Shunning the traditional workplace and becoming an entrepreneur is a dream for many people. In fact, more than 50 per cent of Gen Z’s want to start their own business. After all, when it comes to turning an idea into a viable business, being in control of your earnings, and living a life with purpose – what’s not to love? If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own business, here’s what it takes to succeed.
What it takes to be an entrepreneur
The reality is becoming a successful entrepreneur is no walk in the park. That’s not to say you should shelve your dream of becoming the next Steve Jobs. The truth is, some people are born to lead. Others develop their leading capabilities along the way. Creating a business start-up is one thing; making it a success is another. Practice these skills, and you’re more likely to succeed:
1. You can handle risk
Giving up a steady income for the change of success on your terms is a risk. It’s one entrepreneurs are willing to make in order to realize their dreams. Develop a mindset for risk management – this means understanding risk and opportunity go hand-in-hand. Be willing to stretch yourself in order to find success. One simple way to minimize risk at the beginning of any venture is deciding not to make it a full-time gig. There’s nothing wrong with starting your business as a side-hustle. In fact, Instagram started as a side-hustle during weekends and evenings. So did the founder of Spanx. Alternatively, work part-time and develop your new business with the rest of your time, like Bill Drayton, who grew Ashoka, the largest social entrepreneurship network in the world. This way, you’ve got some steady income but still the time to pursue your dreams.
2. You’re constantly seeking new achievements
Not content with the status quo? That is a good sign that entrepreneurship is right for you. One of the draws of becoming an entrepreneur is you get to create something out of nothing. There was a time when the iPad, Uber, Whatsapp, even your daily venti Pike Place coffee from Starbucks didn’t exist. They were all dreamed up by entrepreneurs who weren’t content to rest on their laurels or stay in their comfort zone. And unlike the corporate world, there’s no glass ceiling as an entrepreneur. You’ll be able to continue to seek opportunities to achieve more in your business and your life.
3. You have grit
The story of a former intern turned CEO of a multi-million dollar company seemingly overnight belongs on the big screen. In truth, entrepreneurship requires grit, which psychologist Angela Lee defines as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Success doesn’t rely solely on talent. It’s about showing up day-after-day, even when you face challenges that seem impossible. Entrepreneurs aren’t stopped by failure; they pick themselves up and try again. Roadblocks become obstacles they navigate their way around, rather than having it stop them dead in their tracks. Entrepreneurs have a vision for their business, and it’s that vision enables them to dig deep and keep going.
4. You are passionate about what you do
Passion is the fuel that will drive your business from an idea into a viable, profitable company. You need to not only care about your product or service but believe in it enough to tackle the challenges that will invariably lay ahead. Yvon Chouinard was passionate enough about rock climbing to make his own equipment. He went on to found the outdoor clothing company, Patagonia. That passion will carry you through when – not if – you fail. Ask Walt Disney. He launched a number of unsuccessful animation companies before sitting down to sketch a cartoon mouse with large ears.
5. You’re passionate about learning
Speaking of passion, another area entrepreneurs are passionate about is learning. Learning doesn’t necessarily mean returning back to school for yet another degree. Case in point: Richard Branson never went to university, but his Virgin brand is recognized the world over. Branson’s education came from the school of life. When creating a start-up, you are the marketing department, accounts payable, sales manager and CEO all-in-one. Sure, you can outsource some of those things, but it’s wise to understand how to balance the books and how to position your brand. Be willing to continually learn and grow in business, and life and you’re more likely to find success.
Looking for more entrepreneurial tips? Check out this article from Ownr on 5 productivity hacks from successful entrepreneurs.
Turn your business idea into a reality
Curiosity. Grit. Passion. Initiative. Risk-management. These are just some of the skills you’ll need to be a successful entrepreneur. There’s no hard and fast list of what does or doesn’t make an entrepreneur. However, there’s no greater feeling than seeing your business idea go from dream to reality.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.