How to Go Full Entrepreneur in 2021
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
How can you take charge of your own future in the face of a long-running pandemic that has crushed economies, markets, businesses and lives? Waiting is not going to cut it – waiting for more government stimulus, waiting for the virus to magically disappear, waiting for customers to suddenly come back. The most successful entrepreneurs are not sitting it out. This past year has seen an explosion of newly launched small businesses and startups. As the authors of The Entrepreneur’s Faces: How Makers, Visionaries and Outsiders Succeed, we’re not surprised. It’s not just first-time founders. We’ve also seen tremendous pivots by more traditional businesses, adapting on the run to seismic shifts in habits and behaviors that experts predict will outlast the pandemic. America has done this better and faster than nearly any other country. At heart what we are seeing is the value of innovative mindsets and practices. Ready or not, entirely new challenges will confront you in 2021. It’s time to go all-in, to go full entrepreneur.
Tips On How To Go Full Entrepreneur In 2021
When the world suffers a cataclysmic disruption, entrepreneurs see opportunity. They know that customers are more open to new products and services, especially those with more novel propositions. Our first tip is a simple but essential one. Embrace your identity with passion and creativity. The crisis and lockdowns have afforded many of us the time and space to discover who we are, and what we want in life, love and work. Entrepreneurs come in different flavors, and that’s why we created a model with ten distinct archetypes, everyone from Outsiders to Evangelists, Athletes and Guardians. We all need a personal compass, and discovering our type can be grounding. Sure, commit to your purpose, but first trust in yourself. Have the courage to specialize. Knowing your archetype is like knowing that you are a shortstop, wide receiver, or drummer. Once you gain that self-awareness, you can lean into your path.
Entrepreneurship is a team sport. Ask almost any VC, and they’ll tell you they invest in teams over ideas. Why? Because execution distinguishes the winners from the also-rans. Before you get started, consider the team you can gather around you. Yes, collaboration can be difficult these days. The pandemic has put the brakes on the core traditional ways that entrepreneurs used to come together to pursue opportunities – everything from accelerators, incubators and university programs, to pitch nights and meet-ups. Fortunately, this personal challenge is surmountable. You must be more proactive and creative about finding people with whom to share ideas – either remotely or in a safe in-person setting. But you’ll need to act fast. Because the teams being created now and in the coming weeks and months will be stronger, more capable and more likely to succeed. So get out there. Create a team or join one. New technologies and habits have made distributed collaboration easier than ever.
Great entrepreneurs prototype furiously. They explore new ideas, test them quickly, gauge what the world thinks, and respond with more prototypes. We call this archetype the Maker. Makers are in many ways the antithesis of procrastinators. They don’t sit on the sidelines, overstudying a market or product opportunity, waiting for the right time to act. The pandemic has made entrepreneurship in its most basic form – opening a new business – absolutely essential for thousands because their old way of making a living collapsed.
Going full entrepreneur is the best choice for many today. A way to slice through the fog of uncertainty that has rendered us all too passive. Embracing entrepreneurship means taking charge of your future. Companies have laid off millions of workers. Government is not going to be our savior. Yes, you will need to overcome many hurdles, not the least among them, finding capital and talent, but there are also advantages here. There has never been a better case for starting your own business, whether to support yourself, or to provide supplementary income. But it’s not just about the money. You’ll be developing capabilities, new skills and confidence that will outlast the crisis.
There’s never been a better time to be a full entrepreneur.
About the Authors:
Jonathan Littman and Susanna Camp are the authors of The Entrepreneur’s Faces: How Makers, Visionaries and Outsiders Succeed.
Jonathan Littman collaborated with IDEO on the bestsellers The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation (more than 650,000 copies sold worldwide in 12 languages). The author of ten books, five of his works have been optioned for films. His award-winning journalism has appeared in Playboy, the LA Times and Forbes. Follow Jonathan on Twitter.
Susanna Camp is the Editor-in-Chief of SmartUp.life. A journalist specializing in emerging technology, she was an early team leader at Wired magazine, and has also been on the staff of Macworld, PCWorld and Outside magazines. Follow Susanna on Twitter.
For more information, please visit https://www.theentrepreneursfaces.com