Deciding to go at it by yourself and put your idea out there for the world is generally one of the most difficult decisions anyone makes. It takes true grit and gumption to walk the path of the entrepreneur. Many don’t make it. For those who do, the journey is about constant improvement because, when it comes to figuring it all out, entrepreneurs call the shots. They’re the ones making the big decisions and steering that great ship of innovation into uncharted waters.
The internet is teeming with the top ways to become an entrepreneur, the best books to read for entrepreneurs, and the top things entrepreneurs didn’t know about becoming entrepreneurs. But finding ways to stay sharp and keep focus can be tricky. If you’re in the game already, how do you aim to be the greatest version of your entrepreneurial self?
Below, find a list of five ways that you can improve as an entrepreneur. These suggestions are just broad generalizations; they’re complete with action tips that you can do right now to up your game and stay sharp.
Five Ways to Improve as an Entrepreneur
- Always keep an eye on the trends.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your business game is to always keep an eye on the trends. This doesn’t necessarily mean limiting your insight to just your niche though. Try to keep an ear to different happenings in a multitude of areas. When you open up your lens to different sectors of business and keep a finger on the pulse of the culture, you can start to notice places where you stretch your business and areas where you can pull back, depending on consumer attitudes. Staying up to date will keep you moving forward and enhance your skills.
Action Step You Can Do Right Now: Google “Top blogs in [insert your niche here].” Follow one you’ve never heard of. Then, Google “Top blogs in [a niche so outside of your typical scope you couldn’t even name a central player in it].” Subscribe to the one that catches your eye first.
- Don’t pigeonhole your creative process.
Everyone works differently and, through trial and error, we all find the way that work works best for us. When we find that routine, we can enter that elusive flow state where productivity just happens. However, this same gift from the business gods can quickly turn into a curse. Routine can become the enemy of creativity, stifling new ideas and new ways of doing things. Instead of getting stuck, change things up. Throw in a new activity into your day to day. Don’t expect anything to happen at first. Just let yourself be present and the ideas and fresh thoughts will come to you when you least expect them.
Action Step You Can Do Right Now: Grab a notebook and a few colored pens. Date the top of the page and start writing, doodling, and coloring away. The goal isn’t to come up with a new idea or process. The goal is to make your brain work in a new way.
- Expect hard work.
Some entrepreneurs assume that, once they put in the grueling hours up front, they will be able to coast into wealth and riches. This is especially true about the troupe of passive income (which is a myth, by the way). Being an entrepreneur is hard work from day one. If you expect it to get easier, you will grow resentful of yourself and others. Always plan for the hustle and embrace the process. You chose the entrepreneur life, and now you must make the choice to live it to its fullest.
Action Step You Can Do Right Now: Cancel your vacation plans. Just kidding. But in all seriousness, cancel the most frivolous thing on your calendar right now and block out that time for some serious work.
- Reframe the way you think about failure.
If you’ve established yourself as an entrepreneur, then you know sometimes things don’t always go as planned. On the spectrum of failure, there are minor setbacks and then there are The Big Ones–the failures so harrowing that you wonder if you’ll make it through them. Instead of choosing to let those things crush you, reframe the way you think about them. Failure happens to everyone. You can choose to see it as an important moment in your story when you learned to pivot and move in a new direction. When we reframe the way we think about failure, we take control of our own personal narratives and write the story of our success.
Action Step You Can Do Right Now: Think back to the last failure, big or small, that really got you down. Take five minutes to list five lessons you learned from that setback. Next time you fail, read that list and remember that you are in control of the way you think about your challenges, successes, and disappointments.
- Challenge yourself.
Complacency is the worst thing that can happen to an entrepreneur. Complacency is an all-numbing force that starts small and grows over time. Entrepreneurs are most likely to become complacent when they plateau. Maybe you’re making enough money to live, or you achieved a big goal, and now you’re just… waiting. If you stay still too long in this intermittent period, you will fizzle out, no doubt about it. Before you get to your destination, have the next one planned. Stack your goals for success and celebrate your wins while planning for the next big one. Always be challenging yourself to do those hard things. Simultaneously keeping your focus on the here-and-now, as well as your “pie in the sky” aspirations is the perfect concoction for staying challenged.
Action Step You Can Do Right Now: Sign up for a class you think will be too hard. Just do it. Don’t think about it. Make the commitment and follow through. Push yourself into a new skill set without second guessing your dedication to yourself as an entrepreneur.
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