5 Simple Rules to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. A lot of people fall in love with the idea of the rewards that entrepreneurship brings and the lifestyle it provides — however, the process of getting there can be a deterrent. I say this because someone’s “overnight success” typically takes months or even years to make happen.

Here are some stats and facts to know about entrepreneurship:

  • The top motivation for someone to open a business is that they’re ready to become their own boss.
  • 69% of entrepreneurs start their business at home.
  • $10,000 is the average startup capital.
  • 82% of startup funds come from the entrepreneur or their family and friends.

For those who do venture down the entrepreneurship route and experience success early on or as they continue on their path, it’s important to know that you can’t count on yesterday’s wins to get you through the coming days.

Personally, I don’t think there’s a clear path to running a profitable business. There are methodologies and practices you can put in place, but to say that there is one clear path that will work for everyone just isn’t true. What I believe works really well is the following:

  • Having a clear vision for what you want out of life and aligning your personal and professional goals around that.
  • Having a market that’s readily in demand for what you have to offer.
  • Discipline for your craft. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”
  • Being able to embrace failure as part of success and to keep learning.

Entrepreneurship isn’t just about going 100% in with your business idea; I see it also as starting a side hustle to generate any sort of income that can contribute to the betterment of your life. What I mean by this is that if you make the decision to become an entrepreneur based solely on making money, you’ll come across challenges that won’t keep you in the game for very long.

Rather, focus on what you’re good at and what you’re truly passionate about. Doing so will keep you going when times get hard and keep you motivated to learn the newest trends in your industry. Entrepreneurship should be looked at as a long-term plan.

That said, here are five simple rules to consider when it comes to entrepreneurial success:

Know What You Do Best

One thing I learned early on in my career was that trying to be good at everything stretches you so thin that you end up not being very good at anything. Knowing what you do best means that you will focus on lifting your strengths and using that to your advantage.

For instance, when I got into digital marketing, it was still fairly nascent. At the time, Google was just starting to crack down on “keyword stuffing” being an issue – making it more difficult for businesses to rank if they didn’t have quality content. Being the noob that I was at the time, I knew I had a big learning curve — but I also knew I was really excited about how much the industry changed.

So as I continued with my career in digital marketing, my salary and roles skyrocketed, leading me to start my own marketing firm to help businesses harness the power of digital marketing in order to grow.

The point here is that if you stick with what you enjoy – and what you’re good at, too – your ability to succeed will be a lot higher than if you just jump on the next hottest trend. On the flip side of things, I’ve seen how not focusing on a core competency negatively impacts businesses too.

strategic sweet spot

I had a client that was adamant about building out a mobile app similar to Google and Yelp. After they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this app, it’s now sitting dormant, with no use or ROI to the business.

Keeping all of this in mind, my next point aligns perfectly:

Know Your Customers

Having a deep understanding of your customers, their pain points, the type of content they need from you in order to make a purchase decision, and what triggers them to buy overall will help you shorten the sales cycle. But more importantly, it will help you figure out how to best position your products and services to meet their needs.

understanding your customers

Surround Yourself with the Best

Pushing to level up with all of the aspects in life that are important to you comes down to your circle of friends and colleagues. Further, I’m a firm believer in making sure that the people you surround yourself with want to see you rise and for you to be the best version of you. They are also there when you fall, helping you see opportunities within that and continuing to be supportive of your dreams.

you are the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with quote

Know that these people are also there not only to complement your skill set but also to be influential in pushing you to step outside of your comfort zone. Doing so will enable both personal and professional growth, all of which will benefit your entrepreneurial path.

Do Work You Love

Continuing to be engaged in your craft so that you are consistently motivated, driven,  committed, and productive will help you thrive as an entrepreneur. Sure, there will be days when you want to lay back and focus more on self-care without having to solely think about work. But know that when you’re doing what you love for work, it stays top-of-mind regardless of what you’re doing and becomes an integral part of your life.

steve jobs quote

Other key reasons to do work that you love:

  • You won’t just be working for vacations or weekends.
  • You will have a greater purpose than just making money.
  • The money will absolutely follow.
  • You won’t feel like you’re just stuck doing chores you hate.
  • You won’t half-ass your work.
  • You will want to add real value to your target customers.

Keep Learning

Having the humility to openly state that you don’t know everything and that you’re in a state of learning will help you excel. Because let’s face it: doing business with a know-it-all can feel like a constant uphill climb. In fact, the clients that I’ve had a longer-lasting relationship with are the ones who walk in and know exactly where their expertise lies compared to mine. Doing this allows us to work collaboratively.

When you push yourself to continually learn, you’re also able to do the following:

  • You are more approachable.
  • You begin to look at how you can position your offering around your target customers’ needs and challenges rather than just serving your own.
  • You are up-to-date on trends within your own industry and can be steadfast with changes.
  • You build your knowledge base and can apply that to your own business.

Final Thoughts

Entrepreneurship isn’t an easy path. It will challenge you, scare you, and be full of a wide range of emotions. However, know that with the right vision, relentless execution, and an ongoing growth mindset, you can and will succeed.

Always remember that adding value is more important than trying to make a transactional sale. People will always buy from people they trust, and once you build that – and in addition, credibility – you will ultimately grow revenue.

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