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The 6 Paradoxical Rules for Successful Entrepreneurship

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Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of personal growth and consume books, talks, and conferences in copious amounts. They seek advice from successful entrepreneurs and attempt to apply it to their businesses.

What often goes unsaid is that there is never a “right” way to build a successful business. When does working hard become working too hard? When does being firm about boundaries become being too rigid? Entrepreneurship is not just about following the right advice, it is also about balance and  personal fine-tuning.

Here are some paradoxical rules of successful entrepreneurship that every entrepreneur should know:

1. Strive for excellence, but avoid perfectionism.

Excellence is doing the best that you can, with whatever you have, at any given point in time. Having a spirit of excellence is key; it goes without saying that producing slip-shod work will not get any business far.

However, do not mistake having a spirit of excellence with perfectionism. Perfectionism will slow a business down and waste precious time and money. There is even a popular school of thought that revolves around throwing out a minimum viable product into the market, so that you don’t spend years working on a product that will not sell. The difference is slight, but being able to distinguish excellence and perfectionism will multiply your productivity.

Here are the key differences between excellence and perfectionism:
  • Restful vs Fearful: Excellence is doing the best we can with a restful and optimistic spirit. Perfectionism functions from a premise of fear. Perfectionistic entrepreneurs tend to question their every move and suffer from severe analysis paralysis.
  • Spontaneity vs Control: Excellence allows space for spontaneity (always ask: why not?) calculated risk-taking, while perfectionism results in a need for control.
  • Confidence vs Doubt: Behavior prompted by a drive for excellence results in self-confidence, while perfectionistic behavior breeds self-doubt.

2. Be grateful, but not desperate.

Being grateful improves your mood and keeps you happy. In a publication by Harvard Medical School, it was proven by numerous studies that expressing gratitude is one of the simplest ways for someone to feel better.  

Importantly, when dealing with clients, suppliers, influencers, and other key stakeholders in your company, make an extra effort to thank people and conscientiously express how appreciative you are. This cultivates goodwill and paves the way for more opportunities to come your way.

However, it is one thing to appreciate someone’s goodwill, and another to be dependent on it.  You want people to feel appreciated, not irritated. Do not come off as pushy or desperate, and accept that good opportunities will arrive with time. Desperation corrodes your self-confidence as you start questioning your worth. Know your value, and stand by it.

“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.” – Joel Osteen

3. Be hungry, but not starving.

Entrepreneurs are ambitious dreamers – the hungrier you are, the more effort you put in, and the more results you will get. Most successful entrepreneurs have a healthy dissatisfaction that consistently drives them towards bigger and better goals.

Take caution, though. You want to always be dissatisfied with where you are now to the extent of taking smart action, but not to the extent of panicking about it. Being in panic mode triggers your body’s survival mechanism – you stop thinking and acting rationally. Rash decisions are often not wise ones. Often, entrepreneurs are most susceptible to making rash decisions when cash is running low. If you find yourself caught in panic mode, take extra time to pause and think through decisions rationally.

4. Demand fast progress, but be patient.

Make speed a habit. If you are not growing faster than your competitors, you are losing out. This is especially relevant in competitive markets where success is dependent on adapting to trends or on producing breakthrough innovations.

While a thirst for progress is encouraged, persistence and the ability to see projects through to completion are important too. It takes years to build a sustainable and profitable business. Set an expectation to move fast, but also have the long-term foresight to persevere long enough so that you can see the fruits of your efforts.

5. Work hard for goals, but be unattached to the outcome.

When you are too attached to the outcome of a goal, you start associating your personal self-worth with the outcome of specific projects or businesses. For instance, the objective of your sales calls should be about connecting and listening to your potential clients so that you can address their needs. However, if you are too caught up with trying to make the sale, people can sense the disconnect and this will affect your conversion rates.

Being unattached to the outcome of your business does not mean being apathetic to it. You still need to work hard and thirst for success. You want to work towards meaningful goals, but be able to recover fast if you do not achieve them.

“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.” – Lionel Messi

6. Grow your own business, but do not be selfish.

Collaboration and joint ventures with other businesses will grow your business quickly. We want healthy collaborations, not toxic collaborations. Successful entrepreneurs are able to effectively balance their own needs and other businesses’ needs, creating win-win situations whenever possible.

Working with other businesses may hurt your business if you allow others to step all over you. Set firm boundaries and stick to them. However, we should not be overly focused on ourselves and fail to add value to others. When you hurt others in the process of getting to your goals, it gives you a bad reputation and will adversely affect your business in the long-term.

Are you ready to start your own business know that you know these phenomenal tips? Comment below and let us know how you are going to kill it in life!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Raelyn Tan is a blogging and digital marketing strategist who helps online entrepreneurs build their dream blog + businesses at http://raelyntan.com. Download her FREE printable cheat sheet with 101 amazing tips on how to start a successful blog, which has been shared more than 13,000 times.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Raelyn

    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:46 am

    That’s great to hear, Marsha 🙂

  2. Marsha Kelly

    Jul 7, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks for this fun and yet wise article. I especially appreciated #1 – Excellence not Perfectionism. That is my problem I need to keep reminding myself that there is no perfect on earth. Loved your ways to test if it is excellent or perfect – restful or fearful. This is a great takeaway.

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