Not everyone is born to be an entrepreneur.
We have child prodigies and geniuses that find their calling, early in life.
The greatest of the geniuses such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Socrates, Benjamin Franklin, Galileo, or John Stuart were all born intelligent. Not all geniuses are entrepreneurs, though.
Some of them did venture into entrepreneurship like Thomas Edison did with his first commercially practical incandescent light and telegraphy. Business history has its own stories of geniuses too such as Ford’s assembly lines and Ray Croc’s McDonald.
Whether you are born to do it or if you just want to do it, entrepreneurship requires some skills you need that you weren’t born with – at least not naturally for many entrepreneurs.
Here’s 4 specific skills you need for business:
The Entrepreneurial Mindset
Entrepreneurial minds run off a different framework: entrepreneurial minds can accept change, challenge stability, defy rules, work with an open mind, live with unpredictability, put in insane hours, innovate, produce, lead, inspire, and make things happen.
Employees might or might not have such traits. In fact, first job interviews are not even focused on looking for out for these traits in candidates.
Entrepreneurs are different – they are opportunistic, creative, hardworking, resourceful, adaptive, and shrewd. They have guts, vision, and an attitude to kill for.
Because we don’t grow up with mandatory entrepreneurship training at schools and colleges and because “getting a job” is the default route you are expected to take, entrepreneurship is apparently a departure from sanity.
Can you handle it?
Hustling. Pitching. Failing
We are all born in the comfort of protective environments. Our childhood is resplendent of memories where we ‘ve been protected from being hurt; from ridicule; from damaging elements, which can plunge your self-respect to the ground; from bullying; and from a host of other bad elements.
That’s good for childhood, but it can hurt without being exposed to these elements while you are an entrepreneur.
This protective environment is precisely what prohibits some entrepreneurs from letting go of the comfort cocoons.
Hence, no selling, pitching, or hustling ever happens for most business owners. Even if it does, your efforts die when the first instance of rejection or ridicule meet you. You stop selling when you meet your first nasty prospect or a troublesome customer.
Blame your childhood for that. It’s time to unlearn what you grew up with. As an entrepreneur, selling and pitching is all you do. As you go along, you’ll inevitably fail. Selling and failing to sell – whether it’s products, ideas, hiring pitches, or deals with venture capitalists — is an entrepreneur’s midday meal.
Will you eat that?
Letting go: Today, you are not who were born as
Kids play; parents watch.
Children seek adventure and change; adults seek stability.
Your child has the “I’ll see what happens if I do this” spirit. You have “I’ll do it if everyone else is doing it since I’ll be judged” mentality.
Children can let go of anything including their old toys, clothes, series of embarrassing events, and even their instances of failure; adults just can’t.
As adults, we don’t dare. We don’t experiment. We don’t play. We just go with the herd. You look for business ideas that other members of your startup club vote for. If you didn’t make it to inclusive list of accepted business ideas at the StartUp Chile events or if you didn’t make it to YCombinator watch list, that’d probably mark the end of your entrepreneurial dream.
One failure or even a series of failures are lessons in disguise; not fodder for your self-debasement.
If only kids new about entrepreneurship…
The habit of doing: Do more than you learn, read, write, and listen
Most entrepreneurs are avid readers. They learn constantly and they look for inspiration all the time. They stay on top of information relevant to their business and/or industry. They update their skills like everyone else updates software. Yet, it’s not as important as doing.
Unless you “do” something, you aren’t getting anywhere.
Francesca Di Meglio wrote a feature on Bloomberg BusinessWeek on Why Real Entrepreneurs Don’t Write Business Plans where he points at the absurdity of teaching entrepreneurship and specifically about the abortive attempt of writing business plans. His point is simple: entrepreneurship comes from doing, and not from reading or writing anything.
Will you take the crazy entrepreneurship ride?