“Do you want to run your own company?” – I ask
Would you answer “no” or “maybe”?
I want to find out if someone who declines this question, after using the tips below, can wake up their entrepreneurial spirit and answer “yes” in a matter of months. The tips come from my personal ups and downs of being an entrepreneur – not the glamour we think of, but the true sweat and tears.
Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
What makes the entrepreneurial spirit thrive? – Somehow I cannot get around the fact that entrepreneurs are born, have talents, have specific skill sets, have some “special” spirit, that makes them very prone to being successful. Starting with myself, my entrepreneurial spirit might have been boosted by some of the above, but it is much more than that.
Not to jump to conclusions, I had to explore the Internet. Matt Erlichman wrote an interesting article for Inc.com – the five characteristics of the entrepreneurial spirit are: in-tune with passion, questioning everything, optimism, taking calculated risks and execution. One of my favorite success gurus, Robert Holden, Ph.D, wrote an insightful article on his personal blog. In his view, there are 10 characteristics that define the entrepreneurial spirit and these were some I never even considered:
An entrepreneur sees that the world is a cause, and we are the effect.
An entrepreneur doesn’t wait for life to happen; they begin.
An entrepreneur realizes that you have to be what you want in order to get what you want.
This got me thinking – using what I know, can I be able to boost such traits in anyone? It does not have to mean that entrepreneurship is fully exclusive for those born with the traits. Just as sports people accomplish far more by training then on talent alone, can we apply such a thesis to our problem?
After reviewing all the characteristics that needed to be boosted, I looked into specific tips for the job. Theoretically, by using them, you could apply more energy to your persona, thus be better at making your dreams come true.
18 Tips for Enhancing the Entrepreneurial Spirit
1. Think for yourself
Entrepreneurship is a lonely road. At first almost everyone will question your quest. Do not worry, people are afraid of new things. To become an entrepreneur you have to start thinking for yourself. Start to be more confidant in your abilities. After all, YOU have started something no one believes will work! WOW!
Pep talk: You are your best friend!
2. What would you do if you had no fear?
The philosophy of fear is a widely covered subject since the beginning of time. If scientists talked about it thousands of years ago, it must be very crucial to the human existence. Fear can be a good thing – according to the classification of the 5 types of fears, the first four are almost fully physiological:
- Loss of anatomy
But number five – ego death – is the real killer:
the fear of humiliation, shame, or any other mechanism of profound self-disapproval that threatens the loss of integrity of the Self; the fear of the shattering or disintegration of one’s constructed sense of lovability, capability, and worthiness.
This reminds of when we are obsessed with what others think of us.
I wrote a similar article based on the bestseller Who moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson where I point out that fear is our biggest enemy. Of course, not the first 4 types of it, but the fear around our ego. After reading the book, I have used a similar technique that helps build you resilience:
Pep talk: Always ask yourself – What would you do if you had no fear?
3. Question everything
Obedience is something we are taught from a young age. I, myself, have grown up in a transition country that is still (more than 25 years). Conformity was (and still is) a valued trait among our circles. But conformity also robs you of one extremely important tool for entrepreneurship – asking questions!
Interestingly enough, an article by the A More Beautiful Question website is dedicated to helping educators teach children to question. They have even developed the “Question Formulation Technique”.
But how can asking questions help us improve our entrepreneurial spirit?
Every entrepreneurial quest begins with the urge to change something. History is here to testify that asking the hard questions is hard, clouded in fear, but crucial for progress. By questioning our society, the people around us, the potential customers, we are gathering information on the current situation. This data is vital for our progress as an entrepreneur.
Tip: Day 1 – count the number of questions you have asked that day. Day 2-10 – each day try to double the amount of questions you have asked the day before.
4. Problems are opportunities
something that is difficult to deal with : something that is a source of trouble, worry, etc. – Mirriam-Webster Dictionary
A problem is a bad thing. That we can agree on! But the longer a problem persists, the bigger the impact it has. Dealing with problems (even in our personal life) is one of the hardest things to do. But if there is something negative, that makes the life of a number of people a degree tougher, that is an opportunity. Do not be afraid of problems. We are not perfect. Our society is far from it too. Every problem is a chance to improve. Every problem is a business opportunity!
Tip: List all the problems that you face today. Start to look for solutions. Can you spot an opportunity?
5. It is OK to fail
We are afraid of failure not because of ourselves, but because of others. It goes in sync with our ego.
6. Forget money – think VALUE
Money moves the world – or we think that way. Money is a means of exchange of value. It is an instrument that quantifies the benefits (most of the time).
Thinking about money limits us. Often the most breathtaking ideas cannot be quantified at first. They are hard to comprehend and even harder to measure. Nevertheless, we are talking about ideas that change the world. They bring massive value to the end users.
What is value:
relative worth, utility, or importance – Mirriam-Webster Dictionary
The connection between the entrepreneurial spirit and the value lies in the essence of customer satisfaction. The more value a product/service brings, the happier the user is going to be. By thinking about value, not money, you are beginning to rewire the thinking process. It is not about collecting money – it is about helping.
7. Money is a means to an end
Money is a tool. Simple as that. The more money you make, the more options you will have. Just remember – cash should not be your mission!
8. Ask for help
We all have different talents. That makes the world fun. To wake up your entrepreneurial spirit, you have to be ready to ask for help. In the same way a product is created for a specific purpose, each person can only be best at a handful of things.
Knowing your limitations is the best personal strength. By doing so, you know what type of help is needed and where to find it.
9. Listen (not hear) to people
Communication is the essence of society. I believe that every problem is a result of poor communication and every problem can be resolved with good communication.
An awesome video by Mind Tools to help you get there:
10. Talk to the mirror
Become the best at giving yourself the best pep talk possible. Often, entrepreneurs become very lonely and demotivated. This is when you turn to yourself for motivation. Face yourself in the mirror and act as if you are motivating someone who is of great significance to you. Just a simple rephrasing of your motivational speech can go a long way according to psychologist Sandra Dolcos, Ph.D and her team.
11. Understand that learning brings long term effects
How can you solve current problems if you have do not have the latest knowledge? The entrepreneurial spirit depends on learning.
The more you know, the more you know you don’t know – Aristotle
Sometimes learning can be a painful process. It takes time, energy and other precious resources. To remain persistent in constant learning, you need to change the thinking process:
- Think of learning as a tool that will help you reach your goals
- Think of learning as your competitive advantage
- Think of learning as an opportunity
12. Start to love data
Data is a friend. Numbers are nothing to be afraid of. In my belief, people are generally afraid of numbers because they never lie. Having the right information can lead to better decisions. There is no excuse for not doing research and analysis.
One of the best articles on conducting research for entrepreneurs by Aabaco Small Business will help you start the data gathering process. By using these tools you can get a better understanding of the opportunities.
Tip: Do not be afraid of reality!
13. Sharing is caring
A stereotypical behavior among new entrepreneurs is not to share their ideas. The excuse – their listeners will steal it! This absurd way of thinking is one of the primary reasons why new ideas fail. If you do not share the idea, how will you ever get feedback?
No idea is perfect, but it takes time for it to mature. The maturing process consists of small changes and tweaks that go in accordance to your new findings. Some of the best resources to improve on your initial idea is to share it out loud.
14. Feedback is a friend
15. Think GOAL!
It is very easy to derail on the path to success. Living in the “success bubble” can have dreadful consequences to any new entrepreneur. By having personal SMART goals you eliminate the risk of derailment. What is even more important is to constantly think in terms of goals. Every time you come to an opportunity/problem/obstacle, check your alignment to your personal goals.
Tip: Goal execution is equally important as goal setting.
16. Take everything with a pinch of salt
Absolutely everything in the world can be changed. Waking up the entrepreneurial spirit must be fueled by rebellion. Do not fall into the current societal platform. It is made up of people who live in the comfort zone.
17. People want to see you fail
Few days ago I saw the biographical movie about Jesse Owens. It featured a scene during the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, where Jesse (played by Stephan James) talks to coach Larry Snyder (played by Jason Sudeikis). Jesse faces constant pressures through out the competition, finding out that racial effects and politics have strong influence on sports.
Interestingly, coach Snyder recalls him missing his Olympic appearance due to a bizarre accident. Days before traveling, he crushed his airplane. The moral of the story is that people love sports because it defines the reality. It is a testament of the human evolution and character. And they love outstanding sport results.
Flying a plane is like sports. It is like no other experience. But crushing a plane is even better entertainment. – Coach Snyder
If you fail, everyone who has ever doubted you, wins! They get to be right! Not you!
18. No risk, no return
Risk is the essence of entrepreneurship. Generally we measure and present risk in material values, almost always as money. To become an entrepreneur, you have to stop treating risk as an obstinate. Risks exists to quantity the unknown. No one knows the exact future, but you have the power to change it.
Bringing it together
Waking up the entrepreneurial spirit is not an easy task. It is especially hard for those who feel they do not possess the right traits and talents. I believe there is no such thing. It is completely up to you to achieve what you want, how you want it and with who.
I hope that by using some, or all of the tips I provided above, you will be able to wake up your sleeping traits, stand up for yourself and give purpose to your life.
Til next time!