Opinions expressed by <em>Entrepreneur</em> contributors are their own. </p><div> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/starting-a-business/why-the-future-of-entrepreneurship-is-small/432971" rel="follow noopener">Entrepreneurship</a> is a tough journey. It requires you to be self-motivated and willing to take risks to succeed. Most people decide not to become <a target="_blank" href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/entrepreneurs" class="auto-tagged ga-click ent-tags" data-ga-category="autotag-linking" data-ga-label="ent-tags" data-ga-action="https://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/entrepreneurs" rel="noopener">entrepreneurs</a> because they think it's too risky. Yes, there will be some financial <a target="_blank" href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/risk" class="auto-tagged ga-click ai-metadata" data-ga-category="autotag-linking" data-ga-label="ai-metadata" data-ga-action="/topic/risk" rel="noopener">risk</a> and market risk, and even the chance that your idea might not take off as technology changes. Can your business idea adapt? It's scary for many potential entrepreneurs.
There are many reasons why people decide to take that incredible leap to become an entrepreneur. As business owners, we want to have more control over our time and work hours, be able to change the world in some way, and for many of us, the idea of having financial freedom and the possible riches can be a huge motivator.
Don’t think about what your business can do for you. Think about what you can do for your business.
So many entrepreneurs and business owners start their journey thinking they’re going to be rich and plan how to spend all the money they expect to make. This is the wrong way to think about it — and may be detrimental to your ability to make it to financial freedom.
Even after I reached the point in my business where I could feel comfortable putting things on “cruise control,” I continued to hold the mindset to continue providing value to my business so that my business could continue to provide value to the community. If I am not providing worth to those in my community, then I am not doing my job as an entrepreneur, business owner and human being.
But don’t I need to make money to have a successful business?
Yes, your business will need to earn money to make it, but if that’s why you’re going into it, then you won’t succeed. If you say, “how can I help the community, change things, and make an impact,” then the cash will be a byproduct. That’s when success will be imminent.
Here’s what to remember to help guide yourself in the right direction when it comes to finding success as an entrepreneur:
- Put your success on the line first. Entrepreneurs who do this put more effort into their business without getting distracted by the uncertainties of making money from it. As long as you have a vision for your company, then there is no reason for you to be worried about your bottom line.
- Stop thinking working hard translates to more money. We’re used to being told that if we do the work, we’ll be rewarded. If every hard worker became rich, many more wealthy people would exist. No, the truth is that you need to work smarter in less time to spend the moments you save doing what you’re passionate about.
- Become the most valuable person in the room. I am not talking about value in dollars. If you’re passionate about creating vegan sauces, become the go-to expert on sauces. If you want to get into real estate, learn everything there is to know. Don’t push yourself until you burn out from the pressure, but don’t half-ass your passion, so someone else gets there first. You want those in your community to think, “oh, yeah [insert your name here] is the best at what they do!”
- Keep working if you have to. If you don’t have the means to give up your day job just yet, don’t do it. This doesn’t mean you’re not doing enough to reach your dream of being an entrepreneur. You can be an entrepreneur and still work for somebody else. It’s not one or the other. If working a job helps pay the bills while you figure out the logistics, keep it until you’re to go full-time.
- Stay in control. The moment you let somebody else tell you what you should be doing with your career, you open up the possibility that someone else will hold the card for your success. You can have a mentor who can guide you in the right direction, but don’t let those you don’t value try to motivate you somewhere you don’t want to go. Especially if they say, “you could make so much more money doing this instead.” You’re in control of your career and your passion.
- You’re the CEO. Whether you run a company with 50 employees or have no staff, you’re the CEO of a business. Let that drive you to feel comfortable in making decisions about your career. Reward yourself with the knowledge that you’ve achieved this title instead of waiting for the reward to come from money. Have a placard made or put a trophy saying “world’s greatest boss” on your desk if necessary. Let the knowledge of knowing you’re making a difference be what pushes you.
- Come up with a new end goal. Formulate a new end goal that isn’t simply “being rich.” If you could have one purpose to achieve in your time as an entrepreneur, what would it be? It can be to have enough left over to donate to certain charities, be able to participate in sponsored events, or expand and open a second business. If you see tangible goals, you’ll be able to see the steps needed to get there.
One key to success as an entrepreneur is finding the right balance between doing what you love and developing your business. Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who can do both at the same time. They have a passion for their business that drives them to keep on going while ensuring they are building something great that they can adapt to as the needs and demands of their customers change.
Remember, when money becomes a means to an end instead of the end itself, that’s when you find true happiness in your business.