4 Toxic Habits that Keep 'Wantrepreneurs' Down
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
We’re all familiar with the term entrepreneur, that self-driven business owner who spits in the face of fear and risk. Lately, you may have also been hearing the word wantrepreneur, which has a little less of a positive connotation.
A wantrepreneur is basically a wanna-be entrepreneur, someone who talks of this and that business dream but never actually follows through with their plans. As Entrepreneur contributor Rahul Varshneya succinctly puts it, “Wantrepreneurs find excuses, whatever the situation. On the other hand, entrepreneurs build businesses.”
If you want to rise above your wantrepreneur status and actually get on the path to building your business, then you will likely have to confront some ugly habits. It’s nothing to feel bad about; we all have bad habits, but some of them can be particularly toxic for the health of your business aspirations.
If you’re thinking of starting your own endeavor, then you may want to consider getting rid of these four bad habits STAT.
1. All talk, no action.
When starting a business, it’s easy to dream up grandiose ideas without taking any real, concrete action. Instead of just daydreaming, take real steps toward achieving your business aspirations.
Want to know what an entrepreneur who does $100 million in annual sales says is his single most important piece of advice?
We asked Grant Cardone, who in addition to being uber-successful in business also consults Fortune 500 clients on how to take their business to the next level. His secret: “I am where I am today, not because of luck or talent, but because of the amount of actions I take daily.”
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. Instead, focus on essential action items you need to do in order to build your business, rather than thinking about everything you could potentially do. Then (this part is essential), validate your idea by obtaining your first customer as soon as possible. There’s no use in keeping your great idea to yourself; sell your brilliant product or service as soon as it’s ready for the mainstream.
2. Succumbing to social media.
With all of the articles out there telling you how crucial social media is to a successful business, it can be easy to forget this key truth: social is not a growth strategy, and making sure you use every social media app won’t make or break your business. Along the same lines, spending precious funds on ads for social media campaigns is useless if you don’t have a fully functioning, valid product.
Instead of getting sucked into the social media sphere, try to limit distractions during critical work hours and focus on what you need to get done. Plan out breaks during which you can decompress, and, if need be, cruise your favorite social media sites.
We spoke with Entrepreneur contributor John Rampton, founder and CEO of Due as well as the No. 3 online influencer in the world according for Forbes, about what entrepreneurs need to be wary of in the age of constant social media saturation. “Multi-tasking seriously holds entrepreneurs back from achieving their goals,” Rampton says. “While it seems like a great idea to answer emails and send texts while having a conference call, it doesn't accomplish much.
With so much going on when running a startup, it feels normal to jump continually between tasks. Scheduling time to answer emails rather than continually stopping what I'm doing every time my inbox lets me know something new has arrived has allowed me to put more focus on each task, complete it more quickly, and do so without making mistakes that distractions typically lead to.”
If you’re someone who has a difficult time avoiding these types of distractions, try a Chrome plugin like StayFocusd, which allows you to allot a limited number of hours to particularly tempting sites (e.g., Twitter) and helps you devote most of your day to getting real work done for your business.
3. Listening to everyone.
Doing something unconventional such as becoming a business owner can invite a lot of criticism from your friends, family and contacts. Instead of letting this plethora of voices (and negativity) infect your entrepreneurial spirit, just ignore them. Ignore the negative and positive feedback, as neither you nor your sister-in-law (cousin, brother, father, etc. etc.) know what the right decisions are for your business until you try them. Ultimately, you should be listening to only the people that matter for your business: your customers.
It’s also important to understand the role emotional intelligence plays in your business’s success. While ‘tuning out’ the negative voices can help you focus on constructive goals, being conscious of why your business partners, employees, and clients act and think the way they do can be equally crucial.
Airbnb executive, bestselling author and social change agent Chip Conley said this about the connection between being what he calls “emo-savvy” and great leadership: “Many young people can read the face of their iPhone better than the face of the person sitting next to them.
Our digital world is full of emojis, and the term ‘emo’ didn’t exist back in my schoolyard days. But emojis don’t create interpersonal, face-to-face fluency.
I was surrounded by folks who were tech-savvy—but were perhaps unaware that being 'emo-savvy' could be just the thing to help them grow into great leaders.”
4. Waiting for the ‘perfect’ time.
There will never be a perfect time to start your business.
You’ll always be able to come up with a really good excuse to put off your dreams until a later date. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of courage, and courage requires taking action, even when the time doesn’t feel 100 percent right.
As Bruce Lee said, “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
The only way to achieve your vision is to try, learn from your mistakes, and keep on working. Once you take that first, frightening step, you’ve already started to build momentum, making each successive action easier than the last.