Seven reasons to love being an entrepreneur
Choosing to follow your dreams and bring your small business idea to life takes guts, commitment, time and effort. Once the ball is rolling, it’s really easy to get caught up in the work and challenges that come with managing your own business.
That’s why we’ve decided to take this opportunity to remind you why you chose the entrepreneurial route in the first place and, more importantly, why you love what you do. Here are seven reasons why being an entrepreneur is the bee’s knees.
The obvious one: You’re your own boss
This has to be one of the most common reasons why entrepreneurs love being entrepreneurs. When you have your own business, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. There may be challenges along the way, but there’s something fulfilling about leading the pack (egos aside, of course). You are the one in the driver’s seat and the direction in which your business is headed is really up to you, plus you have the flexibility you need to make decisions quickly. Decisions relating to your business are yours and there’s something liberating in that. Wave goodbye to be micromanaged.
You work your own schedule
As an entrepreneur you often get to bid farewell to the usual nine-to-five working hours. You have control of your calendar and ultimately, you’re the one dictating when you work and where. This gives you a freedom that you’re not able to experience when you’re not your own boss, and one of the many perks is that this can mean you spend more time with your family and less time doing things you don’t really enjoy.
You get to follow your passion
The catalyst for many entrepreneurs deciding to take the leap and go out on their own is very often passion. They are passionate about something, so much so, that they want to turn that passion into profit. Every day they get to develop, sell and promote products or services that they whole-heartedly believe in and love – something that is never guaranteed in a regular job when you’re working for others. Entrepreneurs get to follow their passions and that’s rewarding.
You handpick the people you work with
Entrepreneurs have the freedom to pick and choose not only who they hire, but also the people they do business with. This means that they give themselves the best chance of teaming up with the right people, both in the office and out. Who wouldn’t choose to work with people they like and who also share their vision, drive, passion and core values? This makes for an overall harmonious working environment as well as stronger and longer-lasting business relationships.
You take pride in growing something from the ground up
Sure, there will always be sacrifices you have to make as an entrepreneur, but at the end of the day, nothing is more rewarding than creating something from scratch, nurturing it and watching it grow. There’s no greater accomplishment in the world of business than seeing your idea being realised and then going from success to success – entrepreneurs take great pride in that. When it’s your own, you’re not just another cog in the wheel but rather the main reason behind your own success.
You get to leave a lasting legacy
Who wouldn’t want to leave something behind for people to remember them by? Many entrepreneurs are motivated by their desire to leave a personal legacy one day for their loved ones. The idea of a family business can be an exciting one and if it’s successful, it can get passed down from generation to generation.
You create your own destiny
When you’re running your own business you have the freedom to shape your own destiny and create your own opportunities. You have the power to decide what you get to do and if that, for example, comprises of networking and attending conferences, then so be it. Entrepreneurs control their futures and the independence that comes with owning their own business ventures allows them to make the important decisions and steer their businesses in the direction they choose.
There are endless reasons why entrepreneurs love being entrepreneurs and every so often, it’s worth taking a break and reflecting on a few of them. Especially when times get tough, it can be helpful to remember the reasons why you decided to become an entrepreneur in the first place – they may just be how you get through.
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The difference between a small business owner and entrepreneur
Not all who build businesses are equal. Very often those who look to describe people with their own enterprise will use ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘small business owner’ interchangeably; however each phrase describes a different kind of person, and distinctive mind-sets about how they pursue their business.
Entrepreneurs embody constant change, small business owners embody constancy.
Small business owners are, in many countries, the largest employers in an economy – in Brazil, it is estimated that 96% of jobs are produced by small and medium enterprises. But not all small businesses are owned equally. A crucial difference between the small business owner and the entrepreneur is in how they imagine the future of their business. The small business owner looks to manage the growth of their enterprise stably. Their goals are community-focused – their vision of a successful business is one that is still around 10, 20, or 30 years from now. Entrepreneurs imagine their business’s growth in larger terms. They imagine, and work towards, having their operations grow beyond the local level. In order to achieve that kind of growth, the entrepreneur must never be comfortable with things remaining the same: the entrepreneur sees stagnation where the small business owner would see stability.
Entrepreneurs seek the new; small business owners use what already works.
Small business owners might be characterised by their enterprises being secure in the knowledge that what they are doing has been proven to work, and found their business on ensuring that they do that as well as possible. The entrepreneur, guided by the big dreams, knows that the success that they seek won’t be found by being one of the pack, will look to the new or novel as the selling point of their business. The small business owner sells their product to a market that already exists; the entrepreneur, if successful, will make a new market.
Small business owners see their business as a means to an end; entrepreneurs see business as an end in itself.
In an article for Forbes, small business owner Gene Marks succinctly writes of his rejecting the entrepreneur label, and taking pride in the smallness of his business: “I am not a risk taker. I am not a dreamer. When I make an investment in a new product or technology it’s one that I’m able to lose without feeling it. My gambles are small. I think small. Therefore my returns are small. I am a business owner. I am a small business owner. And I’m fine with that.”
The ability to stomach risk is a critical characteristic of the entrepreneur. Economic theory would describe many entrepreneurs as behaving as risk seekers – they gain pleasure in pursuing gambles with higher chances of failure, with larger rewards that come with that risk being the motivation they need to pursue those options. Small business owners would be better characterised as being risk averse. When faced with the choice between two options – a higher reward payoff that’s less likely, and a lower reward payoff that’s more likely – they will choose the safe option.
So – don’t judge a business person by the size of their enterprise. There is nothing ignoble in not wanting to create a global enterprise, nor in being uncomfortable with placing limits on your dreams. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are distinct, but invaluable to the modern market-place.
Why every entrepreneur needs a mentor
As you embark on the incredibly exciting yet equally scary journey of starting your own business, you can use all the help and support you can get. This can come in the form of family and friends, and if you’re lucky, in the form of a business mentor as well. Having a mentor to guide you along the way, encourage you and push you, could be just the secret weapon you need to get you ahead of the rest.
As you embark on the incredibly exciting yet equally scary journey of starting your own business, you can use all the help and support you can get. This can come in the form of family and friends, and if you’re lucky, in the form of a business mentor as well. Having a mentor to guide you along the way, encourage you and push you, could be just the secret weapon you need to get you ahead of the rest. Read on to discover the importance behind having a mentor, finding the right person for the job as well as what you have to do to make it work.
How can I benefit from having a mentor?
There are many benefits to having a mentor by your side as you begin to build your business. The first is the fact that they bring something to the table that you don’t yet have – experience. They have been in your exact position and have more than likely faced similar challenges to those you are experiencing, or will experience. As a result, they can help you navigate through familiar territory and can guide you based on their own experiences. They have the gift of hindsight, something that you can most certainly use to your advantage when it comes to decision making and problem solving.
Your mentor will be a constant source of advice, counsel, knowledge and guidance, and they will be able to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can be the best leader possible. With their support and encouragement, you will be able to overcome many a challenge that comes your way and also achieve the business goals you set out to achieve from the start. Your mentor will act as a sounding board in some situations and offer moral support during difficult times – and there are bound to be quite a few of those. Lastly, they’re able to help shape your company in a meaningful way and also put you in contact with people and companies that can help you reach your objectives.
How do I go about finding the right mentor?
When looking for a suitable mentor, you want to ensure that the person you choose has expertise in the area in which you need assistance. It’s also very important that they are both willing and able to mentor you. Don’t worry if the person you approach isn’t though, chances are they’ll be able to recommend someone else. Your mentor should be someone who believes in you and your business idea, as well as a person you respect, admire and most importantly, connect with. This connection needs to be a strong one and one built on mutual trust.
I’ve found a mentor – now how do I make it work?
A mentorship is in fact a two-way street – you’re expected to put in as much work as your mentor does. In most cases, a person will agree to be your mentor free of charge so it’s vital that you show your appreciation and respect for them on a continuous basis. They are not a consultant but rather a guide, and since they can’t work their magic overnight, they’ll be with you for an indefinite amount of time in an informal manner, so it’s in your best interest to cultivate a strong, meaningful relationship with them early on.
Successful people are often busy people, so when it comes to setting up meetings with your mentor, you need to be conscious of their time. Finding mutually convenient times is what you should aim for and preparing for your meetings beforehand is key. If you come with an agenda, you’ll be able to maximise the time you have with them and get the most out of your interactions.
Down the line you may also want to consider being someone else’s mentor because every entrepreneur can benefit from the right kind of advice at some point or another.
A mentor can be an invaluable asset to any entrepreneur and business, and something that can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s admirable to want to go at it alone, but this is ultimately a flawed approach when it comes to business – having someone cheering you on can make all the difference. In the words of businessman and author Zig Ziglar: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”
You may be interested in: Five Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs
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The top interesting facts about Elon Musk
Elon Musk is truly a man of vision. The successful entrepreneur is a shining example of sheer determination and passion, and is living proof that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Musk is the co-founder of three successful companies, namely Zip2, PayPal and SpaceX, and he continues to expand his empire and work on projects he is passionate about.
Elon Musk is truly a man of vision. The successful entrepreneur is a shining example of sheer determination and passion, and is living proof that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Musk is the co-founder of three successful companies, namely Zip2, PayPal and SpaceX, and he continues to expand his empire and work on projects he is passionate about. He is also the CEO and product architect at Tesla Motors and remains the largest shareholder at SolarCity – the second largest provider of solar power in the United States. In 2013, he announced his intentions to build the “hyperloop”, a subsonic air travel machine stretching from L.A. to San Francisco that would allow commuters to travel between the two cities in less than 30 minutes. The list of achievements go on and on, and there are no doubt many more still to come for this brilliant entrepreneur. What follows are a few interesting facts that perhaps you didn’t know about this mover and shaker:
Proudly South African
Musk was born and bred in Pretoria, South Africa, before eventually immigrating to Canada (through his mother, English-Canadian model Maye Musk).
Lots of firsts in his family
Musk’s great grandmother was the first female chiropractor in Canada, and his grandparents were the first to fly from South Africa to Australia in a single-engine plane. Clearly this guy came from a smart and gutsy clan.
Musk would spend four to five hours a day reading when he was growing up. He would read anything he could get his hands on and absorbed all the information like a sponge. He was hungry to learn from the time he was a little tot.
He sold his first piece of software at 12 years old
Musk got his hands on his first computer when he was 10 years old, and he then proceeded to teach himself how to programme it. By the age of 12, he had already sold his first piece of software – a game called Blastar – for a cool $500.
From Canada to the United States
Musk managed to dodge his military service in South Africa and made his way to Canada. He made no secret of the fact that he felt that getting to the United States would be easier to do so from Canada, rather than from South Africa. It was his main motivation for relocating.
When Musk first arrived in Canada, he was flat broke. He made some extra cash by working at lumber mills and cleaning out boilers – you have to start somewhere.
House Parties of Promise
Musk paid his way through university by throwing huge house parties together with his roommate at the time. Whilst his roommate took care of transforming their pad into a club, Musk took care of the business side of things (he received two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania – one in economics and one in physics).
After attending Stanford to complete his PhD in applied physics for a short 48 hours, he dropped out to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations, the first of which was Zip2, a web software company. If was the money from the sale of Zip2 that allowed Musk to get involved in PayPal. Musk became a millionaire at the tender age of 28.
The character of Tony Stark in the famous Iron Man franchise is said to be inspired by Musk. He even had a cameo role in Iron Man 2.
Musk has a vision to create a colony on Mars. The idea is to create a “greenhouse” on the planet that will house a small group of people that will hopefully flourish over time. It may sound crazy, but when Elon Musk is involved, anything can happen.
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you still do it.” – Elon Musk on perseverance.
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