Are you wondering how to become an entrepreneur and if you have what it takes? Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the downright UGLY side of entrepreneurship!
I became an entrepreneur 5 years ago and I’ve certainly had my fair-share of ups an downs! Starting a blog turned out to be the most rewarding (and lucrative) part of my journey!
So if you’re reading this post, chances are
- you’re an entrepreneur already, or
- you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and you’re in the process of researching about it
And since Google and social media PROBABLY have you tagged as interested in “entrepreneurial content”, I’m willing to bet you’ve probably seen ads on YouTube or Instagram showing off this incredible “entrepreneurial lifestyle”.
You know, the ads with dudes on a private beach in Maui telling you how to make $140,000 in a week? Or the people flashing fancy cars and boatloads of money telling you how “cool” it is to be an entrepreneur?
I hate these ads with a passion because they do entrepreneurship (and YOU!) a HUGE disservice.
For the majority of people running their own business, being an entrepreneur is NOT about wealth and fame. It's about hard work, dedication, consistency and sacrifice.
Most entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do and love the process of BUILDING and creating.
So let's talk about money...
Here's the other thing you need to know if you're wondering how to become an entrepreneur:
Most successful entrepreneurs are only making an average salary.
It's reported that just over 6% of adults in the United States own their own business (and operate it as their primary source of income) and according to CareerExplorer, the average salary of these entrepreneurs is $59,686.
In fact, if you want to crack the top 10% of earners in the United States, you don't need to make a million dollars: you only need a salary of $118,400!
So if you want to be an entrepreneur solely for the purpose of making mega bucks like the guys and girls flashing their cash in Maui, you might need to reconsider.
But that doesn't mean being an entrepreneur isn't lucrative!
Quite the opposite...
Entrepreneurs have the ability to set their OWN price for their products and services. They set their own work hours and vacations, and decide which clients they want to work with.
Entrepreneurs have the freedom to use their skills and creativity to make the life they WANT.
And this freedom is where entrepreneurship tips the scales for most people.
Making $59,686 on your own terms is MUCH more fulfilling than making $70,000 working a job you don't love.
Types of Entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur, you can be lumped into 1 of 3 categories: selling services, selling products, or selling both.
Entrepreneurs who sell services can include: coaches, pet taxis, virtual assistants, designers, nutritionists, dog walkers, cleaners, , etc.
Literally ANYTHING you can offer to someone to perform a task for them (or save them time!) can be turned into a viable business.
- Doesn't cost as much money to get started
- Generally a low barrier to entry into the market
- High competition
- Profit is limited by time and resources
Selling products can mean selling digital products like courses and books, dropshipping products from Amazon or a Shopify store, OR developing and shipping from your home/a local store.
Products can be delivered in a ton of different ways, and there will be pros and cons depending on which route you choose for your business.
Dropshipping and private labelling has become really popular over the last few years, and it's a great alternative for people who don't actually want to produce or package products themselves.
BUT, the trade-off is that you may lose control over the quality of the product, packaging, and delivery.
Developing and shipping your own products gives you full control over the process from start to finish, but you need to have the space and the ability to produce enough merchandise as your business scales.
Selling digital products and downloads can be a perfect alternative. The product is easy to create, easy to deliver, and it doesn't require your time and attention every time someone makes a purchase!
Selling a combination of products + services
Entrepreneurs who sell a combination of products and services can have an advantage because they're able to create multiple income streams.
This could include a business coach who sells a book, or a personal trainer selling specific diet plans or workout gear.
Offering BOTH products and services might make you feel like you're insanely busy (because you will be!) but it can be a really great way to diversify your business and test out new money-making strategies on your audience.
Want to grow an email list for your business? Grab my Email Marketing Deconstructed eBook below!
Let's look at HOW to become an entrepreneur
STEP ONE: FIND OUT WHAT YOU LOVE
Seems obvious enough! Almost too obvious, actually.
It's easy to think this advice is just useless motivational hype, but one of the biggest factors behind your success or failure in business is choosing something you LOVE to do!
If you don't love your business, why not go out and get a job that will be less stress, less risk, and pay you the same amount of money?
And if you're not in love with your business/niche, you'll have trouble finding the motivation to learn, grow, and overcome the hard times.
Think of what you love! Is it food? Travel? Woodworking? You can make a business out of ANYTHING.
I've started businesses doing property management, rental services, dropshipping tea, dog walking, and blogging: all things I love that I found a way to make money doing!
STEP TWO: FIND OUT WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT
This step is a little harder...
Sometimes what you love isn't necessarily what you're good at.
What if you love building furniture but have you have arthritis in your hands that stops you from using tools?
What if you have visions of building a multi-million dollar company but you're not willing to sacrifice more than 5 hours a day to do it?
This is why you need to make sure your passion aligns with your abilities.
It's so crucial to know yourself and be honest about what you can (and can't) do! As soon as you get real about your skills and abilities, you're already ahead of the game!
STEP THREE: FIND A GAP IN THE MARKET
When you're figuring out how to become an entrepreneur, the most important thing you need to know is: why will someone hire ME or buy MY products over the competition?
What problem are you solving for your customer? How is your solution different (and better) than anything the competition can offer?
First, you need to figure out exactly where your business falls on the spectrum.
There are 3 "categories" of entrepreneurs (aka problem solvers):
You can solve a new problem with a new solution (low competition + low awareness)
This is also known as "reinventing the wheel".
These are the entrepreneurs that would appear on Shark Tank or Dragon's Den when it first aired.
They would (usually) have a homemade invention to solve an everyday problem and we would say, "What an awesome idea! Why didn't I think of that?!".
You can solve an old problem with a new solution (high competition + low awareness)
Otherwise known as "creating a better mousetrap".
This blog is an example. I'm trying to solve an old problem (making money and building a business online) with a new solution (my services and digital products).
What Uber did in the taxi/transportation space would be another example.
You can solve an old problem with an old solution, but offer the LOWEST/HIGHEST price (high competition + high awareness)
My dog walking business, for example, would fall under this category. I was offering dog walking (an already established service) but trying to stand out by providing the LOWEST price point in my city.
Price was my differentiating factor.
Think of a Chanel handbag versus a cheap brand you've never heard of. They both offer the same product, but Chanel wins by offering the highest price point and the "luxury brand" status.
It's important you know which category your business falls into because that will determine where you find your audience and HOW you market to them.
STEP FOUR: BE NICHE AF AND START SELLING
Finding a specific niche is crucial. And I know there are tons of people who don't agree and think it's better to keep your business audience as broad as possible, but I've personally been WAY more successful in my entrepreneurial ventures when I niche down!
Because everyone has access to the internet and people can put whatever the heck they want online, competition in the business world has become FIERCE.
At first glace, it's harder to tell the businesses that are actually good from the ones that are just posing.
So with competition high, and access to information so readily available to your audience, don't be afraid to be REALLY specific about who you target!
Instead of a "30-Day Meal Plan", you can sell a "30 Day Meal Plan For Vegan Stay-at-Home-Moms".
If you can get SUPER specific about the people you're trying to reach, you'll build a more engaged audience and have a WAY more sustainable business in the long term!
Once you have the basics of your new business down, you still need to get into the role of entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is more than just a mindset; it's combining your creativity, fear and independence into ACTION.
In order to become an entrepreneur, you need to be able to...
1. Be consistent
Day-in-day-out, building a business is a grind. It won't happen overnight and one of the most important elements to building any business is consistency.
Whether it's advertising, networking, building, or creating, it's important to get prepared for a marathon, not a sprint.
2. CONSTANTLY learn your craft
Something that makes a lot of people uncomfortable is being the student instead of the teacher. As an entrepreneur, it takes a ton of humility and a humble attitude to realize: if your business is going to succeed, you will ALWAYS be the student!
Whether it's new methods of developing products, marketing, or trends in your industry, entrepreneurs need to stay in student-mode and always be open to learning about their business.
3.Execute different strategies
All that learning won't be any good if you're not willing to test new methods and execute different strategies!
As an entrepreneur, you need to be able take everything you've learned and use it to actually execute on your business.
So many of us get stuck in learning mode and never end up taking the plunge!
The best business owners know when it's time to put down the books and start getting things done!
4. Adapt QUICKLY
This is the trifecta of entrepreneurship: learn, execute, adapt.
After you learn what's happening in your industry and execute on these strategies, business will be great! But that won't last forever.
Trends, opportunities, economics, and competition change faster than we can blink, and as a good entrepreneur, you ALWAYS need to have your finger on the pulse of the market!
If your marketing strategy stops working, or your advertising costs suddenly skyrocket, you need to be willing to let go of the old ways and embrace new methods to grow your business!
5. Motivate yourself
As an employee, you get used to having a boss or manager. Maybe you have bonuses or an incentive program, or you're trying to rise up through the ranks and want to impress the higher-ups.
As an entrepreneur, that motivation is non-existent.
You answer to YOU. And if you're too easy on yourself and binge watch Netflix instead of working, you're going to pay the price.
One of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur is figure out how to stay hungry.
Find out what motivates you and how you can use that keep yourself accountable!
6. Invest in your business
I've worked with online entrepreneurs who aren't willing to spend ANY money when starting their business, and I'm not going to lie, I think this is a dangerous approach!
Actually, what inspired this post was a recent chat with my fiance...
He started a woodworking business designing custom games tables. We went out and bought all the tools and supplies he needed EXCEPT a table saw.
He continued using this crappy old table saw that would slide across the floor with every cut.
And sure enough, cut after cut on the crappy saw turned out awful! Every piece of wood was ruined.
I asked him why he didn't just go get a proper table saw and he said, "I don't want to spend another dime! I know I can make this one work!"
I've heard that SO many times talking to other online entrepreneurs! We always want to save the money and "figure things out ourselves", but in the end, if you're not willing to invest in your business, you'll waste more time and resources in the long-run.
7. Filter the voices around you
Speaking of investing in your business, you may need to grab a pair of earplugs for the first 2 years of living as an entrepreneur!
Since the majority of people DON'T operate their own business and haven't experienced life as an entrepreneur, you can't expect them to understand or appreciate your struggles.
BUT, this won't stop them from offering opinions and advice.
And this isn't a bad thing! It's always a good idea to listen to what friends and family have to say, but you need to filter it through the proper lens.
If your friend think the service you're offering won't sell because HE'S never used it, maybe he's not the best person to take advice from.
If your Mom is telling you not to buy Facebook ads and she's never had a Facebook account, clearly her opinion on that topic shouldn't hold much (if any!) weight.
When people offer you advice, think about where it's coming from to know which filter applies.
8. Be lonely sometimes
If there's anything I've learned from being an entrepreneur, it's that the journey can be lonely AF.
Not everyone will believe in your dream, understand your vision, or support you on the road to building your business.
And if you work from home, or in a one-man/one-woman office, it's DOUBLE-Y lonely! You may start to feel alone in your business life and your personal life.
And let's be honest, this isn't a rare case- this is NORMAL.
It's totally normal for entrepreneurs to feel unsure, scared and really freakin' lonely.
It doesn't last forever, but it helps to get ok with yourself and learn to get through bouts of loneliness and boredom.
Now you know how to become and an entrepreneur and everything it takes it be successful as your own boss!
Have you started your own business? Tell me about it below!