f you've ever wanted to do something entrepreneurial in your life, then you'll know that the process can be ambiguous. There's no set path to success. And, if you haven't gone through the right mindset shifts, then you probably won't even recognize the opportunities that are all around you.
The issue is that so many of us have been conditioned to have thoughts and beliefs that conflict with the entrepreneurial mindset. Some of these values were instilled in us by the educational system. Others were instilled by our family, and the remainder were learned from our peers. We have been led to value what our culture values, which is rarely in line with the risk-taking and ambiguous nature of entrepreneurship.
If you want to push through the inertia and become an entrepreneur, you're going to have to go through several key mindset shifts. These are critical for equipping you with the perspective and attitude you'll need to be successful.
So, without any further introduction, let's take a look at the 5 most important mindset shifts for unlocking your entrepreneurial potential.
#1 - Live With Intention & Purpose
If you're looking to make the jump from being an employee to being an entrepreneur, you'll need to recognize that it isn't going to happen by accident. Nobody is going to knock on your door one day, offer you the perfect business on a silver platter, and teach you how to run it without any issues.
That's just not how it works.
To be successful, you're going to need to live with intention. You need to be able to set goals and overcome obstacles. You need to be able to focus.
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
- Lewis Carroll
Even before you make the jump to entrepreneurship, you can prepare yourself by acquiring the skills you will need later on. And sure, you might not know exactly what to focus on at first, but you can still ensure that you are making progress towards your vision.
You're going to need to set aside time to work on your idea. There's no way around it. Even though you can tell yourself that you will work on it "when you find the time", that is nothing more than an excuse. It distracts you from the reality that you need to take control of your life, and push your idea into existence by force.
As an entrepreneur, you can't just go with the flow. You need to make the flow, or at least steer it in the right direction. If you let your circumstances push you around, you will never run a successful business. You might start it, but you'll external circumstances will always take you off-track. Live with intention. Work with purpose.
#2 - Prioritize Education Over Entertainment
The internet is a magical place.
There's an endless amount of blog articles to read, tv shows and movies to watch, and games to play. You could spend the rest of your life watching Youtube videos and not even scratch the surface of how much content is out there.
But, if you want to become an entrepreneur and start a business, then you need to stop spending all of your free time on entertainment.
Your free time is when you need to be building your business, or acquiring the skillset that will enable you to build it later on. It's fine to spend your time on the internet, but you should have something to show for it. You should be educating yourself.
When you're running a business, nothing is ever perfect. There's always another client to pursue, another product to release, and another area to expand to. Even giant companies like Amazon and Wal-mart are still spending billions of dollars on expanding their businesses to new categories and new locations. They do this because they understand that companies are either growing or dying, and they would rather grow.
As an entrepreneur, you are the engine of your business. Unless you have already put systems in place, your business will not move in the right direction without you steering it there.
In the beginning, you'll need to learn the tools of the trade, and how to manage yourself. As your company grows, you'll need to learn how to put systems in place, and how to manage others. And, as your company continues to mature, you'll need to put in place infrastructure to help your company sustain itself as a separate entity from you.
All of this is to say that while there will be some free time eventually, you initially need to be focusing on educating yourself rather than entertaining yourself.
There's work to be done.
#3 - Adopt A Growth Mindset
As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to spot opportunities. You need to recognize that just because something is a certain way does not mean that it needs to stay that way. One of the most important mindset shifts comes from adopting a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is what enables people to visualize the future. It's the belief that you can get where you are trying to go with hard work over time. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and it's okay to start small.
When you are starting a company, it probably won't be everything you want it to be right from the beginning. Jeff Bezos didn't start off with a billion dollars in funding, building the Amazon we know today. He started off in his garage with a website that sold books. But, he kept reinvesting the profits into the business, and now Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, selling anything they can get their hands on.
As an entrepreneur, growth isn't just possible - it's necessary. You'll need to be able to adapt to challenging circumstances, regulations, and so much more. So, get used to starting small, and don't let obstacles deter you.
The only way to run a marathon is to run one mile at a time.
#4 - Recognize That Time Is More Valuable Than Money
As an entrepreneur, you're going to have two main resources to play with — your time, and your money. While most people are very concerned with how they spend their money, successful entrepreneurs are much more protective of their time.
Most people are quick to give up their time in exchange for money but hesitate to give up their money in exchange for more time. To this day, I still know people that would rather spend 20-30 minutes driving across the city to fill up on gas at a cheaper station. Although this can seem like a good idea at the time, you're choosing to give up your precious time to save a few dollars. Isn't your time worth more than that? Plus, the risk of an accident is higher due to the long drive, and it puts more wear on your car. Unless you derive some sort of satisfaction from it, you're much better off spending your money to free up your time.
Would you rather have a job that paid you $40,000/year to work 15 hours per week, or a job that paid you $100,000/year to work 70 hours per week? Although everyone would rather have the latter salary, the first job values your time much higher than the second (approximately $51/hour vs $27/hour). The first job would allow you to live a more relaxed lifestyle, spend more time with friends and family, and free up your time to build other income sources. The second job would have you working 11.5 hours a day for six days out of the week. How's that for a work-life balance?
All of this is to say that while money can definitely be a scarce resource, there is nothing more scarce than time. Instead of looking for ways to trade their time for money, entrepreneurs need to look at how spending their money can free up their time. This can come in the form of innovation, automation, or delegation, but there needs to be some sort of a system in place if you're going to scale the business.
This is one of the most fruitful mindset shifts you can go through. As an entrepreneur, time is your scarcest resource. Learn how to use the time of others to get your tasks done, and you will have discovered the secret to scaling quickly.
#5 - Develop A Mindset of Abundance
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to do some traveling with my family, and one of the places we visited was Guatemala.
While there, I witnessed some of the most intense poverty I've ever witnessed. People were living in shacks made of wood and corrugated steel, but this didn't stop them from treating us kindly. In fact, they were some of the most hospitable people I've ever met. Even though they didn't have much, they were willing to share with strangers.
Abundance plays a crucial role in influencing our attitude. When you have an abundance mindset, you are naturally more grateful and attractive to those around you. Let me explain how it all works.
If you decide what you have is enough, or more than enough, then you will instantly become more relaxed. You can give generously without worrying, and this self-assuredness will likely be perceived as charming. After all, you wouldn't be able to be so sure of yourself and your resources if you didn't have what you needed.
On the other hand, if you live in a mindset of scarcity, then you are inviting fear into your life. You'll never have enough money, enough friends, or enough anything, because a scarcity mindset doesn't disappear with wealth. This lack of gratitude will scar all of your interactions. Instead of being generous, you will be stingy, thinking that you need to protect what you have. Instead of thinking about how to give, you'll spend your time thinking about how to take. This attitude can lead people to view you as insecure, jealous, or even greedy.
"You attract what you are, not what you want"
If you are in a mindset of abundance, you will attract others who are too. You will be invited to join the ranks of generous and wealthy people because they can sense that they can trust you.
If you are in a mindset of scarcity, the same principle applies. You will attract other people in scarcity, because people in abundance don't like to hang out with people in scarcity. All they do is take, take, take.
Living in a state of abundance is one of the most important mindset shifts you can go through, and it can drastically improve your chances of being a successful entrepreneur.