Load the Entrepreneurial Die in Your Favor
by Haim Pekel, a Serial Entrepreneur and Marketing Director at IQTELL.COM.
A few months ago, I commented on “The nicest people I’ve ever met” post on Startup America’s Facebook page.
If I recall correctly, the following question was asked, “How would you describe the entrepreneurial community?” My answer was “People with dreams are the nicest people you'll meet and entrepreneurs have usually quite a few.”
All entrepreneurs start as dreamers… it’s all fun and games until you actually need to do something.
Chasing after your dreams involves constant movement and determination that increases over a long period of time. As entrepreneurs, we learn early on that no one will do our work for us; we need to act and push on a daily basis. Those that fail to do so fade back to their previous lives as employees.
In order to create something unique that other people will perceive as valuable enough to pay for, you need to think outside of the box, swallow a frog or two, and stay focused while maintaining high levels of productivity. All three are awesome buzz words and I’m sure that you are going to think outside the box, swallow a frog, and work dawn to dusk…but for how long?
Maintaining productivity and creativity for a long period of time is not an easy task…
You may relate to the following scenario from your own previous experience. Something disrupts your daily routine, suddenly your attention shifts to other pressing matters -- ultimately leaving you fatigued, unmotivated and with many excuses that you use to explain your inability to focus.
Now, imagine what happens when you add the pressure of building something from scratch, raising money to fund it, and working day and night when it seems like you are the only person that still believes it has potential.
Change your Mindset
When you’re shifting from the “dreaming part” of your venture into the actual “doing part” of it, you need a change in your routine on several levels.
Almost all successful entrepreneurs you’ll read about were autodidacts. You can usually identify them by taking a look at their CV's -- they are extremely active, their knowledge is vast and they are the best people to work with because they learn, adapt and lead change for the better. There’s an autodidact in you that needs to be nurtured. How do I know that you’re an autodidact? Well, you’re reading this post, right?
Make sure you are learning something new every day to build a better product and deliver a superior service!
1. Wake up earlier in the morning and invest an hour in your personal development. By learning new things each morning you get a bonus habit that will serve you well in the days to come -- discipline.
2. Use it or lose it. When you bump into something you need to do but you don’t know how, don’t treat it like a show-stopper, either learn how to do it or learn how to make other people do it for you.
3. Motivation helps you to gain knowledge and is in fact your number one ally. Keep yourself constantly motivated by creating mantras that will remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you need to continue doing it.
Develop your Skillset
In a business environment you multitask because you have no other choice, so why not become awesome at it? Multitasking is a skill, and like all skills if you invest in it, you’re going to reap the rewards. I can already tell you that there’s a talented multitasker in you that needs nurturing. How do I know that you can multitask? You’re probably in the middle of something now and you are reading this post, am I right again?! (Autodidacts can multitask, yes). When everything rests on your shoulders you need to do a lot to get the job done, become a better leader and ultimately a multitasking superstar!
1. Act like a coach. Coaches lead teams and create solutions for the people around them based on their experience. By helping other people to reach their goals on a regular basis you make sure you have the support network needed to delegate tasks.
2. Track what you have done at the end of each day to check how you’ve progressed and try to increase the pace by planning ahead. When your mind is clear of the need to plan ahead, it can allocate more resources to the “tasks at hand”. David Allen wrote a wonderful book about this called “Getting Things Done, the Art of Stress Free Productivity”.
3. Use every opportunity you have to enlist people to your cause. Going to a dinner party? Talk about your business. Met someone you haven’t seen in years, give them an elevator pitch! When the business becomes a part of your personal life multitasking becomes easier; it takes care of your motivation and allows you to expose what you’re doing. Who knows, you might even bump into an opportunity.
Gather your Toolset
Do you have all the tools you need to maintain productivity for a long period of time? When I’m talking about tools, I’m not talking only about applications, software, hardware and the equipment you start your business with. Tools are also your natural abilities, your imagination and the power to sweep people off their feet with passion. There’s a little whiz inside of you that knows the right tools for the job! How do I know that you are using the right tools for the job? I don’t. But I can tell you what you should be considering.
Your tools have a direct impact not only on your success but also on the number of bumps along the road.
1. Use what you have. If I lived in a perfect world I would use the following rule, “If I haven’t earned a dime, I won’t spend a dime”. The reality is that you must invest sometimes to get results, so I will use a slightly different rule, “If it’s free and gets the job done use it, expensive does not equal better”.
2. Avoid procrastination by choosing tools and sticking to them. Don’t spend a ridiculous amount of time testing and trying all tools on the market. Spend reasonable amount of time researching and trust your decision.
3. Remember, a perfect tool does not exist. It’s the combination of a good tool and your skills that provide the winning formula!
Imagine the entrepreneurial persona as a die with six sides:
Side One: The Dreamer who makes us the nice people we are.
Side Two: The Autodidact who makes us the smart people we are.
Side Three: Our Multitasker side helps us get things done.
Side Four: The Innovator who gave us this great idea in the first place.
Side Five: Our Facilitator side helps complete tasks and empowers everyone around us.
Side Six: The Procrastinator against whom we constantly fight.
The problem is that our die is loaded -- once you land on the procrastinator side you’ll probably hit it again and again until all other sides cease to exist. There’s a 1:6 chance you’ll roll procrastination on every entrepreneurial die roll. It’s up to you to do everything in your power to improve your odds!