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The four step guide to successful entrepreneurship.

Updated on August 19, 2013

Let's go with it!


I am one of the many!

I am one of the many that dream about his or hers own company, where one would have no boss and follow one owns rules. But dreaming about company and actually starting one are different things. Making your business profitable and growing it into large enterprise is different. But you can't even think about being technology mogul or industry tycoon without starting small and thriving business. I've red a lot of business books and learned a lot of theory and I have a plan - I will work extra 4 hours every day building my small software or online business next to my day job. But somehow I couldn't understand why I don't have the power to do that. After few weeks I stopped doing everything until I found something new and interesting. Finally I realized my mental block, but before that something happened.

Quick roadmap.

How to be successful in business and life? Check this quick roadmap, then read the whole story:

  • Be patient - learn how to stick with whatever you want to accomplish. Don't change up your mind too quickly. Practice sport to learn concentration, persistence and keep physical and mental health.
  • Believe in yourself - believe in what you can accomplish and what you can learn. Read stories of other people and get inspired by them. Sport also can boost your self-esteem, as well as learning other languages or helping others in charity.
  • Find the right idea - there are a lot of good ideas and a few bad ideas, but you must find the right for you. You must believe in your idea and feel excited by it. Make a quick market research to find out if the idea is good. If you are start-up or "running lean" and market research would take too much time then create quick prototype (or MVP - minimal viable product) and test the market.
  • Change your habit to be more productive - change your daily routine and develop habits to be more productive, more relaxed and think like a business tycoon. Stop watching "Lost" or "TV soap operas" and change the way how you spend your free time.

The way of concentration and persistence.

I was really tired. I've come home after 8 hours of work. I didn't do that much to feel so tired - I was working as a Business Intelligence Consultant in software company. After so many years the job was quite easy. I think that I was bored. This job took all the energy that I had when I woke up in the morning. For the worse - my head ached because of air conditioning. Once again I was thinking about my own company, but I didn't go beyond thinking. What's worse I was starting to get a little bit frustrated, nervous and put on some weight. I had to do something with my life soon. When I was laying and thinking about it, I tried to remember what I was doing to be happy when I was a kid. Apart from playing computer games most of my time I've spent outside playing soccer, basketball or doing some other activity. I don't like resting - I have to be on the move. I sit all day at a desk and I come back home tired? At least I have to give my body a reason to be tired. But team sports was not a good idea - you have to call your friends and they would come or not. You can't put it in your schedule that 3 times a week you play soccer - it won't work. Still I was always interested in martial arts. This was something I wanted to learn when I was a kid, youth or adult and when it comes to martial arts Chinese Kung Fu is what I respected the most. Fortunately the only Kung Fu school in Lublin, that has a connection with Chinese master was Yang Martial Arts Association teaching Yang form of Tai Chi, so I was destined to start there.

Tai Chi could appear as a strange martial art for someone who learns Karate, Mui Tai or Taekwondo. Slow moves, practically no fighting for first years and some weird movements that seem to have nothing to do with punching or kicking. Truth is that many people quit after few weeks and most people quit after few months. It's not for everyone because it does not look like fighting. But I wanted to know a secret of it. I watched a lot of Youtube videos about Tai Chi and I wanted to know how this guys look so well and move so graceful. At least the people were nice, my wife loves this new activity (I took her to the classes with me) and I was moving. All the frustration, anger was removed by being active and being tired after the training. I was willing to try for at least a year.

After a year I was hooked. I started to understand that these trainings help me concentrate outside the gym. My body felt strong and I wasn't so tired all the time. Next year I took every class I could and I really progressed in my performance. But what's more important I've learned another lesson - the most important lesson that I have learned in my whole life.

If you really want to achieve something you can't quit.

The beginnings are hard, as you don't understand a lot of things. You don't know how to do things, what to do and when you seen no effect - you quit! These first months are the hardest and you need to learn and understand a lot of stuff. But later it gets really interesting. Give yourself a chance and don't quit at the beginning. Be persistence and you will succeed.

I was thinking about my company again and I didn't want to quit. But I still missed something, because I couldn't get the work done. Armed with new mindset I started to analyse myself once again. All the answers ware there...

Learning something difficult helps you in many ways.

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"Can do" attitude - boost your self-esteem and believe in your dreams

I've read many books about business and entrepreneurship, but it seemed that I was skipping the most important chapters. With new mindset that I have developed when learning Tai Chi, I've noticed that there is a lot to learn. I wanted to know what makes some people succesful and the others fail, so I started watching "Dragon's Den" and "Shark's Tank". I've noticed one thing - they always call the shots. They do that because they have proven themselves and they believe in their abilities to do business. Of course, they are millionaires, so it seems easier for them to have high self-esteem. But I think, that it's the other way round.

In both of those TV shows people justify their lack of sales with words - "I'm not a salesmen", "I have no connections" or "I'm not good in that". They admit that they didn't even try because they didn't believe in themselves and in the product they created. The fear took control over their thoughts and sabotaged their every move, every decision, every chance. They often start to procrastinate, they seek excuses and their work is not efficient. Even when they truly want to do something,their productivity goes down if they don't believe that they can deliver. Our brain tell's us that there is no point in trying if you know that you would fail.

I've got this block myself. I knew that I am no salesmen, website designer, skilled manager or programmer. I didn't even try to do things. I've got the same feeling sometimes after Tai Chi training - when nothing works and I think to myself "I would never learn that". But then I go to the beginners classes and everything has changed! I see people making the same mistakes as I did two years ago, I try to help them and show them how things work. I've realized that I understand a lot and the beginniners classes are quite easy for me, when they are still hard for newcomers. And I think to myself -

"Isn't that true with everything I know, that at the beginning it was very hard but when I've learned the basics then those thing were easy as pie".

From this day I stopped doubting myself and if the subject is hard I learn even harder. I truly believe that you can learn everything, it's just the matter of how long it would take. But building a successful enterprise is a marathon, not a sprint so you would be surprised by the number of things that you don't know, things that you would learn and thing that wouldn't be so scary as they seem now.

I recommend that you look at your hobbies and achievements so far (both professional and personal). How far have you gone so far? Was it hard? How did you keep motivation factor up? Do you think that's easy and for everyone? Why don't all other ordinary people do it or do it as good?

Take swimming for example. You can say - "Everybody can learn how to swim". So how is it that not everybody can swim? Few centuries ago people thought that reading is hard. Believe that you can, combine this believe with persistence (advice number one) and you would learn everything you ever dreamed of.

It's hard to find profitable ideas that are right for you. Keep your eyes open.


Find the right idea for you.

Now - it was time to take action. Screwing around wouldn't help - the same goes with talking or whining. I needed to do something at this point. In that moment I believed in myself and this was the best and most productive moment for me. Just to start something and keep going. I started with a website. It wasn't very original idea, but hey.. I was on the roll and I need to do something with my energy. I started and was learning new things on the way- practising object oriented programming, learning HTML5, Javascript, internet marketing and "stuff". Then I had call from my friend. I was always talking with him about my own business and he wanted to have his as well. I picked up the phone:

- Hello

- Chris, I have this idea...

We've met a few times and talked about his idea. That was it. It was far better than what I was in - I liked the idea, I liked my part in this project. I still wasn't sure how we'd do it or if that's good idea, but we had to write a project in two weeks to get money from government. There was a government program for start-up companies in Poland. We decided we'd give it a try - money is money, right? We made SWOT analysis and then came the enlightening - this idea was very, very good. If we didn't believe before that we can do money on this, now we are quite sure. As we wrote this "business plan" we became more and more sure that we wanted to do this project - with or without seed money from government. We had quite a lot of ideas before, but we didn't go after any of them. Now we've found the idea right for us.

If you want to be successful you have to find one yourself - the idea right for you. Only with the right idea you would have power to proceed, and believe me it would be hard sometimes. You have to believe in your project - that it would make money, that it's worth doing. You would have to go around many problems, many questions would rise up and so will solutions for these problems, so you would have to make many decisions. You don't need to have all the answers, you don't have to write whole business plan, but you have to know that the idea is real. You have to estimate cost needed for prototype (or Minimal Viable Product as they call it now) and be ready to pay it. By cost I mean money, time and other things you have to sacrifice to keep the project running. But hey - I though you wanted to be entrepreneurs and that's not an easy job. So do as much analysis as you feel you have to do - not too much, but not an inch less. Once you are committed to go - just go. If you don't have the right idea - go with what you have, but try to keep cost very, very low - do it at home, in your free time. And keep your eyes open on opportunies - there is a possibility that your "not so good idea" would take a pivot and turn into new great idea - just like it was with facebook.

Frankly - I don't have the recipe for creating great ideas. But I know two things:

  • it's better to do something than nothing - at least you would learn something
  • before you put a lot of money into something you better be damn sure it's worth it

To make your dreams happen you have to act. But don't act without basic plan and calculations. Your partner wouldn't be happy if you take $200k loan for "next awsome iPhone photo app".

Business is similar to poker. You bet on the best hand and make a call - or pass.


Change your habit to be more productive and think like business tycoon.

Nowadays most people are running on habits (or scripts as I call it) and most of those habits are wasting your time. We come back home and watch TV, read newspaper, play videogames drink or "do nothing" a little bit to often. Everybody needs to relax, but when you do that you can do it in more or less productive way. Go for a walk, play with kids or read a book. Use it as a award for a job well done, be concentrated on that one activity and you don't need a lot of time to recharge your batteries. I guarantee that you would enjoy you little quality time and learn something in the process.

If changing key habit has helped people like Paul O'neill or Michael Pheplps to succeed, then there is definitely something in it, right?

Make entrepreneurship your habit.

You need to make entrepreneurship your habit - think and act like real businessman or businesswoman. You ever wondered why it's easier to build a successful company for people who's parents are entrepreneurs or for people who have built one or two companies already. One thing is the knowledge - you can get that in books, forums and from mentors. The other is experience - that you have to learn in progress. But the last thing is a habit to think about opportunities, risks and chances. A habit to calculate profit and loses. Especially serial entrepreneurs, like those from "Dragon's Den" or "Shark's Tank", have a special mindset. Try to develop this kind of mindset and habit by playing poker, chess or other games where you put "game theory" (in mathematical sense) into practice.

Just remember that sometimes it's not about profit or lose, but about rules. But when we're talking strictly business, then you can't go wrong with calculating "Return on investment" habit.


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