It seems to me that there are too many people out in this world with big dreams, and even larger aspirations, that have no idea how to fail. Failure is important, no matter how strange that sounds. It can be your greatest teacher, and learning tool.
In business, and in life, you should digest knowledge from every failure, big or small. Learn to push on through them until you reach your ultimate goal (whatever that may be). It is what can truly make you stronger in the end.
So many of us set out with one thing in mind, and that is to do something great. We go, go, go, hustle, hustle, hustle, until that first tough defeat drops anchor on us, and boom. We’re gone. What do you learn from this? Nothing, except the fact that you can’t handle defeat, which means you can never achieve the success you truly desire.
One of the biggest reasons learning from our failures is so vital to success, is because of what we actually acquire from within ourselves. We learn whether or not we are cut out for the tough times, because regardless of who we are, we will all endure tough times along the way. If we can weather the storms, and get through our failures, in life or business, the knowledge we can access is endless.
We can go to school, we can read books, we can research, we can even learn from the experts, I mean there are truly limitless amounts of ways for us to assimilate knowledge at every corner. But the one thing that can teach us more than any book, or any expert, is our failures. They show you who you are, by challenging you.
When you hit that brick wall in the road on your way to success, what are you going to do?
Are you going to say, “Hey, I tried hard, and I did what I could, but it just didn’t work out”
Or are you going to learn from whatever it is that caused you to falter, pick your head up, and keep pushing on?
The answer to this question is simply the difference between entrepreneurs and not’repreneurs. A true entrepreneur, young or old, never considers the former. The latter is the only option.
Are you the guy with the million dollar idea so great that it’s just begging to spew from out of your ears? Let me guess, it just stays there though, because you just don’t “think” you have the funds to support it? Well if you are a true entrepreneur at heart, and have the true spirit, it’s time you just buckle down, scratch, crawl, hustle, and learn how to be an entrepreneur who “balls out on a budget.”
There are a few things you need to know about “Ballin’ On A Budget” as an Entrepreneur. First, learn how to bootstrap your business, or business idea, it will save you money in the end, and teach more than you could ever imagine. Second, you must, must, must learn how to save your money, and spend your cash wisely. Cash is king, and you need to respect that. Third, take calculated risks in order to take you business to the next level.
Bootstrapping a business is basically just funding and or financing your business solely on your own. You can finance it with the money you bring in from your new customers, or you can outsource your bootstrappin’ and finance it with an outside income of your own. Like some kind of dreadful 9 to 5 (that one is rough). It’s basically just “pulling your self up by your owe two bootstraps,” if you will. It can be both financially, and emotionally rewarding, if done right.
If you don’t have any outside investors, or a fat sum of cake set aside for your new-found business, or venture, then you will need to bootstrap it, there is just no way around it. I highly recommend this tactic, over waiting, and waiting to find the right investor. Your time will be spent much more wisely bootstrapping it on your own, rather than waiting for outside cheese. If said investor ever does come along, it would be nice to have bootstrapped the business yourself until that point. Most likely, after funding it yourself for an extended period of time, you will realize that you don’t want, nor need any outside investors, or partners.
Saving money is another important aspect of “Ballin’ On A Budget” for an entrepreneur. Actually, it’s vital. You never know when you will need cash, and you never know when your business is going to take a beating. There are so many variables that come into play when becoming successful, and one of them is being able to stay afloat in the event a storm hits.
Saving money is something that most of us entrepreneurs will learn on our own in the beginning anyway, especially if you are bootstrapping. You will realize quickly how important cash is, for both your business, and your livelihood. Saving cash is a good way to show it respect, and yes, your money deserves your respect. Save, save, save all you can. It’s a wonderful asset to learn and practice. The time will come when you will be thankful.
Taking calculated risks is another huge part of learning how to “Ball out on a budget.” It would be nice for me to tell you that you can just bootstrap, and save your way all the way to entrepreneur success and stardom, but that is simply not true. You must, at times, take calculated risks. With both your business, and your money.
Without risks, there are no true rewards. When I say risks, that means a lot as well. When starting a business, you risk your time, you risk your reputation, and you risk your money. So by starting a business, you are already taking a risk, so deep down you have it in you.
You could, theoretically, keep your head above water, and stay afloat with your business for an extended period of time without too many risks, but that’s all you will ever be. Just a company on the fence. If you want to take your business to the next level, the time will come where you need to take a risk, and you need to prepare yourself for pulling the trigger. Don’t get lost in the pack.
Are You An Entrepreneur, Or A Notrepreneur?
- Do you think of your self as non-creative?
- Are you easily set on edge?
- Do you have trouble saving money?
- Does taking risks make you uneasy?
- Are you a better follower than leader?
If you have all, or even a few of these traits, and you are thinking about venturing out to be in business for yourself, or attempting to dip your feet in the entrepreneur pool, you might want to reevaluate your thought process. Being an entrepreneur, or small business owner might seem easy, care free, and “the life” from the outside, but trust me, that’s not always the case. Some are built for it, and others just aren’t cut out.
Creativity is such a large part of owning your own business, that without it, it’s extremely hard to survive. There’s an abundance of competition in almost every field you could imagine, without the creativity to stand out from the rest. You will just get lost in the shuffle.
Living as an entrepreneur, or a small business owner of any kind, means you have an assemblage of time on edge. Things aren’t always going to go your way, and things aren’t always going to go smooth. In order to be a successful business owner, you must be able to keep your cool, and handle pressure. If you crack, so does your business.
“Cash is King,” and it’s that simple. If you have difficulty saving, or storing money, then how in the world do you expect to keep a business up and running? Things wont always be so nice and gravy, times will get tough, and you will need something to fall back on. Without cash, without savings, you will not survive. If you plan on borrowing everything in times of crisis good luck, your, not the government.
Taking risks means, at times you will fail, it’s just part of the game. This is where most people fall by the waste side, and go back to their comfy cubicles, where they can take orders from others. Taking risks is hard for anyone, but for entrepreneurs, it’s essential, and the ones that can’t handle it, wont last. There are risks, that have to be taken at times, there is no way around it.
In any situation, in any group of people, if you ALWAYS feel most comfortable following, opposed to leading. Don’t even try. Leading is single most important trait of being an entrepreneur. You have, and must be able to lead people, and convince people of your product, service, or values. No follower, can make it as an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, or a small business owner, you are the boss, and no one else, there is no one for you to follow, you must make your own decisions. Followers will always just wonder into the abyss when not lead by others.
I was reading a wonderful little article I stumble across on Jumpstartinc.org, it was about “Being Loyal To Your Cash”. The article goes on to talk about a professor asking a classroom full of highly educated, entrepreneurs to-be, the question “what makes early-stage businesses fail?” I found it hilarious, because, I myself would be thought of in most corners, as highly un-educated because of my lack of higher education after high school, but ironically this question was as clear as day to me. Mainly because I have been there, and I live the entrepreneur life everyday.
Experience outweighs schooling every time.
Everyone in the classroom gave good solid answers. Answers that could definitely hurt an early-stage business, but not directly end one. They gave answers like; poor gross margins, unrealistic forecasts, lack of control over operations, tough competition, and so forth. Like I said, all solid answers.
With all the that brain power, and higher education filling the room, and bouncing off the walls, they still weren’t able to give the correct answer that would directly cause a business to fail. The answer is simple people, and for everyone out there, business owner, or entrepreneur start-up alike…….They run out of cash.
Without cash, no business can succeed, and no matter what you go through as a business, say you hired the wrong people, had inability to sell your product or service, or even had a poor business model, if you still have cash coming in, or put away, you can still keep your doors open, and fight to live another day.
So for all of you out there fighting, just keep scratching, and keep crawling, because if you can just keep your head above water, and have liquid cash rolling in, you can survive another day. As long as we are able to hold on day by day, there is still that possibility, the business that you envisioned going sky-high will still work. The dreams you have, and have had for your business are still a great possibility if, and only if, you keep fighting, and keep your doors open.
If you quit, no matter how hard things get, or no matter how bad the economy hurts, and you still have cash in hand. That means you didn’t do all you could. You didn’t go down swinging. A true entrepreneur succeeds with everything on the line, or fails the same. Don’t leave the table with chips in hand, and definitely don’t close your doors with cash left in your pocket.
It’s real simple, it doesn’t take long to explain, and it’s short and sweet.
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, or business owner. No matter the businesses, the product, or the size. You must go big, other wise just quit and go home.
When I say big, I mean take risks, challenge the big boys in your industry, don’t be afraid, and more than anything else, when your gut tells you something. Pull the trigger!
Too many entrepreneurs end up, back working behind a desk for someone else, and the reason for this is simple. It’s not because they were unlucky and failed, not because their idea was stupid, no, it’s because they were too afraid to take any risks, and too afraid to pull the trigger when the time was right.
You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. – Michael Jordan
If you take a big risk, and it fails. That’s ok, that is a great learning experience, and more than anything else, it shows something to yourself. That you are not afraid, and when the big decision needs to be made, good or bad, you are the one that can handle it.
If you have failed once, but you went down swingin’, good chances are you will be back in the ring soon enough. – Yours Truly
Ok, so I have found myself sitting at my desk, with a ton of things to do, and no time to get it all done, and what am I doing? I’m surfing Sumbleupon, or wandering off on Twitter. Why the hell would I be doing this if I have so much to do? It’s simple, I didn’t prioritize my time. As a young entrepreneur, it’s easy to get side tracked because there is no one out there telling you what “needs” to be done. We are all doing things for ourselves and for our business, which in the end is much more gratifying, but sometime harder to find motivation for, sometimes.
No matter how much you “have” to accomplish some of your daily tasks, none of us out there, (except the diligent freaks, that are just wired different) will get it done, until the last-minute at least. The reason for this is because we don’t prioritize our time correctly, or at all in some cases. The best way to do this, is just to simply make a list. Make a list of all the things you need to get done, whether it be writing a blog post, a phone call, work, or whatever.
Once you have a list of everything that needs to be done written down on paper, then you just arrange them from whats most important, to what can be put on the back burner. The list just becomes your reference for what needs to get accomplished, something for you to turn to when your start dosing off into another realm. It’s incredible how much easier tasks are to complete when you have them listed in front of you, and you can check one-off at a time as you complete them. When you have multiple projects to complete, it can seem so overwhelming at times that you can struggle to even get started.
Once all your tasked are listed out and prioritized, they don’t seem so daunting, and in the end it makes them much easier to tackle.
Just try it right now, and see how much it changes your potency for productivity. Once you realize how this simple concept can increase your production level through the roof, you will find your self writing a new list on the daily, because you are knocking them out like nothing.
The best part, once you finish your daily list, you can jerk around on Twitter and Facebook all you want with no guilt.
If you were to take a survey with a thousand successful people, whether they be successful entrepreneurs, CEO’s, or even a successful athlete, and ask them how often they slept, what do you think the answer would be? Not much, and I can guarantee you that. Time is valuable, and anything valuable should not be wasted.
Now I’m not suggesting that if you want to be successful at anything you should stay up for days at a time. No, I don’t want to turn anyone into a zombie, what I’m saying is don’t spend every last-minute you can in the morning sleeping, and don’t spend time during the day “sleeping,” or slackin’, as some would say.
Going through the motions during the day, instead of working vigorously towards your goal, is just like sleeping. Also, try to get up extra early EVERY day, and get your day started, get productive, and get on it before everyone else. That’s just one more way you can have a leg up on your competition, and don’t think for one second you don’t have any comp, because we all do somewhere, trust me. Being up one or two hours earlier than your competitor every morning will add up in a hurry in your favor.
Success is driven from hard work, and you can’t work hard while you sleep.
An old boss of mine (who I hated with every fiber of my being) use to tell me, “Kc, you can sleep when you die, so wake the hell up and get back to work!” Now it wasn’t like I was sleeping on the job, but he would say that to me if I wasn’t giving everything I had. This was a common problem for me when I was working a dead-end job for someone else. It wasn’t until I started to work for myself, and earn my own way, that I finally started to understand what the prick was really trying to tell me. The message that I have taken from him was, anytime wasted not giving everything you have, is wasted time.
Now as a young entrepreneur I have many obstacles I have to overcome on a daily basis, and I started doing something about a year and a half ago that really changed my life. What did I do? I started waking up at the same exact time every single day, no matter what was my plate that day. I was going to be up before everyone else, and be a step ahead of everyone else.
Being an entrepreneur, we know that technically there are days where there isn’t a whole hell of a lot for us to go out and do…WRONG! Every day is a new chance to learn, grow, and take another step towards success, whether it’s just baby steps or even a giant leap. Now waking up earlier than normal has really helped me out personally from a mental stand point. Now I am up every day ready to go, whether there is something on my schedule or not. This way if something comes up, I’m ready to fire, or maybe even more importantly, I find things for myself to do. Things I wouldn’t have thought to do if I was sleeping my “day off” away.
The moral is, just be the first one up, don’t let anyone out there be working before you. It’s all a game, and the early bird gets the worm.