8 tip to master in order to create impact as an entrepreneur

Businessman standing in office looking out

Succeeding as an entrepreneur in today’s competitive business world takes a lot of hard work, patience and a clear mindset. No business can achieve overnight success and the only way in which you can create impact as an entrepreneur is by having the passion to truly succeed. The internet is full of tips for entrepreneurs but for the most part, these articles talk about the same basic characteristics and tips to get started.

In this article however, we will go beyond the ordinary and we’ll be dealing with tactical and proven ways in which you can truly create impact and leave behind a legacy through your inspiring leadership.

Realize your purpose- Why you are doing what you are doing.

The best businessmen have always said that the only way to predict the future is by creating it. A lot of people in their mid thirties often have these thoughts as to what they want to do with their life. Having this sort of lack in clarity of vision can go on to waste plenty of years from your life. Every successful person who created some sort of impact in the world had a strong reason and purpose.

If you don’t understand what your purpose is, it’s time to start working on yourself right now. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What are the things that truly matter to you- Is it to help alleviate poverty, to provide better educational access or improve yourself and the community?
  • What do you think your life’s calling is? What do you think you should be doing?
  • Is there anything that gets your excited and why?
  • What are the things you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • What would you do differently in your life?
  • What’s the legacy you wish to leave behind?

These questions might seem pretty basic but once you actually ponder over it, you’ll start understanding what your purpose is so you can work towards it.

No matter what it is that you do, love it

The only thing that truly keeps a business moving towards success is passion. An entrepreneur cannot afford to be half-hearted in their efforts. Even if it means failing the first couple of times, that passion for what you do will keep driving you until you finally see the results of what you strived for. Take Abraham Lincoln, for example. He failed in most of his efforts until much later in his life but did he give up?

Nurture your main strengths 

Everyone is gifted with some special talent. Know what your key strengths and talents are so you can actually use it. Sometimes, we only come to realize our strengths when we go out of our comfort zones so don’t be afraid to take new chances. The outcome of your decisions will reveal your strengths and once you know what it is, don’t be afraid to use it. And particularly in business, it’s really important for you to work to your strengths.

Re-examine your purpose and passion

There may be times where you feel out of your zone- and that’s perfectly normal. Our own plans and the reality can contradict each other so re-visiting your purpose in one way in which you can stay on track. How often you do this will depend largely on your personality. For some, this could be by connecting with people of the same industry, for others it could attending a seminar and for others, it can be by hiring an executive coach. However, I have come to realize that the best way to re-examine your purpose and passion is by taking some time out for personal introspection. Write down your thoughts, or rather ideas on a journal and rewrite the answers to your questions. Take at least a couple of days, the weekends for example, to unplug from technology and do some personal philosophy. Trust me, it works.

Never work alone

There’s an amazing proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is the kind of mindset entrepreneurs should have where they see the world full of opportunities. So in order to actually go a long way in your goals, you can’t afford to work alone. Rather, collaborate with a team and their ideas will help shape you as a better leader and it will also allow you to build an empire that’s more substantial with a legacy.

Be a part of your team

This seems pretty elementary but unfortunately, once some entrepreneurs begin to establish their business, they start seeing themselves as above the team. This kind of an attitude will not endure because if you want to create impact as an entrepreneur, you should be very much part of the team. Great leaders are those who look out for their team before looking out for themselves. Always let your team know that you will support them no matter what so it’ll empower and inspire them to build a business legacy together. And don’t forget to always talk to your team. Keep asking them about the challenges they are facing and this will increase your confidence and credibility as a business leader.

Look for opportunities everywhere and in everything

Each time you think to yourself “I already know this” or “This isn’t something for me”, turn it around and question yourself as to how you can make it work for you. Doing this will immediately put you into a learning mindset which in turn will allow you to see opportunities in everything. Start taking this kind of an approach in your life as an entrepreneur and it will fundamentally change the way in which you approach your business life.

Live a life of service

To actually create an impact as an entrepreneur, your job doesn’t finish with your business. Go beyond you call of duty and see what you can do to help the society as well. Look at Bill Gates- even after such a massive success in his business, he was very passionate about eradicating pandemic diseases. All true leaders align their passion with a way in which they could change the world.

This is difficult- I agree- and it take a great deal of courage to have a vision to work for the community but it’ll be worth it when you leave behind a legacy that will help grow the future generation in some way. Be someone who will well and truly create an impact by building a legacy through which humanity can flourish.

WORKING MORE HOURS WILL NOT LEAD YOU TO THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

handsome hipster modern man working home using laptop

All too often, you can easily discern a soon-to-fail entrepreneur by the weary and exhausted look in their eyes. Despite covariance in the rate of startup collapses with overworked CEOs, the dilemma persists. Some are fanatical when it comes to boasting about working 60 to 80 hours a week. Their logic of building ’sweat equity’ blinds them to the sacrifices they make, for instance, their marriage, their health, their families and their social responsibilities.  What they perceive as a successful lifestyle is, in fact, a massive failure.

Let’s talk about personal fatigue

man stressed out

We humans are not designed to work for 80 hours per week, at least not in the long term. Numerous studies have shown that humans function efficiently for approximately ten hours a day and that’s only if you sleep well, eat healthy and exercise regularly. Attempting to operate for more than ten hours will have diminishing returns because it keeps you from being at your peak even for those ten functional hours.

We humans need a solid eight of hours of undisturbed sleep to rejuvenate. That leaves 16 waking hours in a day. The majority of that time is spent in physical maintenance like eating, bathing, walking and other everyday activities. Then you have t take out time from those 16 hours for family interaction and other duties and events as well as our commute time. At the end, you only have ten hours in a day to do any real work.

The only way you can do more is by either working for seven days a week or you forgo doing those things that are called life. Working for seven days a week only gets you a maximum of 20 extra hours of productivity and that’s not much. Skipping all your normal duties and activities will make you end up with no family, ignored by the community and possibly with deteriorating health.

Why entrepreneurs work too hard and push themselves too much

It’s a known fact that impatience is a universal trait of entrepreneurs. They have a vision and want to achieve it overnight. Entrepreneurs also tend to be perfectionists and pay too close an attention to the minutest of details. Between wanting the work done now and done right, they usually chose to do all of the work themselves.

But life doesn’t work that way, you don’t scale that far. Entrepreneurs start on the road to overworking themselves because they make these common mistakes:

  • They don’t prioritize- entrepreneurs have to understand that not everything is equally important. Prioritize the work and give precedence to what needs attention at first.
  • They don’t delegate- fear of others not performing their tasks the way it should be done usually causes entrepreneurs to micromanage and add other burdens to their already growing workload.
  • They don’t deal with tough things first- dread of big problems and distasteful work keeps entrepreneurs from launching important initiatives.
  • They obsess over insignificant details- entrepreneurs focus too much over the unimportant details and ignore the bigger issues that need attention.

Don’t put yourselves through undue pressure. You don’t need to be your own slave driver. 

The only people who can help overworked entrepreneurs are themselves. Only they can undo the damage. Knowing that a person’s best performance diminishes after ten hours, what entrepreneurs can aim is for working 50 hours or less each week. After all it’s preferable to work well than work hard. If entrepreneurs work efficiently for ten hours, then it beats working poorly for 20 hours.  Remember to:

  • Work smarter- it may sound cliché, but entrepreneurs have to be smart about every move they make. One excellent, well thought out decision makes everything great and one single bad decision requires a lot of hard work to undo it.
  • Redesign responsibilities- if entrepreneurs feel like they can’t keep up, then they need to redesign responsibilities accordingly because it’s possible that some work that others are supposed to be doing is landing on their desks.
  • Learn to let go- if entrepreneurs hire capable and efficient people, communicate with them their vision and the business missions, then entrepreneurs have no need to micromanage.  Entrepreneurs can let these employees do great things for them.

Common Mistakes that all Entrepreneurs should Avoid

taxmistakesinfographic

Being an Entrepreneur for more than 4 years the lessons that I have learned are countless. In the life of Entrepreneurship I would say each and every minute is a lesson. From the dawn to the day to the end of it, let it be while exercising, managing employees, planning the future expansions, meeting and networking with people and much more bring many lessons and scopes of life.

In these 4 years I made many mistakes and learnt lessons from those mistakes. I believe sharing the important mistakes I made and the lessons learnt with fellow Entrepreneurs will help them to skip certain phenomenal barriers to success.

Here are some of the important lessons of Entrepreneurship from my life.

  • When you are starting a business always make sure you have a certain amount of capital to start up. When I started the business I started with 0 capital. The problem of starting a venture with 0 or very minimal capital which is not enough to cover the operational expenses that the business is going to burn will end up in eating your revenue and gradually this will stop your business expansion. Do not let your expenses to line-up before a cash inflow comes into the business.
  • Settle all your bills on time. Do not wait until all accumulate. End of the day it becomes a huge burden on your working capital. During my early stage of business due to this I had so many issues such as disconnection of electricity supply, mobile line etc.
  • Recruit people those who are competent enough to support your goal. During your start up stage you are the employee and employer. Once you start moving from where you started you need people to manage the tasks with less supervision as you have to focus more on expansion and not day-to-day operations. Recruiting the right people at the right place becomes an integral part of start-up success. Recruiting a competent staff will cost you and bearing such overhead at the beginning stage will be problematic. Do not go for an incompetent option just because you want to lessen your overheads. During recruitment you should avoid recruiting an employee who is working on his own venture as well.  This will divert his time on work and reduce his productivity at the workplace.
  • Managing finance and accounts is always an important part of business. You should know how you are getting money and where it goes. Most companies close down at its very early stage simply because poor finance management. If you are not from finance background without any double thoughts outsource the work or recruit someone who can handle and support you. Do not think about the cost. Not doing so will cost you more in long run.
  • Exercise and keep your body and mind active. For you to work well, focus more, come up with new ideas and implement them your health is an important factor. When you are not healthy you feel down all the time which will affect the company’s performance too. Avoid junk food and eat healthy.
  • Most of us stay late and work in the nights to finish projects and complete pending works. Though this is important during your early stage sleeping at least 6 to 7 hours a day should be a must. Effectiveness of a particular day depends on your previous day’s amount of sleep too. Accumulation of less sleep and irregular lifestyle routine will impact your health in long run.
  • Associate with like minded people. There are people outside to destroy your thoughts. Always speak to people those who encourage and support you. Be connected with people who can understand your thoughts and constructively criticize, not blindly criticize your opinions and ideas.
  • Entrepreneurs get busy when they start the business and they start to withdraw from the external events and networking opportunities. Remember your main source of income would be the network you have. Even for me if I calculate the total income I earned from my network would be over 65%. Start-ups cannot afford big marketing budgets. But business referral coming through your network has 0 acquisition cost. So attend external events and build your network all the time. Be in touch with the network.
  • When starting a business most of us use to think that we can start and run a business while we are at home. In my opinion I would say it pulls everything down. Your drive and motivation to achieve something will be affected by the distractions at home. Even it will affect your personal life too which in turn will affect your productivity. Get a small space, or share an office space with someone you know. Keep your business and personal life separate.
  • Learn from mistakes. In the entrepreneurship life you make so many mistakes, that’s fine. Take those as lessons and move on, but make sure you are not repeating the mistakes again.
  • Do not mess your business life with personal life. When you are running a business you face lots of problems and issues. Always keep in mind that leaving the problems at office and joining your family members is important. A happy home makes a man more productive than anything. During early stage where you are new to the challenges it will be difficult to separate them. Gradually you will get used to it.
  • Learn to keep the problem at a distance and try to solve them. Those days I used to think about the problems in business always and even at certain times I started living with them. And I realized it never got solved. Later I started to learn to keep them away and started thinking about solutions and not about the problems. For an instance when we are in the corporate we were able to solve problems easily but not when it comes to our own business. That is mainly because if you are working for someone you know that problem is someone else’s and you think form the third person point of view where you can easily find the solution.

Life as an Entrepreneur

Challenges, sorrows, failures, disappointments, success, risks, recognition, satisfaction etc etc these words are always entangled with an entrepreneur’s life. As much as you gain you lose the same. Sometimes joys, sometimes sorrow, sometimes confusions, sometimes challenges, life is not easy as you think. When travelling in this path, after sometime if you turn back and see you will realize what you have earned as well as what you have lost.

Now I’m an entrepreneur. It’s nearly one year since I started to be on my own and just thought of writing this post today to share my difficulties and experience I underwent during this period.  I’m sure I would not have learned so much if I had worked for a company because I wouldn’t have taken such risk if I worked for someone. As an Entrepreneur I faced so many challenges and there are heaps of risks accumulated in my list. I was always willing to take challenges not only these days even when I was schooling.  I guess this life further strengthen my challenging ability.

When I was working for a company I was in two mind i.e. a year back, whether to start my own venture or not. I know the decision I’m going to take has an opportunity cost. If I continue to work on my own definitely I can earn more than what I would have been getting by working in a company per month. However I knew an entrepreneur’s life is not an easy one. I realized that always I cannot be in the safe zone. So many advices from people circled my mind. Some advised positively and many negatively. Some looked at this as an immature decision and some laughed at it. When I told I’m going to be my own, the biggest question people asked was “how you are going to survive?”. However my gut feeling didn’t allow me to keep quiet and quit my decision. I know I can make it, but the big concern I had was about my parents and my girl. Even my parents were not in favour of my decision. They told me to try and see.  Generally girls wants their guys to be in a decent job with a safe zone life. It’s rare that they want the person whom they are going to marry to be an entrepreneur at his very early stage struggling to achieve the victory.  When I told the decision to my girl, “You can, we will rock “, that was the reply she told me. All the questions I had about my decision vanished away and I started to be on my own.

After struggling for 8 months I’m a happiest person these days with the smile thinking about my company. Now I have a brand of my own. I’m not going to say I have earned money but I’m happy about the growth of my brand. I can proudly say that I’m an owner of a brand.

I never compare my life to any others. Because I know each individual’s path of journey is totally different. I know now I’m no more in the safe zone. Now I have taken my brand to a certain extent. I have clients both locally and internationally. Apart from that “Epitom” is a quite a known brand in the HR sector of Sri Lanka. Those days handling foreign clients was a nightmare to me. Because it was very difficult to understand their language. These days I feel it’s pretty easy, one thing always there in my mind, all are human. Deals are done.

I’m very grateful to my cousin because he is the one who encouraged and supported me to get in to the business with him. Now we both are in to two different fields. We both meet up regularly and discuss the progress of our brands. Though we are not partners today still we share our experiences.”friend in need is a friend in deed” this is a common saying and I realized it as 100% true because of my friend who helped me to start my journey as an entrepreneur. Also I’m thankful to my previous bosses who helped me and guided me in many occasions.

Whenever I’m disappointed and say “I’m totally fed up” I had an encouragement always. The words from my girl “Don’t worry we will rock” keep myself motivated which I feel as the real motivation exists in the word. It carries lots of value and energy. Still a long path to go and  I know I have to answer so many people who are around me but I will try my best and work hard to keep the spirit going.

Few things I would like to share with people who are thinking of start something of their own.

1-      Always keep in mind that money is not the ultimate thing, it’s the experience you earn.

2-      Try to avoid partnerships, but get good assistance and guidance from someone.

3-      Do not have second thoughts of what you are going to do.

4-      Always value your gut feeling, If it says yes for anything “GO FOR IT”.

5-      Careful about your competition, always monitor them.

6-      Hard work matters a lot, but you should believe in god too. Always start the day with a prayer.

7-      Make sure you are not away from family and friend. Be in touch with them (This I failed to do).

8-      Though you are struggling do not give up. One day you will succeed. It is always dark before dawn.

9-      Do not get discouraged by others words. Only action can win arguments. Prove them and show that they are wrong. Do not argue with others. You will lose your precious time.

10-  Always remember people helped you. Even a small help matters a lot.

11-  Do not reveal your secret to anyone. One day it might destroy you.

12-  In business you will start something and end up in some other. Thats the entrepreneurship nature. But love what you do.

13-  Take big risks, the return is always high.

14-  Manage your cash flow properly .Keep reserves for future growth.

15-  Try to attend as much as external events. It will help you one day. Create your own network. Don’t place yourself in a short circle. World is too big.

16-  If you think the negatives in your mind are beating positives try to speak to someone who encourages you. Try avoiding speaking to negative mind set people. Because their thoughts can destroy you.

17-  Listen and watch motivational videos and read articles about entrepreneurs. It will keep you in the game. That’s why people say if you want to get the real motivation speak to an entrepreneur because they are the people always motivate themselves.

18-  Give rest to mind and thought. That is important for more productive days.

19-  Pay your overheads on time, do not keep any balances.

20-  People might say “You cannot be a Bill Gates”, Even if you cannot be you can have a try. Speaking from the safe zone is always easy. Forget about them.

21-  Create a clear vision and work towards it. When you see the success the best happiest person is always “YOU”.

22-  Always look for opportunities. It’s all around you.

23-  Until you establish yourself strong enough try to do one thing at a time. Do it correctly. Do not consider too many options at once. It will diversify your effort and bring you less success.

24-  Save some cash for marketing.

25-  Never fall into debts. It will destroy your liquidity.

26-  Try to get the help from others but give the return back. If you didn’t do that then you will be stucked in the middle.

These are some key learning points I have studied during this one year. I didn’t lose any but instead I gained so much. New set of people, new pattern of thinking, new ways of implementing things, international contacts, out of box thinking, understanding of so many people, market, the taste of failures etc etc.  It’s not about money, it’s about experience which are worthy than money. In the entrepreneurship life you will lose money. Money won’t come as you expect. It will take its momentum first to get the control.

“The Secret” and “The Power” those are the two books given me the control over this life. Sometimes mind works in the negative way. If you feel so, just take a deep breath and continue your work. You will see the real different. I would recommend you all to read these books / even you can buy the movie at Liberty Plaza. Listen / read these, your world will change.

To get the outcome of your hard work it will take time. The negative thoughts might take you away from your vision. Do never give up. Walt Disney took 10 years to come up with the world loving character Micky Mouse and even he had pulled off from the company he worked for saying he is not having creativity. Steve Jobs got pulled from his own company later again he became the CEO of the business. It’s all about hard work, but in the entrepreneur life it will take some time for you to get the maximum out from the hard work.

Entrepreneurs remember one thing,

“Winner Win by pushing their limits until the limits becomes the norm

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