Starting a business can be challenging, scary, and risky. But to those with the entrepreneurial spirit, the idea equates to adventure and excitement. Some people are inherently natural entrepreneurs, born with certain qualities that drive them to exceed expectations in business: having a specific vision, thinking innovatively, and possessing the desire to work hard to get what they want.
Even though you may have inherent traits to become an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you’re a natural at running your own business. Vision, innovation, and hard work can get you only so far. You also need knowledge, guidance, mentors, and money. There will be setbacks, so be ready to conquer each battle one day at a time and be prepared to work long, hard hours. You may have to miss social gatherings or put off vacationing for the first few years.
So, why do people choose to put themselves through such vigor? Among my circle of entrepreneurial friends and family, the answer is unanimous: Because they can. Particularly those who immigrated from other countries, they see opportunities at every corner that aren’t available where they came from; sometimes obvious ones we take for granted. We’re free to choose our career path to work in a corporate world, in service, or in the trades. To save or to spend. To own or to rent. To work for someone or to be our own boss. To start a business and fail… and to start another and succeed.
America ranks number one out of 137 countries listed on the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index as of 2018. An estimated 27 million Americans will leave the traditional workforce in favor of self-employment by 2020. Schooling, business knowledge, and economic status do not often play a part in people’s success. Most small business owners don’t have a college degree and started their own businesses from scratch. And don’t think that you need to rent a posh office to be innovative. Companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Disney all began in a garage or basement.
One of the most under-represented qualities in business acumen comes from a quote from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner in his book Work in Progress, when he wrote, “…I was less drawn to people with perfect credentials for a given job than to those who had strong underlying qualities such as common sense, character, creativity, and passion. With those traits – and the right training and support – people tend to succeed at whatever jobs they are given.” I suppose that even means entrepreneurship.
CSULB’s Wade Martin, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said this about what’s most important for a person’s success in starting their own business in today’s competitive world: “What is most important is belief in the market, product, or service they are developing. This leads the entrepreneur to stay focused on the market potential and to do the work necessary to bring it to market as soon as possible.”
Dr. Martin adds, “A potential challenge for entrepreneurs is that sometimes they are not willing to adapt as necessary. Every entrepreneur will need to pivot and adapt as they move forward; you can’t anticipate everything from day one. The trick is to maintain focus on the vision but realize changes will be needed. That passion and flexibility is critical for success.”
Remember, it’s not the dollar amount in the bank that defines success, although that is a major factor for businesses to grow. If you can’t pay your bills, you can’t move forward. Just make sure you choose your passion, not someone’s version of the get-rich-quick genre, even if it works. There’s no profit in securing big funds if you destroy your soul in the process.
Let your success story be the result of your vision that came to life, your God-given talents that gave you purpose, and the accomplishment and pride that you finished something you set out to do!
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer