Becoming an Entrepreneur is not easy, we all know that. The hardest part isn’t coming up with an idea, finding amazing people to help, or the work you do to launch it. Success comes mostly from tuning your mind, and how to process your reality. I’ve watched many people at our code-free hackathons fail to continue on with their idea, even after winning an amazing prize and or getting their app software developed FOR FREE. I’m writing this because I think they would be more likely continue and significantly increase their chance of success if they had the ‘mental-sweat’ tools to go forth and execute their idea.
Here are six key steps that can significantly change your emotional state to be an idea-warrior, to propel you forward during the tough times. Follow and adhere to these before and while pursuing your idea!
Get Your Parents’ Blessing
Most people subconsciously follow their parent’s wishes. They raised you, so it’s not easy to downplay their influence. My sister got married to a guy who looked great on paper and my mom loved the guy. Unfortunately my sister divorced him when she realized the guy matched Mom’s wishes, and not her own.
When I was ready to leave my cushy job at LinkedIn; arguably one of the best companies in the world to work at, my mom wasn’t happy. She encouraged me to stay, as any worried mom would want. I went ahead and left to join the startup space. Unfortunately every time I talked to her it was like pulling teeth. She told me it was not smart to leave a great company like LinkedIn, and I should go get a MBA. I began to avoid conversations about my career with her, and it was draining to think about her opposing opinion to my goals when I was trying to push forward in the startup world. One day, I sat down with her and really explained that happiness is the most important thing to me, and it’s not a 9-5 job, even if it’s at an ‘amazing’ company that ‘looks good on a resume’. I also approached her with a solid plan as to what I was up to.
After empathizing with her perspective and eloquently explaining what my career means to me, she understood. I can now freely seek from my mom and not feel like I have to avoid it. It’s a gift to your subconscious to have encouraging parents, even if they’re not a business partner or a source of good advice.
Be Cause-driven, Not Material-driven
There’s a difference between an entrepreneur who sells burritos and gloats about his piles of cash, compared to the entrepreneur who sells burritos and gloats when his customers tell him how amazing his burritos are. This is more positive, not selfish and is the difference between an abundance mentality and a scarcity mentality. Thinking this way is going to help you get up every morning, be happy, and love your customers, since they love you. They will see it on your face. Check out Simon Sinek’s talk on the “Why” of a business. It might change your outlook, in a great way. Do you know your company’s “Why”?
Only Choose Ideas You’ll Regret NOT Doing
Your idea may not change the world. It could be as simple as selling burritos from a food truck or it could be the next social network that governments use to attain world peace. Either way, the idea needs to be bothering you enough so that if you don’t do it, you’ll regret it. See Jeff Bezo’s quick talk about his regret framework. It’s why he started Amazon. Being choosy about what you pursue will help drive your passion to do it, and keep you from focusing on an idea for weaker reasons. Often times, if you work in a job for years, you’ll become an expert without knowing it, and find an idea that could vastly improve what you (and many others) have been frustrated with all along. Focus on that frustration to propel yourself to go solve the problem.
Have an Improvement Mentality
Entrepreneurs have ideas and are successful because they’re always viewing their world in a better way than it is today, both in their personal and professional life. Stagnant-minded people who aren’t interested in trying new things, or thinking of new ways to look at things are ripe for failure. You can’t be the type who waits to get told what to do. When I was working for others, I would always be thinking about how processes could be improved. If I wanted to remain an employee the rest of my life, I could just wait to be told what to do and not think about how to improve things. Find others who have a similar mentality or read books that talk about this.
Seek Out a Support Group
Your support group should be people who encourage you, and are also entrepreneurs, or at least great sounding board. Avoid close friends, romantic partners or family, since they may be biased at group meetings. You want a place where there’s pure honesty and lack of bias. Napoleon Hill, one of the most famous business writers of the 20th century, calls this the mastermind principle. Check out meetup.com to find people, or attract a group of your existing business-y friends that can meet monthly (at minimum) to talk about business issues and solutions. This isn’t all that different than an AA meeting, except drugs shouldn’t be involved! I do this weekly and it works wonders to have a white space to talk and socialize ideas in such a focused way.
Good luck and let me know your thoughts or additions to this list in the comments below. Connect with me if I can be of help. This also appears on my linkedin blog post.