How exactly do entrepreneurs find success? Do they use a special set of skills, or do they simply use the same skills that everyone else has? What life lessons do entrepreneurs today find most useful?
Chappel and Matthew’s (http://ChappellandMatthews.co.uk) real estate advisors to rising stars of the entrepreneurial world, share insights from some of the most inspiring stories of success in the entrepreneurial world, and the life lessons there to be learned.
Believe in yourself; but also be critical
American Document Services in Las Cruces, NM is a successful document shredding service that pulls in $1.5 million in revenues each year, retaining 16 full-time employees. When the company’s founder Rick Jackson first got his start in 2001, he was genuinely surprised each week that his business thrived. He had so much trouble believing that his company might make it that he refused to invest any more in his company than he already had.
Today, he believes that if he had spent more time with other successful entrepreneurs, he could have seen how he needed to truly trust in the future of his business, rather than doubting that anything much could come out of it. If he had believed in his company, he might have borrowed more than he did to expand, finding greater traction earlier on.
But he does see that his lack of pretentiousness about the prospects of his business has an invaluable quality, too. Self-belief only makes sense when you’re critical of yourself.
Pick one thing to do, and focus on it
When Gary Vaynerchuk first started out as an entrepreneur, he focused on growing his wine business. His success with his Wine Library (including the popular wine TV show, Wine Library TV) has led him to start a media agency, VaynerMedia, in 2009, As he wanted to focus on his agency, he stepped away from his Wine Library TV show and the day-to-day operation of his wine business in 2011. Today, VaynerMedia helps high profile clients with their content marketing campaigns and employs more than 500 employees.
The moral of his story is that there’s a time to hedge your bets, and a time to risk everything. When you need to give life to a new startup, it doesn’t do to think about failure. You need to give it your all.
Alexa von Tobel of the personal-finance software company LearnVest has a catchphrase that has caught on: fail fast. The idea is to keep trying out every idea that you come up with as an entrepreneur, but to quickly identify signs of failure, and get out before you lose too much time or money. Then, you can find something else to try. Trying new ideas on a regular basis can help teach a person so many lessons that soon, they will find themselves learning an instinct for success.
Think about what you are contributing to the company every day
It might seem like an obvious thought — you need to make sure that you keep contributing to your company’s success. Of course, anyone trying to start a company would contribute to it; what else would they do? It isn’t that simple, though.
Internet entrepreneur Noah Kagan is today famous for his Sumo product marketing platform. Back in 2006, he was well-known as one of Facebook’s first employees — a senior product manager. He was the face of Facebook, and was so successful at taking the product into the big time, he received promotion after promotion. Two months after his last promotion, though, he was fired, and he lost out on the possibility of about $200 million in stock options.
In an article about the experience that is gone viral, Kagan describes how during his time at Facebook, he got sidetracked into promoting himself as a major force in the social media world, and as a huge Internet star. Meanwhile, he more or less forgot about promoting Facebook. When he was fired, he couldn’t remember the last time he had really come up with a good idea for Facebook.
This is a story repeated over and over at startups all the time. Entrepreneurs start out trying to create a company, but then begin to live off their success far too early. The business withers, because there’s no one truly living to nurture it. Startups can only work if they have truly selfless forces shaping them.
Time after time, entrepreneurs discover that success at enterprise requires skills no different from real life — selflessness, dedication and perseverance. All one needs to do is to never forget basic common sense just because one is trying to hit the big time.