Do you want to develop an entrepreneurial mindset?
Great, this article is for you.
Let’s start by dispelling a common myth about successful entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are NOT born.
They are driven to it. And this same drive enables them to do what is necessary to be an entrepreneur.
If you have ever had a feeling in the pit of your stomach — that you are meant to do something bigger, more meaningful, and all yours — you are an entrepreneur. You just need to learn to think like an entrepreneur.
You simply need to harness your entrepreneurial mindset.
Don’t worry, this article will help you do just that.
What is an entrepreneurial mindset?
Entrepreneurial mindset: a way of thinking that enables you to overcome challenges, be decisive, and accept responsibility for your outcomes. It is a constant need to improve your skills, learn from your mistakes, and take continuous action on your ideas. Anyone willing to do the work can develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
How to develop an entrepreneurial mindset
You can work towards starting a business and earning passive income without quitting your job, without knowing how to code, and without a million-dollar idea. Having a proven online business model helps, too.
The biggest killer of the entrepreneurial mindset is not what you would expect.
It’s not failure, the economy, or bad ideas.
It’s doubt – in ourselves, our surroundings, and our abilities.
Self-doubt kills many dreams, long before any external factors can come into play.
Learn to master your inner game
Most people are afraid to start pursuing their dreams.
Or if they do start, they turn back at the first signs of struggle, convinced they don’t have what it takes.
This is why your thinking is so important to get right in the beginning.
Being an entrepreneur starts with that feeling inside you – that entrepreneurial spirit you need to nourish and hone.
Whether you are an employee looking to level up your career, a 9-to-5 worker exploring how to become a freelancer, or become a founder and CEO of your own company– when you master the entrepreneur mindset, you will begin to accomplish more goals than you ever imagined.
Entrepreneurial mindset: 5 characteristics of entrepreneurship
Yes, as humans we are all unique. Yet, there are definite qualities of an entrepreneur – ways we tend to think and act.
Although there is no entrepreneurial gene we are either born with or not. I know for a fact that successful entrepreneurs think and act in similar ways — no matter how different we are as individuals – they think like entrepreneurs.
Some entrepreneurs want to change the world. Others simply want to make money online and provide a better life for themselves and their families. Some of us want to do both.
While spending the last 15 years in business myself, reading business books to study entrepreneurs, and interviewing 483 of them for the podcast — I’ve boiled down these conversations to five characteristics that all successful entrepreneurs have.
Here are the five characteristics of entrepreneurship:
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you must gain the ability to look at a problem or situation, digest all available data (at that point in time), and make a confident decision to move forward.
Your ability as a decision-maker will make or break your future successes.
In fact, at the opposite end, indecision is one of the greatest causes of business failure.
When you can’t decide what to do, you delay taking action. In other words, you do nothing. Think about how many dreams (and businesses) failing to take action has killed.
Like many other skills an entrepreneur needs, being decisive is a skill that can (and should) be practiced and strengthened in your day to day life — starting with the tiniest decisions.
The entrepreneurial mindset in action: Sandwich or salad?
For example, the next time you are out for lunch at a restaurant, scan the menu once and decide what to order. And do it confidently.
This can seem trivial or unnecessary, but it absolutely isn’t.
Being decisive takes practice to master and it begins with small decisions in the business of daily life.
From here you can build on your decisiveness and begin to use it in bigger and bigger ways.
There are many skills you will need to learn to accomplish everything you want in life.
But how do you act confidently when you don’t know what you are doing?
You learn to act with confidence, the second characteristic of the entrepreneurial mindset. And one the of the most important qualities of an entrepreneur.
It is essential that you get used to the uncomfortable feeling of knowing that you don't know what you’re doing.
Whether it's getting on stage to speak, launching your product, or learning how to start a blog and publishing your ideas to the world, we tend to see others doing it and incorrectly assume they've always been good at it.
They weren't born knowing how to speak confidently, launch successful products, or write excellent books. They also weren't born knowing how to become entrepreneurs.
They learned and we can, too.
The difference between appearing good or bad at something is often a matter of acting confidently.
The entrepreneurial mindset in action: Pretend you know what you’re doing
For example, here’s how to become more confident, right now …
Looking confident, practiced, and skilled is what we admire in others. But looking confident and being confident are two different things. Seriously.
Acting confident while getting on stage to give a speech to a packed room, even when your hands are violently shaking, is essential to learn the art of public speaking.
This works with everything. Here’s what I mean.
- Do you want to be a podcaster? Start podcasting.
- Do you want to become a professional chef? Start cooking.
- Do you want to be a copywriter? Start writing sales pages that convert.
- Do you have side hustle ideas you want to start? Stop watching Netflix every night.
- Do you want to learn email marketing? Start building your email list today.
Pretending you are good at something will enable you to do it confidently enough times until you become good at it.
The more you do this, the better you will become. It’s counterintuitive, but it works every time. And if you aren't quite ready to take this leap, here are some motivational quotes to kick you in the ass.
The entrepreneurial mindset comes from taking responsibility for your actions and outcomes.
You need to internalize and accept that:
- Everything that happens at work – YOU are responsible for.
- Everything that happens to your business – YOU are responsible for.
- Whether you succeed or fail, it is YOUR responsibility.
From this moment forward, you must accept responsibility for everything in your life and hold yourself accountable to it.
Sorry to tell you, but nobody cares how little time, money, or external support you have to accomplish your goals. Your circumstances may not be your fault, but they are your responsibility.
All that matters is what you are doing RIGHT NOW to find your success.
There are no more excuses. Accountability is required of entrepreneurs as well as successful employees. Stop passing the buck and blaming others.
Hold yourself accountable – even when you aren’t to blame – and take action to fix the problem.
The entrepreneurial mindset requires you to take complete control and hold yourself accountable to your outcomes – both good and bad. As James Altucher said on the podcast, life is a sentence of failures punctuated with brief successes.
As an entrepreneur, you will need to learn to deal with making mistakes and failing. They are inevitable and a part of your growth.
If every misstep plummets you into self-doubt, you have to change the way you look at being wrong.
This mindset shift takes resilience and is foundational to the entrepreneurial mindset.
Success rarely happens in a straight line. Taking wrong turns and making mistakes is something that happens to everyone.
“The only people who don’t make mistakes are the ones who don’t do anything.”
– My Dad to me a hundred times as a kid.
Resilience isn’t only helpful when dealing with catastrophic mistakes. It’s a way to handle the small, simple decisions you’ve made that didn’t turn out right.
Resilience enables you to think, act, and move iteratively — making small, incremental corrections along the way.
The entrepreneurial mindset in action: The wind-blown pilot
For example, imagine you are the pilot of a plane taking off from Miami and heading north to Boston.
With the Atlantic Ocean on the right, there’s bound to be a strong wind pushing it westward (or to the left).
As the pilot, you set a trajectory north to Boston upon departure. Yet with the wind blowing, you are beginning to get slightly off course.
Do you keep plowing ahead as planned and end up in Chicago instead?
Or do you continually and incrementally correct your course against the wind and turbulence?
The answer is obvious. You need to constantly correct against external forces, or you will never reach your destination.
You need to be resilient to change and keep pushing ahead no matter what may try and knock you off course.
There is no straight line to where you are going.
Humility is freedom from pride or arrogance, and it ties all of the characteristics of entrepreneurship.
From decisiveness to confidence, humility will keep you focused and centered.
From accountability to resilience, you will continue to move forward through failure, mistakes, and upsets.
This is accomplished with humility.
“If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.”
– Someone smarter than me.
Along with humility comes coachability — the ability to be coached.
If you want to accomplish big things in life, you need to be willing to learn from others and nourish a growth mindset.
To do big things, you need to grow. To grow, you need to learn.
No matter what you are trying to accomplish, someone already has done it before you.
Thinking like an entrepreneur means seeking out mentors and coaches who have been where you are trying to go — and having the humility to accept their guidance.
Take the next step towards developing your entrepreneurial mindset
There are so many misconceptions around entrepreneurship and starting a business, it’s no wonder there is so much doubt (and so little confidence).
A few common misconceptions that need to be dispelled are:
- Entrepreneurs are born hustlers
- You need a unique (and revolutionary) idea to be successful
- Starting an online business requires technical skills
- You can’t succeed without full-time effort
To be clear, mastering your entrepreneurial mindset is not easy. Nobody said it was.
The most important thing is to start by following a proven formula.
You need to go into this journey knowing you can get past any obstacle that comes up — because you can and will.
If you’re not positive you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, take a look at our Entrepreneurial Mindset Course: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur.
We created this course by interviewing 483 successful entrepreneurs to learn how they thought about life, business, and success.
This course shows you how to use the right mindset, growth habits, and resilience to reach your goal of launching your online business idea and living the life you want.