Successful entrepreneurs pride themselves in “becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable”.
Many people see the path as dangerous and believe “you can only make it if you are lucky”, whereas entrepreneurs take risks head-on.
As Reid Hoffman said: An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.”
Entrepreneurs don’t shy away from challenges, rather, they move towards challenges and find ways to overcome them.
What people see is the final success entrepreneurs have gained, but not the hard work, discipline, and perseverance it took to get to that point.
Now that we’ve established entrepreneurs attack risk, what is it about entrepreneurs and their interests that make feel that way? What interests do entrepreneurs have that lead them to take on risks and challenges when the odds are stacked against them?
Let’s get into reasons why entrepreneurs want to take risks.
Disrupting the Norm
One thing entrepreneurs are interested in is disrupting the norm. If entrepreneurs didn’t innovate, the world wouldn’t be where it is now. I wouldn’t have a platform to share my thoughts and you wouldn’t have the opportunity to read these thoughts.
They take risks because they believe in no risk, no reward.
Successful entrepreneurship involves taking risks. If you don’t embrace risk-taking, you may want to rethink being an owner. A countless number of entrepreneurs have taken risks to get their businesses to where they are now.
Taking risks, however, doesn’t mean to blindly go into business and expect great results. Think of it more like calculated risks. Taking risks in entrepreneurship involves careful planning and hard work.
No More Wondering “What If”
One of the worst feelings humans experience is regret. Have you ever thought back to the past and thought “what if I did this instead?” If yes, you’re not alone. Successful entrepreneurs hate the feeling of regret. But what’s the solution?
Find something you won’t regret dedicating extra time towards. For most people, this tends to be a hobby, interest, or something they’re talented at.
Founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, once said:
“I knew that when I was 80, I was not going to regret having tried this…I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that. I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. And I knew that would haunt me every day.”
Nobody can be 100% sure if risks will pay off, no matter how calculated they may be. But this shouldn’t stop you from taking risks because no one became successful without taking risks. Frederick Wilcox once said “progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”
Are you willing to take the risk?
Learning From Mistakes
Not all risks pay off, but the most important thing to remember is no matter how many times you fail, there will come a time when you’ll succeed – if you learn from your mistakes.
The hard part is being patient, working hard, and believing this. But this is one thing all successful entrepreneurs believe in deeply. Mistakes and failures will happen, no matter how well you plan. I’ve yet to see any foolproof plan in my entrepreneurial endeavors.
With each failure and misstep, I always take a beat to reflect on what happened. I know what to avoid in the future and it helps me to create better products, services, processes, etc.
Remember, if you’re innovating and trying things that no one’s ever done, you will fail. That’s the nature of innovation.
Creating and Innovating With Customers
Innovation involves changing the traditional ways of doing things for more efficiency and better products/services overall. Opportunities and ideas can come from many different places, including from current customers.
The people who’re using products and services day-in/day-out are the ones who will be able to tell you what their problems and inefficiencies are. You take their problems and find solutions that you can provide to them.
Sounds easy right? The risk comes when you’re listening to the problems and finding solutions that they’ll pay for. This is the market research and testing that you’re constantly working on while creating your minimum viable product (MVP).
If you’re able to work with the customers and iterate off their suggestions, it’s a win-win. You’re getting more fine-tuned with your new products and services. In return, your clients will feel that they’re getting a customized solution – which they are. They’re going to feel more loyal to you because you’re listening to them and making their lives easier.
Having a Competitive Advantage
Since lots of people are afraid to take risks, those who do have a competitive advantage. Think about the advantages you’re going to have from developing solutions with your clients. You’re getting immediate feedback from your users and not wasting your time and resources on developing things that no one will use.
Those who are afraid to take risks will always be stuck in the past and present (which eventually becomes the past). The future is yours for the taking and leading.
There is little competition for risk-takers. This means if you have found a worthwhile opportunity, and no one else has jumped on it, you are the only business reaping the benefits and communicating with customers.
So anytime you are considering taking a risk, keep your competitors in mind. If you don’t take the risk, they may choose to do so instead. So make a calculated decision about whether the risk is worthwhile based on research.
Think about the potential risks, but also think about the potential in revenue if you’re helping people solve their problems.
Unlimited Income Potential
Unlimited potential for financial gain is highly intriguing for entrepreneurs.
The great thing about entrepreneurship is there is no limit to how much money you can make. The only limits lie when you think about what you want to do and how much value you can provide to people. The more value you provide, the more money you can generate.
The main difference between being a business owner and working for an owner is when you work for an owner, your income potential is capped at your salary plus any commissions. On top of that, you’re not in control of your income – your boss decides your yearly income. There’s no job security, but you also don’t need to log your hours with someone.
When you don’t have a ceiling to how much you can earn, you begin having more options in life and business. You’re able to be more flexible and have different paths to choose from. You’re not stuck to one way of doing things, because you have flexibility.
Entrepreneurs love the flexibility. Taking risks, innovating, and creating new things are inherently all about flexibility. They take risks because it offers them more flexibility in all facets of life.
A flexible working environment (office and hours) is something that entrepreneurs receive. The idea of not having to work a 9-5, not having to work early mornings or late nights but only when you want to is a dream many entrepreneurs chase.
Choose when you want to work and for how long you want to work. You also get to choose when you want to take a break or a holiday. You’re in control of everything – no more boss telling you when you have to come into the office.
I won’t lie, in the beginning, the hours are long. But those long hours are also flexible in that you choose when you want to work. When you don’t work, your business may not work. That’s a risk you’re taking to achieve the ability to work when you want.
Typically people who work a rough 9-5 job don’t have a good work-life balance because they’re tied to the company they work for. They’ll go into the office, work late, go home, eat, sleep, and repeat it all over the next day.
On the other hand, entrepreneurship allows you to deal with life and any life events that come up. You’re not taken away from your personal life and able to enjoy life
How many people do you know who have missed the birth of their child, birthdays, or anniversaries because they “had to work?”
Flexibility in life will give you the flexibility to balance life how you want to for your best emotional self.
Flexibility with finances comes with the unlimited earnings potential entrepreneurs have. That’s something many entrepreneurs look for. They’re able to choose what they want to do because they’re on solid financial footing and are able to choose what they want to do.
Financial flexibility doesn’t mean that you’re able to spend frivolously. You still need to manage income and expenses appropriately, so you have money in the bank when you need it. This means putting aside money in your bank to spend on emergencies or family vacations. You can take sick leave while still financially protected, and you can take breaks when you want or need to.
Self-development is essential for entrepreneurs because every entrepreneur strives to be in a better position today compared to yesterday.
Self-development can be branched out into many things for example how motivated you are, how balanced your work is with an active lifestyle, or how much profit you are making (to list a few). By concentrating on setting specific goals, you get closer to improving your life, which is essential in the entrepreneurship space.
Goals differ from person to person, and the most important thing to remember is to pay attention to your own goals and not others – the more you focus on yourself, the more you develop, becoming a better version of yourself every day.
Improving and Learning New Skills
Entrepreneurs need to continue learning and developing their skills so they can fit in with the times and adapt to any situation that may come their way.
Nowadays, investors are looking for many corporate skills in entrepreneurs and it’s always a good idea to study something new in order to expand your knowledge and boost creativity. Imagine you’re an investor – would you invest in someone who is really good at one thing or in a person who is good a multiple different things?
Identifying Potential and Developing Talent
Eventually, you want some of your employees to take on managerial positions. You’ll want to identify the staff who have the potential for those roles and mentor them. Think about the mentorship you’ve had in your life. Even if not a singular mentor, there were people who advised you on your journey.
Tailor your company’s training to ensure your company’s vision can be replicated by someone other than you. You can then focus on tasks that are more important to you while delegating everything else to others.
Communication is important to building good relationships with customers and your staff. Effective communication skills are a must in a managerial and leadership position. You need to be able to express your vision and thoughts to your employees in the right way.
Communication is the foundation for any business, and without it everyone would be lost.
Think about this: if you have employees who don’t share the same vision as the company, then how will they be able to effectively promote the company in a way that befits the brand?
Do you want multiple people to view your company in different ways or do you want a singular vision and brand? All successful businesses have a clear vision and brand that is understood internally and externally.
As an entrepreneur, you can focus time on improving your health by following habits of healthy people. Set goals to exercise regularly, eat healthily, and to generally take better care of yourself. Living a healthier life will help give you more energy, a clearer mind, and get you ready to take on the life of an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are interested in personal fulfillment in their lives. At the end of the day, there is nothing better than following your dreams. Whether that’s being a t-shirt designer and selling your designs, or baking cakes and selling them, following and monetizing your passion is fulfilling in many ways. Suddenly working 9-5 in an office cubicle sounds like a distant thought.
It is now becoming more common for people to step out of their comfort zones to chase a life which overall makes them happier. Combined with all the other possible benefits, entrepreneurship now sounds something like one of those things you should try before you regret not giving it a go at a later age. It’s never too late to start.
What Do All Entrepreneurs Have In Common?
They’re skilled in their area of business and offer a unique insight in the industry that they’re pursuing. If entrepreneurs don’t have knowledge in certain areas, they go and learn it. They’ll go online, they’ll contact people in their network for advice or for referrals to people who have the knowledge.
If you’re still in school, listen and study in all your classes. No matter what the subject is: mathematics, biology, social studies, history, etc. There’s no correct answer to the question of How to be successful because everyone has a different journey. What they have in common is a thirst for knowledge.
For example, Bill Gates spent nearly 10 years in school programming in different computer systems before starting Microsoft. If he didn’t spend all that time in the trenches, he wouldn’t know where the opportunities were and what areas of computer technology needed innovation.
Without this, your business will collapse as soon as you run something you’ve never seen before. This is where flexibility and resilience come in – with these skills, your business can flourish. You need to persevere and continue chipping away at obstacles in your way.
No one is going to do it for you, so you have to have the drive to overcome obstacles yourself to reach your goals. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, so you’re going to need to motivate yourself to accomplish
90% of startups fail. The main reason why is the entrepreneur quits when they first release a product or service and they don’t sell millions in the first days, weeks, or months. Instead of persisting, they quit, making up excuses to justify their failures.
It is a grueling path of success, and not for the faint of heart. Entrepreneurs are strong, take failures in stride, and continue to learn from the failures. Eventually, all that learning and perseverance will turn into success.
Entrepreneurship is something everyone should at least give a try if it’s something you’ve thought about. You hear stories about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and all these other successful entrepreneurs.
Remember, a successful entrepreneur is a person too, just like you.
You don’t need money to get started, but you will have to dedicate time and effort. It is by no means easy, but it can be worth it. Read more about How to be an Entrepreneur here.
Handy recap of the above.
An entrepreneur would most likely be interested in:
1. Disrupting the Norm
2. No More Wondering “What If”
3. Learning From Mistakes
4. Creating and Innovating with Customers
5. Having a Competitive Advantage
6. Unlimited Income Potential
7. Flexibility – Time, Emotional, Financial
8. Personal Development
a. New Skills
b. Developing and Mentoring Others
c. Personal Fulfillment
d. Improving Communication
e. Improving Health
What do all entrepreneurs have in common?