March 24, 2012 - Desire, Drive, Discipline, Determination and Duty
An MBA grad recently told me that there was a course in the program on “how to be an entrepreneur.” When the students arrived for the first class, they were told, “If you signed up for this course, you’re not an entrepreneur.”
So does that mean entrepreneurship is conducted entirely by the seat of one’s pants? No. But I see the point that book learning won’t go very far in preparing you for this life.
I found this quote in a business article:
Successful entrepreneurs are people who are fully committed to their business ventures. You have to be prepared to put your heart and soul into what you’re doing. You have to truly believe in your product or service, and be prepared to work long hours to get others to believe in your product or service, too. You have to be ready to go without treats such as holidays, and even necessities such as salary, for what may seem like an endless stretch of time. And you have to do all this without the safety net that salaried employees are used to, such as benefits and pension plans.
It’s scary, no doubt about it. Unless you’ve got backers, you’ve got to be ready for some short-term but potentially terrifying downward mobility.
The author of this article went on to describe entrepreneurs as “Type D” people – D for desire, drive, discipline and determination. True enough. The discipline part is just as important as the rest, and I suspect may be the weak spot for some indie business people. All the passion in the world isn’t going to keep you on top of everything. In fact, too much passion can be an obstacle to getting things done, or foster the illusion that other people should simply fall in love with your magnificent product or service. Alas, customers need to be wooed. A lot.
It also helps enormously to be a Jill of All Trades. If you can do your own bookkeeping, graphic design, content writing, and maybe a bit of carpentry and plumbing, you’re off to a good start. You can’t avoid tasks you don’t like or aren’t good at. Social media is a prime example; it requires constant attention, and only you, as the spokesperson for your brand, can attend to it. The job of spokesperson for your brand is a critical one. It’s you who will leave a positive or negative impression on someone, forever associated with your business.
I still remember how much it hurt when an anonymous respondent wrote on a customer survey, “It wouldn’t hurt the owner to smile.” I couldn’t believe I’d been caught not smiling. Sometimes my face hurts from smiling so much. And I usually want to smile… I’m delighted to see people come into my shop! I have to assume I had a headache or something, but it was a reminder that I’m on duty every minute – even outside the shop. There’s another “D” for the list!