So you’ve left that job you hate, or you’ve come straight out of college and into the big bad world of entrepreneurship. Congratulations, I’ll send you a gold medal in the mail for your bravery. You’ve been on the journey a short time, and it’s not phenomenal. "That’s right, Mr. Tim, something is missing." Well, Mr. Tim (that's me) is no guru, but I reckon I can solve some of your issues. Not because I’m so smart but because I’ve racked up a few hours and suffered many heartaches that caused heart-attack-like health problems.
There’s no rah-rah, wham-bam, standing ovation, high-five-your-partner in this article. Moreover, the advice is also counter-intuitive in some ways. You want to be a better entrepreneur and most assume that means the advice will be 99 percent business related. It's not.
Sorry to say but success is usually the other way round. I can give you the world’s best product with the world’s best sales team, and you will probably still fail. The cause will be a combination of greed, ego, mindset and a few other ingredients that you’ll probably never even realize are present. Why? This whole entrepreneur journey thing is about the world that happens in your flipping head not the one’s and zero’s that appear on your spreadsheet, nor the product you think people will care about with all its bells and whistles.
Let’s get into the advice. Here are the four things that are missing from your entrepreneurial journey:
1. Your personal life sucks.
You can start to build the world’s greatest company but let me tell you firsthand that if your personal life sucks, your business will too. You’ll take your frustrations from your personal life into the office with you and take them out on any human being that enters your field of vision. You’ll have no idea why you’re doing this or even that you are doing this. People will just assume you’re a jerk, which is, unfortunately, bad for business -- really bad for business.
Face up to the fact that you may be fat, lonely and single. Do something about it with one of those dating sites if you need to. It’s not hard, and you can’t escape the necessity. Our poor little human brains are programmed to survive, love and reproduce. The moment you forget these three facts human existence is the moment your entrepreneurial journey starts to go on a downward spiral toward bankruptcy and failure.
I’ve lived this tip first hand, so I’m living proof. I thought I could just waltz around in my stupidly fast, luxury car and think that I was the god of entrepreneurship. When I realized I was wrong it was too late, the failure started, and I hit rock bottom. The great thing for everyone reading this is that I took all that negativity and failure and funneled it back into preaching to ya’ll about how to stop yourself from failing at your own entrepreneurial journey. On the other hand, I kind of feel like massive failure is a must, and it’s best to get it out of the way as early on as possible.
2. Focusing on revenue talk rather than momentum.
Working in the corporate world, I hear revenue talk multiple times a day. The thing about numbers is that they are boring and humans fundamentally don’t care or get drawn in by them. If you tell me your business grew 300 percent last month, you have my attention for a fraction of a second, then I don’t care. If you tell me you created a product that saved five people last month from dying of cancer, you have my attention and probably my wallet pretty quickly.
Yes, you need to make revenue to keep the lights on, but what’s missing in your entrepreneurial journey is talk about momentum. You want to be talking about things that the people on your team (even if they are all freelancers) care about. Fundamentally, people have joined your vision to change the world in some unique way, and what you want to be doing is communicating momentum you are creating towards that goal. Assuming you are not smoking crack, the numbers and the momentum towards your goal should align perfectly. Stop talking revenue 100 percent of the time because it makes you sound like you’re a purposeless loser and you’re not, deep down.
3. Not enough action and too much strategy.
I’ve sat in my fair share of strategy meetings, and they bore me to tears. By the time you have finished paying the designer to attach the fancy graphics to your PowerPoint deck, the market has probably already shifted. There isn’t time in today’s fast-paced world to sit around dreaming about some blue horizon that your product might create. Instead of strategizing, what’s missing is you must talk to customers and attract these scarce human being to your business.
The success you have in doing this will determine whether your ideas are any good. Leave the long-tailed strategy side to the large corporates who will most likely not be around in the long-term or who will be forced to take a backseat in the form of wholesaling.
You’ve got to act quickly and with some urgency. Pretend the world is going to end in five years if that image helps get you off your butt and into action. Just do something today towards your business's vision, for crying out loud!
4. Did someone say people?
The major thing you’re missing is people. If your entrepreneurial journey is not freaking fabulous, it’s because you’ve got the wrong people on your side. Whether it’s your advisors, freelancers, co-founders or employees, there is a chance that if you are not full of jubilation, then your team sucks. Unfortunately, you are to blame for this.
The good news is that you can quickly fix it. Don’t worry about the number of people you have and focus on bringing on winners. By winners, I mean the guys and girls who can take a fly kick to the head and still get back up again with a smile on their face. You are searching for positivity and determination.
You’re looking for the leaders that stand up and get others to take action. You want to ideally feel chills down your spine when you interview someone. How the people you bring on your team make you feel is just as important as to the value they can create. Take the prior job experience, plaques, number of degrees and salesman of the year awards with a grain of salt. Business is not that shallow, nor can it be faked.