We all have an idea of the hardships entrepreneurs face. Some entrepreneurs struggle to build their product, some have difficulties in finding the right team, while some have a hard time pulling in finances to keep their business afloat.
But while it is indeed difficult to be an entrepreneur, it's actually even more difficult to stop being a wantrepreneur—or a “want-to-be-entrepreneur”.
It's a pit that budding entrepreneurs commonly fall into. A wantrepreneur is someone who thinks they have brilliant ideas for new businesses but haven't managed to actually get them off the ground. A lot of people are enticed with the thought of starting a firm or company that's bound to boom, but they aren't able to turn their ideas into a running business.
So, how do you know if you're a wantrepreneur? And, if you are, how do you go from Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur? In this blog, we'll discuss 9 tips you should start following to get yourself out of the pit and transition yourself to a true entrepreneur.
Stop waiting for the “right” time
This is one of the biggest and most common mistakes that wantrepreneurs commit:
They believe they have to wait for the right time before they jump in the market.
You know you're a wantrepreneur if you always postpone pursuing your ideas or taking any action because you fear that the environment isn't how you want it to be yet, or because you're waiting for a certain time of the year or a certain occasion to happen.
Here's the truth:
There will never be a perfect time for you to start your business.
No matter how long you wait, there will always be something off in the environment and market you're trying to enter. You will always have competition, and you'll always have to deal with risks and threats.
The right time to take action is now.
Even when the time doesn't feel a hundred per cent right, make a start no matter how small. During your initial steps, you will make mistakes and you will meet dead ends, but that's fine. Learn from them but keep moving forward. Discover what works and what doesn't.
You'll find that once you've taken those first big steps, you'll start to build momentum and the next steps will be much easier than the previous ones.
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Start taking risks
We're taught at an early age to follow reason as well as norms and conventions to be “safe”. In turn, it's our natural instinct to avoid risks and protect ourselves.
However, when starting a business, playing it safe always won't do you any good.
Wantrepreneurs are not able to pursue their business ideas because of the fear all of the things that could go wrong once they take that great leap. They either wait for the “right time” (like our first point) or, worse, they don't do anything at all.
True entrepreneurs do get afraid of the risks, too—but they take “the jump” anyway. They acknowledge and accept the fact that taking risks is part of the game and instead of fretting about it, they focus instead on what to do next whether it works out or not.
Venturing in business requires not only planning but also risk taking. True entrepreneurs make sure that risk management is part of their business plans, and they're always open to revisions should a change of plans arise due to unforeseen circumstances.
Stop making excuses
Wantrepreneurs commonly say things along these lines:
“I'm too young/old to start a business.”
“I don't have enough money.”
“Nobody would need/want my product.”
“I don't know what I'm doing.”
But, know this:
Lame excuses like these won't get you or your business idea anywhere.
Feel like you're “too old” to start a business? A 2018 study by the Census Bureau and two MIT professors found that, contrary to popular belief, the best entrepreneurs actually tend to be middle-aged. Founders of the fastest growing tech companies were also found to be 45 years old, on average.
Think that you don't know everything about businesses? You don't have to, in the first place. You can start with gaining at least a background on how businesses are run and managed, but you'll learn the processes as you go through them. Don't wait to pursue your idea until you've mastered “Business 101”.
Let experience be your teacher and let it train you and shape you to become a better entrepreneur.
Stop thinking you know it all
No matter how many books on startups and/or entrepreneurship you read and no matter how many resources you consult, you'll never know everything about starting and running a business.
And that's completely fine!
One great trait among true entrepreneurs is that they treat entrepreneurship as a never-ending learning process.
They know that no matter how good and experienced they are, there will always be aspects and areas that they haven't explored yet. And they're willing to learn from these.
Stop being a wantrepreneur, stop thinking you know it all. Once you act like you already know everything, you begin to close your mind to all the new facts and insights that you can learn from the people you meet.
If you truly want to transition from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur, you have to change your mindset and actions. If there's something you don't know, admit it. Only then will you be able to open your mind, ask help from someone who knows it better, and understand how it's supposed to be done.
Stop following money or success
Wantrepreneurs are known to chase money and success more than anything else.
They're always daydreaming about the day their business succeeds, and about what they'll do once they earn more money. Some wantrepreneurs even think of what interviews they'll take and how they'll share their success stories.
And it's completely fine to aspire a better life.
Where it starts to go wrong is when wantrepreneurs become obsessed with success and money, so obsessed that they only want to start a business just for the “success”. They closely follow the trends that have worked for other entrepreneurs, but when things don't turn out the way they wanted them to, they easily quit.
True success in life is found in being fulfilled with what you are doing. And you can't seek fulfilment if you're not following your passion.
To be a true entrepreneur, do what makes you fulfilled and happy. Don't pay attention to what the others are doing, follow your passions.
Focus on your strengths and what you're really interested in. True entrepreneurs don't jump from industry to industry just to earn some quick cash. They do their own thing and put in the necessary work and effort, and then, success and finances follow.
Know it's not supposed to be easy
Another thing that is common among wantrepreneurs is that they only have short-term plans. They focus on achieving success as quickly as they can, even to the point that they're willing to take dangerous shortcuts along the way.
Here's a great quote that's very applicable to this point:
“What comes easy won't last, and what lasts won't come easy.”
If you want to start a business but do not have both short-term and long-term goals, it's high time for you to re-evaluate how you're treating entrepreneurship.
Compared to a wantrepreneur, a true entrepreneur has a clear vision of what he/she wants to achieve, as well as the steps and struggles he/she has to undertake to accomplish this vision. A true entrepreneur knows that shortcuts may help/him get to the destination fast, but these same shortcuts won't help him/her build a strong foundation for the business to grow and last.
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There's no such thing as an overnight success—so don't count on it. Starting and running a business isn't supposed to be easy, but you can count on the fact that every hardship and hurdle you're about to face will definitely help you become a better and wiser entrepreneur over time.
Stop talking, take action
There's nothing wrong with being ambitious and coming up with grand ideas. And there's also nothing wrong with being excited in sharing them to people you know.
Where it goes wrong is when you let the wantrepreneur in you take over: you get so stuck on daydreaming and talking eagerly about your goals that you actually fail to take any concrete steps toward them.
True entrepreneurs, on the other hand, take real steps toward their visions. They're ambitious too, yes, and they may talk about their plans at times, but they're in an active pursuit of their grand ambitions.
This brings to mind a famous Walt Disney quote:
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
If you want to stop being just a wantrepreneur, you have to stop spending your time just talking about your “brilliant” ideas. Pursue them! Focus on the actions and steps that will help you build your first product or service, and as soon as you can, let the people you know test your product. Gather insights. Does anyone need or want your product or service? What are its good points? What are its bad points? From there, refine your product or service and make it even better.
Stop listening to everyone
Once your friends, family, and contacts know you're starting a business, you can be sure they'll all try to jump in and share a piece of their minds. You'll get overwhelmed with this plethora of voices, and, on unfortunate occasions, a lot of criticism and negativity as well.
However, don't let all these thoughts and opinions bring down your entrepreneurial spirit. Take notes of what they're trying to say, but remember that nobody really knows what the right decisions for your business are—not your family, not your friends, and not even you. You'll only know which ideas and strategies are best for your business until you try them out and see for yourself.
And remember this:
The people you should really be listening to are your customers. They're the ones that should matter the most to your business.
Don't dwell on the negative opinions of others, but try to be conscious of why they act and think the way they do. Doing this will help you build and focus on constructive goals for the betterment of your business.
Entrepreneurs are human too, and it's normal for them to complain at times. We all do at some point.
However, if you constantly find yourself complaining and whining without doing anything about the situation, that's one of the many signs you're a wantrepreneur. And that you need to change your attitude ASAP.
Instead of wasting your energy complaining about all the things that are wrong or those that didn't go according to your plan, shift your focus to identifying solutions to solve the problem.
A true entrepreneur is able to adapt to the situation and adjust his/her strategies to address the unforeseen problem or issue.
Running a business means having to go through storms and rocky roads every now and then. There's nothing you can do about that. It's not supposed to be easy, remember? Now, get on your feet and control the situation, don't let it control you.
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It's difficult to stop being a wantrepreneur, but you can do it! It just takes a lot of courage and boldness. You will have to step out of and stay away from your comfort zone because it's the only way you'll truly learn and grow your business. And, as American author and professor John A. Shedd once said:
“A ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
What are you built for?
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