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3 Reasons Why You Should Stop Telling All Your Friends To Become An Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneur Friends Shouldnt All So Business

Going back as far as high school, I lusted after the idea of doing my own thing. The problem was I had no clue how that would work our, or what I would do. I worked a tonne of odd jobs, and even the casual retail job from the age of 16 until I was 23. I joke about having a long resume of 2-month work stints, but it’s the truth.

Over time I learned that working a 9-to-5 simply wasn’t for me. As a result, I started my entrepreneurial journey.

I remember my last day at the call center job I had, and setting up a plan to succeed in my small university apartment on the first Saturday I had off in months. That was the beginning of what has been a very rewarding and challenging roller coaster ride. I always knew the decisions I made were the right ones, but something else, while not always super obvious, has been evident.

I am cut out for entrepreneurship because of various traits I possess.

I enjoy sales. I don’t mind a somewhat unstable income (at least when getting started). I like solving problems, and dealing with people. I have a deep appreciation for my personal freedom that comes from being able to determine my own schedule, and projects. I’m willing to live with less, and forgo some of the American ideals my peers are experiencing (having kids, buying cars and houses, etc) to make things work for me.

I’ve made these choices due to what makes sense to me as an individual.

I’m often asked how I got started, or what I did to get where I am, but once I begin to explain how, and what’s involved, some people are turned off.

In the past, I tried to talk my friends into starting a business, but I soon learned it’s mostly a waste of breath. But not because my advice wasn’t good, but simply because those people just aren’t cut out for this life.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s perfectly normal.

I’ll be the first to admit it. Many entrepreneurs are crazy and many of us think our way is the ONLY way.

In reality, there are many paths to the same destination, but when you get from point A to point B in a manner that only makes sense to you, it seems like it’s the only way.

As a result, you might find yourself proselytizing to all your friends about how they should do it too, even if they have no interest or are scared stiff.

And that’s why I wrote this article — for all you go-getters who tell everyone to become an entrepreneur, you might ought to stick a sock in it.

 

1. Entrepreneurship Requires A Certain Personality Type

Many of us who enjoy this lifestyle are a bit eclectic. Some may even call us mad. I wouldn’t argue with them, and I’ll be first to admit to my fair share of manic episodes (just go read my Twitter stream). The up’s and down’s of this lifestyle are reserved for those who can handle it.

One month’s earnings can be amazing while the next month’s are next to nothing. If that phases you, I’d highly advise rethinking your decisions around working for yourself.

This life is about being a self-starter. I hate that title, but it’s the truth.

In my many job interviews, that was a key question –

“Would you consider yourself a self-starter?”

Every time I heard that I wanted to rip my eyeballs out and say “What do you think? I’m sitting here in a cheap pair of slacks, and a shirt my mom ironed in order to impress and convince you to give me 9 dollars per hour for making sandwiches and sweeping the floor.

A self-starter is someone who can figure out what they need to do, and begin doing it – at times without a fully developed plan. It’s someone who takes immediate action, and asks questions later.

If you’re not willing to work long hours (at least in the beginning), it’s probably not for you.

If you don’t get excited about the journey of reaching new heights, I wouldn’t sign up for this gig.

 

2. It’s Not As Easy As It Seems

Some of my friends would ask me about what I’m doing. When I’d explain my work day, and what’s involved, a very common remark is “your life is so easy! You’re lucky! I wish I could get paid to sit at home and run a website.

Now I will admit I’m lucky in the sense that I made certain decisions, and had certain people in my life who were instrumental in making those decisions, but none of this is easy.

In fact, I hate telling people what I do because it makes conversations awkward. I can’t relate to most people’s problems they have with coworkers, bosses, and rigours of waking up at 7 a.m. to catch the train.

On the outside, it seems glorious, but for those of us who’ve taken the plunge, it’s far from that life.

The mind of someone making their own way is a chaotic whirlwind at times. Everyone has their high’s and low’s but I imagine those of an entrepreneur are more pronounced.

Tim Ferriss said it best in his article “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me): “Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.”

But most everyone only sees is the outwardly productive and seemingly normal side of an entrepreneur.

They don’t see them dreading a project, or putting off client work due to fear of not doing it well enough. Or being burned out. Or dealing with depression and avoiding the therapist.

They don’t see them eating ice cream for breakfast and playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on his PS2 at 6am for 3 hours on the day a major project must be done

Talk about anxiety one can create for themselves through procrastination… but this is a normal part of life for most of us.

It’s a constant push/pull between extremes. One month, everything seems to be going great. You’re making money, sleeping well, and routinely socializing. The next month, you’re skimping on deadlines, moving your to-do list back a day, and wondering if it would be easier to go work at the Buckle… at least you don’t have to worry about setting your calendar, right?

 

3. It Won’t Make Sense To Everyone

We need people to work at the grocery store. We need people to work in factories that manufacture our eye glasses and clothes, and packages our food.

We need school teachers, and mechanics. We need librarians, and video game store clerks.

Not every single person can do their own thing. Plus, not everyone wants to. The demands of someone starting a business are much different from those who are working for the business.

Some people have a talent for management, organization, attaching soles to shoes. Some of them don’t wish to do anything else. So what?

Something I detest is trying to explain to someone who simply wants to work at their job why they should go out on their own.

Maybe they don’t care about doing something on their own… Maybe they actually like their job (newsflash: not everyone hates their jobs like I did). Maybe their profession allows them the money they need and the time to spend with their family.

They’re not us, and that’s okay.

Look on the bright side. While you may be enthusiastic about the decisions you made for yourself, many others might not be as interested. Save your energy and spend it on making yourself and business better.

 

 

Feature Image Photography by Fred Othero

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. albertino

    Jul 9, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Trying to persuade friends to become entrepreneurs is like persuading a loved one who doesn’t know how to swim to jump into the ocean. It will sound very wicked to them. Instead of wasting my precious time in persuading anyone to do their own thing, I rather encourage them to be good at what they do while I concentrate on my own madness’

  2. Sarah Como

    Jul 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I totally relate to this article. I finally tried to stop convincing others to become entrepreneurs. However, I still struggle when it comes to my husband. He’s not comfortable with the uncertainty and does not have an entrepreneurial mindset. He encourages me to go for it but can’t relate.

  3. Nate Ginsburg

    Apr 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Great article man! I’m gearing up for a trip back home and have been thinking about what it will be like to hang out with my old friends/crowd opposed to the SE Asia crew. I’ve also learned that it’s best not to preach.. You’re right, the life isn’t for everyone.

  4. mindsetofmark

    Apr 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Thank for you this amazing article. For the past few months of building my business, I ran into this wall and what you wrote describe exactly what I’ve been pondering about for the past few months, I realize I had learn so much from the pursuit of entrepreneurship and I see what it’s like out there for people who wants to settle for a job, I didn’t think it was fair for people to settle for a life of working for someone else, I cared so much about my friends I was trying to convince them that a job is not going to fill the dreams and goals you want to achieve. I had no’s and rejections and I took it personally because I had such strong belief that they would see what I see. After a few more months of growth and struggle, I definitely realize what I chose to do is not for anyone and that the friends I talked to wouldn’t even last a few weeks doing what I do, I became more aware of the things that an entrepreneur must go through that an employee will never experience in their lifetime.That is why only so few people choose this path, what an amazing insight indeed. Thank you so much JC.

  5. dotchamou

    Apr 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    By the time I was in high school I knew that I will never, never work
    as an employee in my life. In my country, Benin (west Africa) the rate of
    unemployement is too high. So the solution of unemployement for me is
    that every student and school boy must be an entrepreneur. So, by the time I leave
    university, I create a little business, the business grow a
    little. That business enable me to pay my rent and to feed myself. By that
    time, most of my friends who didn’t become ‘’entrepreneur’’ like me were
    jobless and were very broke. Even though I did’nt have enough money, they
    admired me and congratulated me of being an “entrepreneur’’. About four
    years later, my little business collapsed and everything fell apart in my life. I lose my
    business and my money.I become very broke. That is a starting point of a
    very, very hard and miserable life for me .I cannot pay my rent, I am in deep debt ,
    I cannot find money to eat. My electricity and water was cut because I cannot pay my bills
    By that time when I fell in misery, most of friends have
    found a job, they started enjoying a ‘’good life’’ (life of security) .They started telling me that:
    “ Yes, we know that, being an entrepreneur is very dangerous and too
    risky, that is why we didn’t follow you in that path. Look, today we have a secure
    job. We are protected by the government. We don’t have much money but we
    have what we need, try to find a job like we do, and forget your idea of being
    your own boss”. I stretch my head and I said to myself,’’I will comeback,
    My coming back will be greater than what I lose”.
    So, most people will never share and accept to be an entrepreneur, most people want security instead of adventure. I‘m still on my journey of being an
    antrepreneur. The journey is hard but it is full of pleasures,tears and lessons.
    I commit to be an antrepreneur. Nothing can stop me on that journey.I make for myself this words of Donald Trump,’’NEVER GIVE up’’,’NEVER QUIT’ Thank you for your attention.

    • alok

      Oct 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      my dearest friend you are amazing more than the definition of amazing . You are the tiny ray of hope amidst the darkest of darkest gloom not only in my life but to the millions of people all are around the world. 1000 MILLION THANKS TO YOU.
      I AM DEEPLY TOUCHED AND TRANSCENDED BT YOUR INSPIRING WORDS.

  6. oscar

    Apr 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Man I totally feel yah, there is only so much we can do for our friends, most people don’t see what we see with this odd lifestyle we acquire to be different in a sense.

  7. George

    Apr 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

    This is perfect. Eventually we all take a different path as our friends create their careers and you create your own, it seems so obvious that different people are gonna want to pursue different jobs.

    This was me at first. I loved the idea of doing it myself, I understood it would be harder than getting a normal job, but to be able to watch something grow from the very beginning sounded a lot more interesting than getting paid to sell sneakers.

    Then I thought, wow this would be so much better if my friends would join me too. Because of what I do, I have different schedules than my friends. When they’re all out late at night drinking, I’m at home sleeping or on my computer.

    It’s not that I want to be out partying, but when a lot of the work I do is at home on my computer, it’s easy for me to miss my friends and wanting to see what they’re up to, working together sounds like an easy solution.

    But the truth is, people want different things. Some people look at me starting a website and think it’s boring, unrealistic and downright dumb. Maybe they’re right. Maybe we’re the weird ones who find working on the internet actually exciting.

    Oh, well. Salute to all you fellow weirdos!

  8. Koko

    Apr 10, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Wow … actually I find myself in the position of reconsidering my friends to start their own thing way too often. I even abandoned some of my friends because they were dragging me down to the level of no-enthusiasm towards work. However, now I think I won’t do the persuading stuff to my friends anymore.

  9. Mike Sutton - BeBuildHave.com

    Apr 10, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I agree with all 3 points, but I also think career employment as option #1 is on it’s way out. Entrepreneurship is a reality of the new economy and will be the only option for more and more people, so we need to find a way to support, train, and develop those skills in people who aren’t “naturals”.

    • JuiCy™ (@JCDFitness)

      Apr 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      I disagree. If everyone were an entrepreneur, who would do the meaningless work? Who would run the errands? Who would make my coffee at the local cafe?

      Who would serve me a steak? Who would make sure my cell phone is working correctly when I have trouble with service?

      • Patrice K. Cokley, MBA

        May 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m always having this discussion with someone. Although doing meaningless work is not for us, it is something that needs to be done. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. So I’m ok with people settling in their lives. As long as they’re not trying to talk me out of my goals, I’m fine. Thanks for this post! It came right on time.

  10. Dano

    Apr 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Cool story bro. But do you even lift?

  11. Andy

    Apr 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Perfect time for this article. I had an argument with my wife last night about issues I am experiencing and she just didn’t get it. She never will either and it’s not a bad thing.

  12. Naomi@business start ups

    Apr 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Hi JC,

    I feel like you hacked my brain. I couldn’t agree more.

    When I first became self employed and earning well, I thought to myself ‘why would people NOT want to do this’. I have tell all my friends and family!

    But in reality although most people lust after the lifestyle they haven’t really got what it takes. They don’t want to work weekends, in the evenings and need a boss to be accountable too.

    They just can’t commit. I now realize this is OK. It’s their choice, their life and everyone journey towards fulfillment and happiness is completely different and doesn’t have to follow mine.

    Great post and scarily close to my own thoughts!

    Naomi

    • JuiCy™ (@JCDFitness)

      Apr 8, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks. Glad it resonated – I imagined it would with others paving their own path.

  13. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    JC, I agree that it does take a certain personality to have the tenacity to work through all the fears and obstacles that naturally come up as an entrepreneur. When something great happens as a result of the hard work, it’s euphoric.

    The path to success is not a straight line, it’s full of zigzags. It’s not for the faint of heart.

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5 of the Best Proven Growth Hacking Strategies for Your Business

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best growth hack strategies for your business
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Tough competition can make growing a new brand seem near impossible, despite the hundreds of new companies that are created every day. Creative solutions offer the answer, allowing you to move in a positive direction with your brand start-up at an affordable investment. To achieve this, speed is the key. Growing your user base fast will allow profits to come in fast, too. This is what growth hacking is all about.  (more…)

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5 Soft Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed

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soft skills for entrepreneurs
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There are countless components that go into building a successful company, but soft skills act as the fundamental building blocks of a functioning business. Hard skills are considered to be job-specific, whereas soft skills are interpersonal skills, like listening and communication. 

Nearly 93% of employers said that soft skills are an “essential” or “very important” factor in hiring decisions. With the right blend of hard and soft skills, an entrepreneur is capable of great things.

Here are five soft skills that can help entrepreneurs scale their growth and lead successful ventures:

1. Confidence

A successful company starts from individual confidence. In order to motivate and inspire others, an entrepreneur must find reassurance in themselves. Other businesses and consumers will believe in your company if you consistently believe in yourself. 

Being confident also means becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable— taking risks will expand your business and place you above competitors. As an entrepreneur, and leader, it’s crucial that you not only possess confidence, but exhibit it throughout every step of your business ventures.

2.Self-Awareness

It is vital that an entrepreneur have a clear insight into their personality, especially their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts,and emotions. 

When an entrepreneur is self-aware, it can lead them to beneficial partnerships and agreements. Without good self-awareness, leaders become easily persuaded and spineless. Self-awareness also includes control. Becoming overly emotional, for example, can lead to detrimental impulsive decision making. 

“Self awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” – Debbie Ford

3. Collaboration

From the day we begin talking, the ability to work well with others is pivotal to any project. As an entrepreneur, it is important to recognize and understand your own responsibilities. To do this, you must identify your business culture and have tools on hand to manage mutually dependent relationships. 

Active listening inspires collaboration within teams and creates learning opportunities. Without open collaboration or sharing and discussing information, the success of your business is  limited.

4. Time Management

Time is the greatest equalizer. No matter who you are or what you do, we all have the exact same amount of time in the day. Successful management of that time separates the great entrepreneurs from the bad ones. 

Entrepreneurs have many responsibilities; they are often jumping between tasks, hopping on calls, and attending events. They also tend to make every decision within the business.

It is crucial for business owners to find an organization system that works for their company and their goals. Creating a long term road map of company ambitions is an excellent way to distinguish high versus low priority initiatives. Entrepreneurs should create prioritization systems that employees can follow each month, ensuring business targets are met.

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” – Tony Robbins

5. Resilience

Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, unexpected hurdles and setbacks are inevitable. The process of starting a business will not be perfect. What matters most is how you progress when the outlook seems bleak. Your ability to stay tough and weather the storm speaks volumes to your leadership— and will lead to a huge payout at the end of the day. 

Maintaining entrepreneurial resilience throughout rocky times will empower your employees while simultaneously building your credibility. Resilience will also inform potential clients and customers that you are willing to fight through thick and thin.

Soft skills are the backbone of every successful entrepreneur. While hard skills like financing and marketing are crucial to conducting business, soft skills provide the essential groundwork. Developing these soft skills will come with time, mindfulness, and an eagerness to grow. Take the initiative to prioritize these skills in yourself. Once you’ve done that, you can then cultivate those same qualities in your business.

Do you think soft skills tend to be more important than hard skills in today’s business world? Share your thoughts with us below!

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The 7 Successful Habits of Entrepreneurs

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habits of entrepreneurs

A while ago, I wrote an article on the 51 mistakes that can sabotage your business. However, that was one piece of the puzzle. You have to run your business well to be a successful entrepreneur, but, what’s more important is that you run yourself so well that your business follows suit. In order to do that, you need some good habits that can seriously boost your chances of success.

Here are the 7 must have habits that most successful entrepreneurs have:

1. Mindfully Meditate Everyday for At least 10 Minutes

Tim Ferris, who has interviewed thousands of world-class performers and entrepreneurs, says that the most common practice of all world-class performers is mindfulness meditation. There are different types of meditation, and each serves its own function.

However, mindfulness meditation is meant for controlling your mind so as to be able to focus more intensely on the task at hand. Higher focus equals higher productivity and becoming more effective at whatever you do.

Working in a distracted state leads to substandard work and also takes up more time. If you want to be able to get in the zone like most top-notch entrepreneurs, you need to mindfully meditate.

Now, there are some caveats you need to be aware of before you begin:

  1. Like medicine, mindfulness meditation has a minimum effective dose and that minimum is 10 continuous days for at least 10 minutes each day.
  2. Practice guided meditation before you try meditating on your own.

2. Read a Lot

Warren Buffett was once asked what the secret behind his wealth was. He pointed to a stack of books and said the secret was to read 500 pages like that everyday. Mark Cuban is also a voracious reader and spends almost 3 hours everyday reading in spite of being busy with his businesses. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg also read a book every week.

Now, I am not telling you to read so much everyday but at least make an effort to finish 2 books every month. This is a very common habit among the top-notch entrepreneurs and as Warren says, “knowledge builds up like compound interest.”

Also try not to read on any digital medium except that of Kindle. In spite of it being convenient to read on your phone or tab or laptop, these devices tend to distract us with their notifications and push us to other procrastinating habits.

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” – Roald Dahl

3. Keep the Phone Away, aka take a Digital Detox EVERYDAY

With multi-national companies all vying for our attention, we need to learn to use our phones less everyday. While it can be extremely tempting to open your phone while you are waiting in line or are taking an Uber ride, you should resist and embrace the boredom. This has two effects:

  1. It teaches you to sit through boring and monotonous tasks for longer periods of time and not get pulled away at the tiniest amount of distraction.
  2. It builds up your will-power and your discipline.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs try to do this and even successfully do this but they don’t build it into a habit. They do it once a week or once a month and think it will have a beneficial effect on their lives. Sadly, just like eating your vegetables once a week is a very stupid idea if you want to live a healthy life, taking a digital detox occasionally is useless.

4. Dump Coffee for Tea

Most Americans are heavy coffee consumers and can’t live their lives without coffee. But wait …The main ingredient behind coffee is caffeine which is a natural stimulant. If you take a stimulant regularly, your body adapts to the stimulant and you fail to get the benefits of coffee such as greater energy and focus which other non-regular drinkers get.

On the contrary, tea’s natural stimulant relaxes your body and enables you to put in more hours of work without the “crash” effect that coffee drinkers face. If you are up to the suggestion of making tea a part of your daily habits, I suggest you try out green tea which has 15% more caffeine than a cup of coffee. It also possesses l-theanine, which helps the consumer put in a greater state of focused awareness into his/her work.

But if you are a newbie tea drinker and can’t stand the taste of coffee (I don’t know how that’s possible though☹), try out flavored tea.

5. Sleep Around 8 Hours Daily

I think the most damaging piece of advice out there is sleep less and do more work. If you do that, all that’s going to happen is that you are going to wake up the next day feeling drowsy. The net result is that your productivity will suffer.

Also, the notion of early to bed and early to rise is not true as your biological clock may be differently tuned than that of others and your biological prime time may be late at night. However, don’t be too late to sleep as that hinders the DNA repair and as a side-effect your mental fatigue remains.

If you can’t get to sleep early, try to not use your phone or watch the TV or any sort of screen whatsoever, as the blue light can slow down your natural sleep cycle.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” – John Steinbeck

6. Take Cold Showers

You know what troubles most entrepreneurs? They’re good at planning yet it’s the execution part where almost all of them fall flat. It’s because the execution of ideas throws the harsh realities of the business world onto the face of the entrepreneurs, and they are forced to reconsider if they can actually ever succeed.

It is here that the winners get separated from the losers. And guess what separates them? Willpower. I have the best tactic to help you build it and it’s so simple too! Take cold showers early in the morning or late at night, when it is already chilled outside. If you live in a place that is hot, then this tactic may not have the intended effect on you.

However, try taking cold-showers in the winter. You will see that your brain makes all sorts of excuses so as to not go under the chilling water and if you succeed in pushing your brain to do the work, you will have succeeded. You are then, the master of your mind and not the other way around.

7. Plan and Review Daily

If you want to live a truly productive life and get things done instead of having a mounting pile of to-dos, you need to plan ahead. You need to divide your daily schedule into blocks of time and dedicate tasks to each block.

Parkinson’s Law states that the work we need to do stretches into the time we give ourselves to finish it. Therefore, if you need to get work done and don’t give yourself any time-limit or deadline, you will find your work stretching for enormous amounts of time and eating into the time reserved for other tasks.

However, when you first start planning, you will find most of your plans are utterly useless as most tasks will stretch far beyond the time you have allotted for them. This is where the second part comes along – which is to review the plans and reschedule them.

However, there is a particular style of reviewing and this is how you can go about it. First, you need to make a plan of what you intend to complete in a week and what you intend to complete in a day. Then, before going to bed every night, open your calendar and make a note regarding what you failed to complete today and how you will accommodate them into your weekly goals. This should be done before going to bed daily.

Now, it’s your turn. Share this post and spread the word. What’s the most important habit according to you? Do you have any such habits that you use? Let me know in the comments!

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Build Your Business One Brick at a Time

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A good friend and business associate once approached us asking for business advice. “I have $25,000,” he said. “How do I turn that into $50,000? Actually—wait, how do I turn one million into two million in one year?”

We looked at each other, and then we looked back at him and said “You don’t take a million and turn it into two million. It’s not that easy. There are no shortcuts in life, and there are no shortcuts in business.” We recommended he do things the old-fashioned way.

He understood—and we understood—that, of course, some people do double their money in the blink of an eye. It’s not impossible, but it’s incredibly risky. And it’s also not what we are about. We’re not promoting the Bernie Madoff model of Ponzi and phony, get-rich-quick deals; we all know how well that worked out in the end. Businesses have to have a real economic model that is built one brick at a time.

Start, Build, Sell

Growing your business is an incremental process: you start, you build, and you sell. You build more, you sell more. If you have a viable product or service that customers want, they’ll come back to you again and again. They’ll also tell their friends. 

Positive word of mouth is as important as the product itself, because it helps you continue to grow. As Albert Einstein once said (and Warren Buffet often quotes), “compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”

Buffet, known as the smartest investor of the past century, invests in management teams and products he believes in through his company Berkshire Hathaway. He is also said to only invest in products that he likes and uses, and that fall in his circle of competence. Therefore, as a big holder of both their stocks, you can assume he loves Coke and McDonald’s. He also eats and drinks both regularly. Keep his investment interests in mind as you build your business.

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

The Value of Viability and Balance

What kind of product or service you decide to build is important, too. You have to be insanely fortunate to have success selling an entirely unique product. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try, but always remember it is easier to sell a product that is easily understood. When you’re just starting out, and even if you’re not, it’s much easier to sell something people completely understand rather than an avant-garde product.

Whatever you want to try in business, whether you have a brand-new type of shop or a nail salon in a strip mall down the street from another nail salon in another strip mall, the essence is the same: work harder, work smarter, and constantly improve.

One challenge you may find at this stage of your entrepreneurial journey is the difficult task of finding balance between preparing and over preparing. As you build and sell, focus on the details, but don’t let them overshadow your big picture.

Spilling the Oil

In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes of a boy who wants to learn about happiness. The boy’s father sent him to the wisest man in the world: the sage. The boy traveled for forty days to reach the wise man, finally finding him in a bustling palace. When the boy asked for the secret to happiness, the sage responded by suggesting the boy take a walk through his palace and come back in two hours.

The sage had one additional request: he handed the boy a teaspoon with two drops of oil and instructed him not to let the oil spill as he walked the grounds. He toured the palace, his eyes never leaving the spoon. When he returned, the sage asked the boy if he had enjoyed the Persian tapestries and the intricate gardens, but the boy replied he hadn’t seen them; his eyes were focused on the spoon. Although he had spilled no oil, he had also seen none of the glories of the palace.

The sage refilled the spoon with two drops of oil, instructing the boy to savor the details of the palace. When the boy returned, he realized he’s spilled the oil, but he was able to describe in detail the colors, tastes, smells of the palace that were beyond his wildest imagination. The sage responded, “The secret of happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho

The same is true in business; keep an eye on both the details and the big picture—neither of which you can do if you’re cutting corners or letting the fear of making mistakes stop you from moving forward. Fail often and fail quick. Learn from your mistakes. And, if you are smart, learn from other people’s mistakes, too.

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