5 Must-Dos Before Becoming an Entrepreneur
Put yourself in the right mindset -- otherwise, you'll spend most of your time struggling to keep your head above water.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Not everyone is cut out to be a successful business owner.
It requires a ton of time and effort, and many times -- investing your own capital. Sure, the idea of being your own boss is appealing, but how do you know whether entrepreneurship is for you? How do you get there? What if you fail?
Think about the reasons you want to become an entrepreneur. For many of us, it's a combination of being able to be more creative, make a difference, work for ourselves, have flexible hours and increase our earning potential. To do these things, you must learn to put yourself in the right mindset -- otherwise, you'll spend most of your time struggling to keep your head above water.
If you're considering entrepreneurship, you should also consider doing these five things -- right now.
Related: Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
1. Educate yourself about finances
A class in personal finance should really be mandatory for high school and college curriculums. It's something we'll have to do for the rest of our lives, but when it comes to personal income, we're essentially thrown into the lion's den. Is there any wonder so many of us are drowning in debt?
Make sure you read up on managing your finances. It will make your creative life as an entrepreneur easier to navigate and more rewarding. A good place to get started is by checking out KhanAcademy.org, which provides free videos, tools and resources to help you learn more.
Also, find a mentor. This is something helps tremendously when it comes to accelerating your learning curve at a much quicker pace.
2. Get out of that employee mentality
Most people head out into the real world with one goal: to get a job. It's been hammered into our minds almost from birth.
But if you're an entrepreneur, you're looking to be an employer, not an employee. It's vital for you to set yourself apart from the "employee" mindset: You're not just a worker toiling away for someone else's benefit. You're the one steering this ship.
How do you do this? First, identify your gift or skill. Everyone has one, but sadly, many aren't able to recognize it quickly. Seek opinions of others you trust. Ask them what you do naturally better than others. Once you understand what your gift is, then develop a business around it that achieves a specific need in society.
3. Learn how to take risks
Having a regular job gives people a sense of security. Many will stay in their secure hub for fear of losing it all, but every successful person has had to take a risk at some point during their professional lifetime -- probably more than once.
If you hope to come out on top, you need to not only face risks head on but actively embrace them. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. But comfortable security doesn't often pay high dividends. To succeed, you have to take the leap and choose to fly. And you can only learn this lesson by doing it.
4. We have technology. Use it to learn!
Not all successful entrepreneurs went to college -- or graduated from high school for that matter. In our technologically-obsessed culture, there's no excuse for not being informed -- absolutely crucial to your success that you know your industry inside and out. With the push of a few buttons on our phones and tablets, we can educate ourselves on nearly any topic, but it's up to you to use that power to your advantage.
When it comes to technology, it's all about learning a new skill set. Whether it's learning how to use Wordpress (a blogging platform) or understanding how to market your business on Facebook, it's important that you're always learning about the new technology of today.
If you don't, your competition will leave you in the dust.
5. Don't let technology make you lazy
Draw a fine line between using the Internet for information and letting it make you lazy. While having the Internet in the palm of your hand gives you access to a barrage of information, news, discussions and ideas, it can be too easy to let it be a distraction.
In order to avoid distractions, get out the old-school whiteboard and write a daily or weekly to-do list. Once you finish a task, remove it from the board and start working on the next one. The goal by the end of the day or week should be completing all of your task. This vastly improves efficiency.
Remember: You aren't in a box -- you're building it, and the basics of building are a solid blueprint, lots of planning and hard work. Only then can you step back and admire what you've created.