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ENTREPRENEUR ADVICE: THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND SUCCESSFUL START-UPS

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Entrepreneur Advice

You’ve binge-watched the latest Series of Celebrity Apprentice.  Sat at your office desk staring out the window, daydreaming of being your own boss.  You tell friends that “one day” you’ll work for yourself and enjoy the fruits of achievement that come with a successful entrepreneurial start-up.  So, what’s stopping you?  Perhaps you’re seeking a bit more entrepreneur advice before making the leap?

In this article, we take a deep dive into the inner recesses of the entrepreneurial psyche to see what might be a barrier for you in terms of making the leap from employee to employer. I will also discuss the initial steps I took when setting up the successful company I built.  We’ll cover three manageable steps you can take to encourage a can-do mindset that equips you to make your fantasy a reality.  Dream no more, let’s get started!

Key Entrepreneur Advice for New Entrepreneurs

Best Entrepreneur Advice for New Treps

Self-Awareness:  Getting in Touch with Your Why

The Ancient Greek Philosopher, Socrates, famously said “to know thyself is the beginning of all wisdom”.  And Shakespeare has Hamlet utter the advice “this above all: to thine own self be true”.   The idea of knowing what makes you tick, what works, what motivates you into action is a really helpful self-analysis tool that can help you firm up what you want and where you are heading in terms of any successful entrepreneurial start-up.  Knowing your values makes it a lot easier to stick to them, and use them as a guiding and motivating force in decision making and next steps. 

British American author, Simon Sineck, advises starting with “why?”  That is, begin with getting a clear understanding of what psychologically motivates you.  What are your own values? Your belief systems? Your hopes? Fears?  What does success mean to YOU?  

Once you have a better sense of your own “why?”, the what? and the how? seem to fall into place with greater ease.   So, tip #1 is to journal, reflect, contemplate on what your why is?  Why do you feel drawn towards a particular start-up idea or entrepreneurial opportunity?  Get in touch with your why? to foster a mindset and passion that makes a successful start-up a more viable option. 

The Wisdom of the Middle

Any successful entrepreneur finds themselves somewhere between the continuum of get-rich-quick and slow-and-steady.  Ambition versus caution.  Of course, how comfortable you feel at various points on that continuum will, in part, depend on your own relationship to risk. 

Some of us are more comfortable than others in taking leaps into the unknown and striking out into unchartered territory.  Yet, all or nothing thinking can lead to feelings of apprehension and anxiety: sensations and emotions that act as very effective barriers to taking action. 

Past experience tells us there is a wisdom to choosing the middle way.  To find the happy medium.  The middle way is not a new concept:  the ancient religion of Buddhism proposes finding balance between extremes, and the Ancient Greek myth of Icarus teaches us it’s foolish hubris to fly too close to the sun, or the sea, lest we meet a sticky end. 

So, how does that translate into a mindset of a successful start-up entrepreneur? There’s a balance to be had between looking for rapid short-term growth and income and facing an order book where demand outstrips resources.  A balance between an out-of-this-world salary and re-investing every cent back into the emerging successful start-up.  When it comes to remote start-ups, there’s a balance between micro-managing on the ground via constant communication and abandoning managers to get on with it without checking in with you.  

Adopting a psychological mindset of the middle way allows you to find a way to steer through the decision making of those challenging early months of any start-up, and managing the anxiety of new ventures.  To find ways to motivate and encourage quality service, profit and results without working yourself to death. 

Technology is a fantastic resource to equip this middle way thinking:  technology allows for streamlined and cost-effective systems that gather data and feedback and communicate essentials without intrusive interference.  It may be an ancient concept, but the middle way is a smart psychological choice for successful steps forward with any 2021 remote start-up.  So, tip #2 is to let the middle way change your all or nothing thinking and action for a successful start-up.   

Avoid the Belief that You are Your Business.

It can be easy to begin to think of any entrepreneurial start-up as an actual extension of our own being.  If you are investing your own time and money in getting a start-up off the ground, you are going to be emotionally connected to that business.  You may even begin to think of your start-up as your “baby”. 

Whilst such commitment and passion to the cause can be the dynamism that drives your dreams, there is also a risk that you become so personally and emotionally invested that you no longer see the wood for the trees.  You no longer see that you and your business are not one and the same thing.  Where’s the danger here?  Well, when setback, or tricky decisions come along, there’s a temptation to take it personally so that the setback becomes a self-attack.

Consider adopting a psychological mindset that allows for some level of detachment.  Take time to switch off, time when you are no longer “entrepreneur owner”, but simply (and gloriously!) Mum, partner, friend – whatever works for you.  Foster some interests outside of your start-up world.  Using automated technology can take some of the strain from business communication freeing you for some time away from the business. 

Additionally, you can make use of tech to allow for objective decision making that feels less about emotional navigation and more about smooth, neutral and non-personal choices.  For example, technology can gather data about customer satisfaction levels and employee output.  This will give you a solid foundation to make informed decisions about who to promote and reward and who to intervene with. 

Yes, your successful start-up is your baby, but you can be the responsible adult who takes control and makes clear and calm decisions.  Your business is not you.  So, tip #3?  Remember the distinction between you and your business.  Aim for a healthy balance between personal investment and detachment.  And don’t take it too personally.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, entrepreneur advice that can get you off the sidelines and successfully into the game of entrepreneurship.

So, whether you are in the early stages of wondering if you’ve made it to the heady heights of start-up success, or you’re still pondering if you should go all in; consider implementing these three psychologically informed entrepreneurship tips can support you in adopting a winner’s mindset to make your dream of a sustainable start-up a reality.

Till next time,

STRIVE 

PS – If you enjoyed the solid entrepreneur advice in this article, then you’ll love these other amazing articles that will support you in your entrepreneurial journey:

Will Cotter is the COO of HappyCleans, a successful cleaning service start-up based out of Oklahoma City. Will oversees all aspects of the business’s operations and is continuously searching for ways to improve how the business functions on a daily basis.

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