s ok. Focus on doing what you love and hiring others to do the rest. It’s a process and it won’t happen overnight, but if you keep at it, it will happen. It’s taken me a few years to get there, but man it was worth it. Make that your goal.
And remember – going after money never works. Except maybe with the lottery. But even then, there are tons of lottery horror stories.
4) You Have Looked Fear In The Eye And Said “Not Today”
In the epic TV show (based on the books) Game Of Thrones, there’s a fantastic scene where everyone’s favorite Stark, Arya, is attacked during a practice session with her sword trainer Syrio Forel. Syrio asks Arya a question that I think applies directly to our lives every day as business owners and entrepreneurs.
As entrepreneurs, we are faced with a question like this every day. For us, the question isn’t about the god of death, but more the all-consuming fear that can take us over when it comes time to take that risk or leap of faith.
I know there are some entrepreneurs who say they aren’t afraid or they don’t really care about the outcome as long as they gave it their best. But if you’re putting your house on the line, or your reputation or your family’s future, there better be some fear to face up to or you’re not doing it right.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling a little bit of fear. It’s totally normal. But we must look fear in the face and say, “Not today.”. The best entrepreneurs I know act in spite of the fear and self-doubt. It’s not that it doesn’t exist, it’s that successful entrepreneurs have developed the courage to move forward anyway.
Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. – Meg Cabot
5) You Have An Uncanny Ability To Live With Paradoxes
The life of an entrepreneur is different, that we can agree on. What makes it even harder sometimes is that we are often forced to accept paradoxes. By definition, a paradox is a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.
In plain English, it’s two things that go together that don’t make sense. Here are just a few of the paradoxes we must accept as entrepreneurs:
- Have the ego to believe in yourself so much to risk everything you have while at the same time being humble enough to pivot when needed and accept that you don’t know even a tenth of what you think you do
- Being able to create a bullet proof plan that you know works while remaining open to the fact that at any given time your plan may become obsolete and you will have to wing it
- Getting into the business you’re in because you wanted freedom from a job only to find out that you are now working more hours than ever before
- Having the creativity within yourself to create awesome new ideas and business models while also being critical enough to think your ideas are terrible (depends on the day)
- Being a big picture person who sees the 10,000 foot view of your business AND being the detailed guy or gal that spells out exactly how every little part of the company must operate
- Being equal parts 100% confident your idea is going to work while being 100% confident it’s never going to work (depends on the day)
- Feeling like an expert in your field while also feeling like you don’t really know anything (again, depends on the day)
I would love to hear from you on some more paradoxes you encounter in your business or day to day life.
The part of the show where I throw in a little something extra. This time, I want to point you to a great little article I read that will give you 15 personality traits that all successful people have. You can read the full article here.
Here are a few of my favorite. Successful people:
- Live in the moment
- Take responsibility for their mistakes
- Talk about ideas
- Hope everyone succeeds
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Agree with my assessment? Disagree? Didn’t really read it? Let me know in the comments. And if you know of some more paradoxes, please share them!