21 Jan It’s time to unleash your inner entrepreneur!
Could you be an entrepreneur? You might wonder this while reading inspiring stories of tiny startups that have gone global or while thinking jealousy of your friend who’s just started her own business. I think I could do that… I think I would like to try that. To answer that little voice in your head we’ve put together some tasks and things that you can do to test the water.
This isn’t an article about the technical side of starting the next Instagram or Alibaba (although that is where it could lead down the line). We’re talking about how to have fun and get into the mindset of an entrepreneur.
Brainstorm and reflect on what’s needed in an area that you know a lot about
A business at its foundation is always about adding value to a customers life. As an entrepreneur you’re looking to create something that answers a need of your consumer or taps into one of their desires.
In your life there are no doubt things you know well. It doesn’t matter if its baby products, tech solutions or food, if you know an industry well you’re likely to be able to spot where there is the space for a product that hasn’t been created yet.
Action – create a list of things/industries you know really well. Start brainstorming great innovations in one of those industries. Next, think about where there could be some space or need for a new product. What else could be invented? What is something small that you could contribute?
Start small and purposeful
A trap that’s easy to fall into with this generation of tech entrepreneurs is to think too much about taking over the world and too little about making a meaningful local impact. Your successful local coffee shop is run by an entrepreneur, the full-time mobile personal trainer who lives near you is also a successful entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur is about a flair and spirit for building a business. It’s an attitude and sense of curiosity and courage that is moved to action. So often we don’t take the leap because we’re afraid to take the first step. If you’re concerned about not being able to create something huge, perhaps think locally. What’s needed in your community? Could you start by answering that? The cool thing is that many great businesses and products were tested and perfected locally, before going global.
Action – What is something you could create or a service that you could sell in your local community? Start there.
Inspire yourself often
Being an entrepreneur is a way of thinking and one of the big skills is seeing and implementing solutions in the world around you. This inspiration rarely comes out of thin air. The more you skill up by reading, watching and participating in things that expand your understanding of your industry of choice, the more ready you will be for startup lightbulbs to go off in your mind.
Consider these learning resources as your mentors in becoming your best entrepreneurial self.
Action – Read one book, subscribe to one podcast and watch one TED talk every 1-2 weeks to stay inspired.
Run some experiments to get started
Do you want the sad news. Your first idea is probably not going to be your best. Want some good news? You’re one step closer to a great idea! There is a reason that business owners and agile companies talk about failing fast and making a whole range of ‘iterations’ or variations on a product. You don’t know what will work until you’ve tested it, so you’ve just have to get out there and try a bunch of things.
To get started think about some low cost things that you can start experimenting with. Don’t dive in too deep on an idea before you’ve experimented with a range of things. Make it fun, get curious and see what works.
Action – Same as above. What is something you could create or a service that you could sell in your local community? Start there.
Work for a startup or small business
The romantic stereotype of working from home and clocking off at 4pm often makes people dream of becoming an entrepreneur. If you really want to explore the realities of startup life without the financial bite perhaps you should start by going to work for one instead of owning one. With this experience you should be able to see the different tasks and roles required to function as a startup and to test whether you like the lifestyle and style of work.
Action – Look up different employment opportunities in local startups. It could be a part-time or casual position, or it could even be a full-time dive into entrepreneurial life. If you are thinking of going full-time, make sure the role and company culture is a good fit for you! Note: this precarious style of work is not for everyone.
Alright – with these tools in hand you should be able to start getting your hands dirty. Dive in. The most important thing is start small and accessible and move to action. Often thinking about things and failing to get moving is where people fall over.
Repeat after me. I am an entrepreneur. I have the mindset to grow a business. I am ready to get started.
That’s it! Over and out from one entrepreneur to another.