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10 Things You Should Do Before Becoming an Entrepreneur

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Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about building a startup and having the three letters CEO on your name card.

It requires a lot of more discipline and patience in being an entrepreneur than being an employee.Your mindset must be wired right to brace for the turbulent times when your business isn’t doing so well or when there are conflicts within your company.The following are things you should do before becoming an entrepreneur.

 

1. Learn to motivate yourself

If you rely on motivational videos to get you through the day… keep watching and start producing your very own series in your head.

You must be able to motivate yourself when you become an entrepreneur simply because the buck stops with you.

You may be able to hire workers to do most of the work for you and be a business owner, but if they aren’t self-motivated, they will look to you as a source of motivation.

The business is the reflection of its owner.

If you can’t fire yourself up during the days when you don’t feel like working or when things haven’t been performing as well you’d like, you can’t make it.

What you can do:

Find your why

Often times we do things simply because it’s what other people say it ought to be.

Why do you want to be in business? To become a millionaire?

Why do you want to become a millionaire? For freedom?

Why do you want freedom for?

The more questions you ask, the better you understand your own hidden intentions behind why you do what you do.

Identify your mission

Now that you have found your personal why, it’s time to find out your external why.

Doing things for your own interest will only carry so far.

Too often, once people hit their personal goal, they stop doing it altogether since the reason they did it in the first place was to prove to themselves that they could do it – that they had it in them.

Identifying your mission is an amazing motivator and it draws you to your goals than you pushing yourself towards it.

If your missions is to connect the world (like Mark Zuckerberg did), you will work day and night only thinking about how to solve that problem.

Did you know that Zuckerberg was offered at the age of 22 to part with Facebook for $1 billion? And he said “No” because he believed and he knew that he could make it bigger than it already is.

 

2. Save Save Save

Don’t start your business with the presumption that you will get funding right out of the gate.

It will take the right idea pitched in front of the right people at the right time to get the funding you need.

The habit that our parents told us to cultivate at an early age plays a huge role in business.

If you don’t have the habit of saving money where you can, not only will your books be in the red, the investors themselves wouldn’t be too happy with you mismanaging funds either.

The business is the reflection of its owner.

Have the habit of saving and delaying gratification before you venture out into being an entrepreneur.

What you can do:

Follow Buffett’s advice and only spend after you have saved

Most people do it backwards – they spend the money they have and only save what is left at the end of the month.

Take a portion of the amount of money you can save that you deem respectable – 30% is a good number and set it aside.

And calculate your daily budget spend.

Doing this early helps when you have to figure out profits and losses, runway and burn rates later on.

 

3. Learn how to sell

It is common knowledge that the most important skill to learn in business is sales (or persuasion).

You need to be able to communicate clearly and effective to whoever you are dealing with – be it a customer, a partner or an investor.

What you can do:

Here are a few books you can check out –

  1. Influence book by Robert Cialdini
  2. Secrets of Closing The Sale book by Zig Ziglar
  3. Straight Line Persuasion course by Jordan Belfort

 

4. Work for one

In the book, Mastery by Robert Greene, the author explained that on the path to mastery, one should be in an apprenticeship or have a mentor.

Centuries before the industrial revolution, people learned the tricks of the trade by apprenticing under masters for a contract period of 7 years. That was the norm and that was how craftsmen were born.

If you intend to become an entrepreneur, it is vital to learn from someone directly who is in your industry and has been through the same journey you are about to go on.

Work closely and shadow them.

What you can do:

If they are especially influential in your field, do spec work for them (unpaid work).

Do an unpaid internship if you have to.

Their insights and their lay of the land will help you easily cut your learning curve in half and save you lots of money in stupid mistakes most beginners make.

 

5. Network and build relationships

Your network is your net worth.

When it comes to deal flow and business development, it’s all about contacts.

In business, who you know matters a lot.

The people you meet will open doors for you and can connect you to the key people for your business – be it a partner or investor.

What you can do:

Start out by spicing up your LinkedIn profile and send invites to the people you want to meet and give a real comment on the things you saw on their profile.

Always build the relationship before you need it.

Otherwise you will appear just like every other transactional relationship.

Besides online, go to conferences and startup meetups.

While some may still prefer business cards, give them out sparingly and get their number and e-mail directly instead. If the event has a facebook page, click through and find out who are going and do homework on them as well.

Some will be impressed by your level of preparation and they will have a good impression of you.

The books I recommend on the subject are the How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

 

6. Work 80 hours a week for 24 months

That translates to about 12 hours a day 7 days week.

Your work ethic determines a whole lot of your success as an entrepreneur.

What you can do:

Start practicing it now at your current job.

If 2 years seem like a whole lot of time, try doing it for just 1 month, then 2 and then 3.

The idea is to get used to be always working and making things happen.

 

7. Learn how to research and learn fast

Speed matters in the world of business.

The ability to learn and the willingness to learn separates the successful from the unsuccessful.

Bill Gates takes a week off every 6 months just to read and reflect (he still did this during the height of Microsoft’s success, mind you).

What you can do:

Set aside time just to read up on articles or books on your industry – learn what are the current trends as well as how to fine tune your current approaches or processes to be more effective.

Put into practice what you learn and treat them as experiments with outcomes.

If an experiment fails, mark it as a different outcome as you thought. It’s not a failure, it’s a test.

Also regularly review what you done during the day and how could you have done it differently and what are your key learnings.

It is often times when we reflect on our actions that we learn from them the most.

 

8. Build an audience

The internet along with all the social networking platforms has transformed all of us users into our own media companies.

Whether you like it or not, you are a brand. Whatever you post and do online is part and parcel of your brand identity.

People who took advantage of this fact went on to become influencers – YouTube celebrities, Instagram influencers, etc.

You have the power to do the same too.

What you can do:

Start building an audience by publishing content that is near and dear to you and share it with people with similar interests.

For example, on Instagram, you can use hashtags or locations to follow other people and comment and share each other’s content.

If your method of choice is writing, start a blog or write on Medium and promote it to your social circle.

Offer to guest post on certain sites for free to get your name out there.

The point to is build a following that will be receptive to the products and services you will be offering when you become an entrepreneur.

 

9. Learn your strengths and different industries

We all have some innate inclination towards some things.

But often times we need to discover them and the only way to find out is to try.

Think back on the last time you were complimented or praised on a certain skill you possessed or something you did that got you noticed.

It may be that you have a very good voice or that you write very well.

Once you know what it is, build on them. It is better to make your strengths world class than to make your weaknesses mediocre.

Thomas Jefferson was a politician but he wasn’t a great orator so instead he chose to build on his strength – writing. The result was that he wrote the Declaration of Independence in a single draft.

Besides learning what your strengths are, learn about the different industries your strength can be an asset to.

Ask yourself:

Which industries are hot? (e.g. fintech)

Which ones pay the most for the same amount of effort? (e.g. digital marketing)

The point is to discover which sectors are the most rewarding and to seek opportunities that are coherent with your mission and your strengths as well.

 

10. Place yourself on death ground constantly

Death ground means to have your back against the wall.

We don’t get out of our comfort zone because we’d like to, we do it because we need to.

Start by placing artificial deadlines on what you need to get done.

Set realistically impossible deadlines for you to achieve.

When you become an entrepreneur, there are deadlines everywhere (competition is fierce).

Take risks and run little experiments alongside your baseline work.

Remember:

“When in development, don’t forget about stability. When in stability, don’t forget about development.”

 

***
This post was written by Ben Sim from iPrice group.

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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