LinkedIn’s Founder, Reid Hoffman, likened founding a start-up to jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. It’s risky, unstable, and takes everything you have. Below are 10 ways entrepreneurs think differently.
1. They believe in themselves. A LOT
It takes a lot of courage to get past the voices in our heads that tell us we aren’t good enough to succeed. It’s one thing to fight that battle when you’re receiving a paycheck for building someone else’s company and quite another when you won’t receive a paycheck until you sell your own product.
Entrepreneurs need to believe they have what it takes to handle any of the obstacles that will inevitably come their way.
2. They’ve come to terms with failure
If there’s one thing an entrepreneur can count on, it’s failure. Entrepreneurs need to be able to distinguish between their ideas failing and them personally being failures. It’s widely known in the start-up space that most first ideas fail. Entrepreneurs almost brag about their ability to fail fast, knowing it’s the real key to eventual success.
3. They’re willing to pivot on a dime
When building a company, the most important thing is to create products that solve problems for people. As entrepreneurs it’s important to understand that our own needs don’t often align with those of the market we’re aiming to serve. Testing the marketplace and modifying our products accordingly is critical. Oftentimes what the market returns is that we need to change our product dramatically. Entrepreneurs know they can’t afford to be too attached to any one idea.
4. They’re strong
Just imagine how the Founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, felt when he was out of money, tried to sell to Blockbuster, and they turned him down! Here’s the biggest game in town in your industry basically saying you aren’t going to succeed. To not only keep going in the face of such adversity but go on to completely disrupt the industry, putting that same very major competitor out of business in the process entirely, shows exactly how much strength and dedication it takes to succeed.
5. They work super fast
This is probably the biggest reason why most entrepreneurs can’t work in the corporate world. In the start-up world people make decisions quickly, trusting that when the data points in a certain direction, the business must follow. Stakeholder buy-in equals death to an entrepreneur.
6. They’re not driven by money
Without exception, every great entrepreneur I’ve encountered has been driven by a passion to make something great that solves problems. PayPal Founder, Elon Musk, had earned close to a quarter of a billion dollars and had only 3 million left when he was advised his new company Tesla didn’t have the funds to cover payroll. He wrote the cheque out of his personal account, wiping him out and putting him in a position where he had to borrow rent money.
7. They see a better way to do things
Imagine being the person who thought up Airbnb or Uber. Simple ideas, but with huge implications for major traditional industries. Just think how self-driving cars will change things for governments. No more speeding tickets or DUI’s. No more driver’s licence or having to queue up to take your driver’s test. Entrepreneurs are always looking for a better way to solve problems.
8. They’re curious
WordPress Founder, Matt Mullenweg, tells the best story of being a college student studying jazz and looking for a decent blogging platform so he could start writing about his experiences. Not being able to find one, he created WordPress and the rest is history. He is a fantastic example of an entrepreneur who’s always trying new approaches to see how they can better what they have. Hello open source!
9. They don’t punch a clock
Sleep deprived doesn’t even begin to cover what most entrepreneurs go through to get their ideas off the ground. Every minute they spend at their desk is an investment in the forward motion of bringing their ideas to market and that far outweighs the need for sleep or a social life. Einstein was a consummate entrepreneur, apparently taking 20-minute naps every five hours throughout a 24-hour cycle.
10. They’re serial
See number 6. Most founders either have a second idea running or at the very least one waiting in the wings. Good luck getting them to take a desk job. Most would rather starve!