I’ve heard people talk about entrepreneurs and the way of life they see them living. They talk about how wonderful it is. Entrepreneurs seem to have free time to drop by their house in the middle of the day, spend time with their family, attend all their children’s events and so on. Then I’ve also seen people attempt to become entrepreneurs. Some are successful, but most fail.
On the outside what “others” see looks like a wonderful life. What they don’t see are the countless hours entrepreneurs spend working to achieve their dreams. Entrepreneurs have a secret. What they do does not seem like work to them. It is what they enjoy doing. Entrepreneurs don’t know how to give up.
Every year I see startups or people trying to “make a buck” being their own boss, being an entrepreneur. Because they are chasing money, most don’t make it past the first 18 months or so. Maybe the money doesn’t come as quickly as they thought so they give up. Most give up right before their business takes off or that big contract comes through.
Being an entrepreneur is not about what you do as much as why you do it. Entrepreneurs view the world differently. I learned this from my grandfather and watched as what he told me played out in my father’s business.
I’ll never forget the hours I spent with my grandfather. I would design something and he’d tell me to make a pattern so I could make several of the products I had designed. He taught me the principle of mass production. At eight years old this was a concept I hadn’t been exposed to yet.
Another very important lesson he taught me was how to turn free wood, free nails, old scraps of cloth, etc., into a money making venture. From my father I learned what it meant to work, and work, and work to build a thriving business. My father also taught me about patience and how things come to those who wait. Waiting is the hardest thing to do as an entrepreneur because we want it yesterday.
Above all, being an entrepreneur is about chasing your dreams and never stopping. I’ve found as soon as you stop chasing your dreams you don’t progress any further. In other words you become stagnant. Stagnant is a word you will not find in an entrepreneur’s vocabulary. They don’t have time to chit chat or spend much time talking about things because they’re too busy making their dreams come true. Now you are probably wondering what are some characteristics of an entrepreneur so I’ve put together the following list. I know it is not all inclusive, but these are some of the high level things I’ve seen entrepreneurs do.
So how do you know if you’re an entrepreneur? Ask yourself these simple questions:
1. Are you flush with excitement in the morning and can’t wait to start work?
2. Do you find yourself getting out of bed in the morning and doing an hour or so of work before your family or significant other wakes up?
3. Are you unable to sleep because you have a burning idea and can’t wait to get started on it?
4. Do you find yourself impatiently waiting for your family to go to sleep so you can sneak away to your office and work for an hour or so before you go to bed or you get up in the middle of the night to work on the newest project you’ve recently thought about?
5. Are there never enough hours in the day to get everything done?
6. Do you find yourself talking to your family or significant other about the next greatest idea and they look at you like you’re crazy….or have they seen enough of your ideas to know you are fully capable of bringing them to fruition?
7. Do you sometimes feel like no one understands you or they don’t know how to support you when you embark on something that’s never been done before?
If you can answer yes to at least four of these questions, you ARE an entrepreneur.
What most people don’t understand about entrepreneurs is that we are driven and we don’t work normal hours. Our workday starts at midnight and ends at 11:59 pm. Drive and determination move entrepreneurs to success. You will rarely see them working because they are out making life better for others.
One final thought. If you have a family like mine that supports all your hair brained ideas or allows you to spend hours working on something instead of helping them around the house, you are blessed. If your father, mother, sister, brother, or significant other allows you to chase your dreams, thank them. They too are making a sacrifice for you. Go forth and be prosperous.
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