Whether you’re starting a side hustle or going full on entrepreneur mode, there can be a lot to think about. In this video, I’m going to share five things I wish I had been told about entrepreneurship so that hopefully you can learn from my experiences and not have to learn things the hard way.
Thing #1: Traditional school does not prepare you for entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs at their cores solve problems and address market inefficiencies. Whereas traditional schools typically teach you conventional ways to think about things. In the case of employment, it’s typically how to do a job within a particular organization.
For example, you can learn how to calculate GDP in your economics class, but there are few examples in which you are actually going to need to apply that in a real-world setting when it comes to entrepreneurship. If you want to become more entrepreneurial, you should focus on simplifying your mental frameworks, find problems and then think about the different ways that you can offer a potential solution. Then from there, think about how you could sell your solution to that problem.
If, for example, you’re a solo real estate agent, and you’re trying to find clients to represent, I can’t think of a thing that you would have potentially learned in traditional schooling that you would have used as much as something that you would have learned from just testing different methods of outreach with real people.
You’re better off reading and acquiring practical skills like public speaking, rapport building or sales.
Thing #2: Entrepreneurship can be pretty lonely.
Ultimately, you’re doing something that not many people do. It’s not a conventional path. And so, it can be something that you are often going to be left doing alone late at night. Even if you start to see success with a side business or side hustle that you’re building, you’re likely going to be leveraging contractors before you leverage full-time employees. So it’s really important for you as you go about your journey to find other people that you can connect with and bounce different ideas off of.
This is also really important because it helps you not lose long-term motivation over the work that you’re working towards. I found this to be, especially the case among founders. I’ve been part of founder groups where we meet every month or a quarter to talk about different challenges we’re facing in our businesses or our personal lives and found that that has been a great way to connect with other people that are like-minded. Because otherwise it’s not very often that we meet people that truly get the realities that we face as entrepreneurs every single day.
Whether these are problems related to hiring, scaling a business, or just managing cashflow. These are people that have seen the same sorts of challenges that you’re facing day in and day out. If you’re an extrovert that wants to be an entrepreneur, you have to find a way for you to channel your energy and your desire to connect with others. Because in the case where you’re building an app or a broader platform, you’re likely going to be doing a lot of lonely work.
In the case where you’re building a service side company, this might not be as big of a problem because you’ll still be interfacing with prospects and clients on a regular basis. Your mental health is going to be tested like it has never been tested before. So it’s really important for you to have the proper support systems that you need to keep going when the going gets tough.
Thing #3: High velocity decision making comes with time and experience.
The very first time you do something, you’re going to suck at it. This is just super natural and part of the process of learning something new, but what’s really important for you to do is to take that failure in stride and think about what went well and what didn’t go well.
I want you to evaluate the people, the process and the product, and then refine whatever went wrong. It’s only from learning from these experiences that you’re able to truly get better and faster at making calls when you are building your business. You have to stay as rational as possible and take out as much emotion as possible. In other words, you have to listen to what your customers or users are telling you and isolate for what is an emotional response and what is a logical response.
They might be venting to you, but they might actually be telling you something that’s factual about your platform that needs to be improved. Being able to make quick decisions based on incomplete information is something that only comes with both time and experience. Your goal should be to get to a point in which your high velocity decision-making tilts in your favor, when it comes to the odds.
In other words, for every 10 decisions, six of the decisions you make work out for you. I’ve generally been pretty fast at making decisions, but they haven’t always worked out for me. The best way that I’ve learned over time to make better decisions is to keep a log in which I logged the successes and failures of the different decisions that I decide to make for my businesses or side projects. This way I’m able to pull from my past experiences when it comes time to bat again.
Thing #4: Sales and rejection is a huge part of entrepreneurship.
If you don’t feel comfortable selling something, then it’s going to be really hard for you to be an entrepreneur. And the reason why is because you’re not going to be able to create any value exchange opportunities. So, if you hate the idea of sales, you should either find somebody that can help you out here or position yourself in a side project or business that doesn’t require you to actively be selling on sales calls.
For example, you might want to find something in which you can rank for SEO and then earn passive income for those websites or just build a storefront and sell through your products as opposed to jumping on a client call. Whatever you end up landing on. It’s really important that you get over this distaste of sales.
I’ve worked with entrepreneurs that have this scummy feeling around sales, and it really inhibits their ability to become an even more effective entrepreneur. The reason why is because they start to limit their opportunities for selling their product or service that would actually help the customer or the prospect achieve a particular outcome.
So even though they can provide a great service, if they were presented the opportunity, they don’t even do so because they’re so afraid of sale. There are two realities to remember here. Sales gives you money, which ultimately is the lifeblood of your startup or business. And every single rejection simply gets you closer to your next sale. So you need to keep going at it in order to actually get better at it and give you the most opportunities.
Thing #5: Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be risky.
If you have anything that you’re good at, you can build a side hustle and make extra money from that skill that you have.
Say, for example, you’re really good at getting kids to complete their homework. What you could do is you could create a series of free videos, teaching parents about some different tips and tricks that you figured out to get students motivated to do their homework. From there, you can then create a digital product that continues to sell itself over time that you can then link to in the video description of your free videos.
These digital products could be the step-by-step plans of the tips that you are giving in your free videos. As a result, you’ll build your audience and have a natural sales funnel for you to convert and monetize your skill. I have articles covering things like how to start a tutoring business or other businesses in case you’re interested.
In the case where you don’t want to build something yourself, you can simply go onto Facebook Marketplace and go to the free section and then find the local university or the zip code of the local university that you’re around and see if anybody is giving away free textbooks.
From there, you can just resell those textbooks for a profit because your cost of acquisition was $0 and you’ve made yourself some extra money. The thing I want you to take away from both of these examples is that you don’t have to bet the farm in order to try your hand at being entrepreneurial.
All you need to do is identify something of value, present your offer to potential customers and see if they buy it. And if not, refine your offer until somebody is willing to buy something from you. You also don’t have to necessarily reinvent the wheel. If you don’t have an idea, look for spaces in which people already spend money and then create an offer there.
There are two things I want you to remember from this article:
- The first one is to start learning sales if you haven’t already. I have a playlist of sales related videos and tips and tricks that you can download on my website.
- The second big takeaway is to just focus on improving. Whether it’s your decision-making, the product or service you’re trying to sell or something else, the important thing is that you are improving every single day. Entrepreneurship is all about presenting your minimum viable product to your prospect and seeing how they react to it. If they buy it, then great. Do it again. And if they don’t, then refine your offer and keep improving.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might also benefit from learning these things I wish I had been told about entrepreneurship.