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3 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do Differently When Things Get Tough

blck woman looking off into distance

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, according to Dan Lock, an entrepreneur, TEDx Speaker, and self-proclaimed highest paid consultant.   This sentiment was echoed by Neil Patel in an article in Entrepreneur magazine as well.

Why would these authorities who’ve built multi-million online companies claim that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone?  Because there is more to entrepreneurship than the flashy lifestyle of entrepreneurs displayed on Instagram.

Most people associate entrepreneurship with more freedom, more money, flashy cars, exotic vacation, and such glamour. Instead, this is just the tip of the iceberg. And, this tip is only visible after an entrepreneur invests their time, money, sweat and sacrifice for many years.

So, what are the ten things that these successful people do that are different when things get tough in the dark side of entrepreneurship?

1. Commitment

“Entrepreneurship is risky. It is analogous to being alone captain of a boat, in the open and violent seas, on a seemingly endless journey to a land unknown and perhaps, unimaginable. Before take-off, the captain often envisages this journey to be a smooth sailing endeavor, with failures predictably “manageable” along the way. More often, though, it is not. The real test occurs when the boat begins to leak, while the destination is yet thousands of miles away.” By Harvey Fierstein

The real test of entrepreneurship comes when you have no funds to invest in your business. The real test is when you are almost contemplating bankruptcy when all the funders, clients, customers and partners are all turning you down.

These are the moments you can’t get sleep at night. You have no appetite. Your motivation and inspiration for the startup are gone. This is the point that differentiates entrepreneurs and the rest.

Entrepreneurs are committed. They will go back to the drawing board. Consult their mentors. Hire a coach or DO-WHAT-EVER-IT-TAKES to get themselves out of the mess.

But, the rest throw in the towel.

2. They Are Visionaries

Most people are conditioned to be followers. To follow instructions and do the tasks assigned to them.  This is what most education systems train students to do — all the years in school condition the students to be employees.

But most entrepreneurs are always critical. They see the world differently than other people. They are curious and usually don’t follow the typical path followed by the multitude.

During a turbulent situation, most people will look for short term solutions. However, an entrepreneur considers the big picture. They are visionaries. They look into how the solution can be solved with the big picture in mind.

If you consider  Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, the founders of Airbnb, they were facing the challenge of getting rent for their house. Often, if it were other people, they would have just thought of a solution to solve their particular problem at the time. But, these two entrepreneurs considered the big picture. What solution would help people across the globe to get housing in any part of the world and also help other people who have an extra room in their house, or a house they aren’t using to earn an income by lending it out to guests?

3.  Take Responsibilities

What do you do when you start a business, make a decision that cost your business money, and you have no money to pay your employees?

Have you been in a situation where a company like Alliance One is calling you because of your debt?

This is the point that breaks most wanna-be entrepreneurs.  Having a company that is almost going bankrupt, you have accumulated debt, and you can’t even afford to pay your employees. Your first step is to stop making excuses and feeling self-pity.

Taking responsibility for the situation is one of the most critical traits as an entrepreneur. Most inspirational stories about entrepreneurs will always talk about when everything was falling apart, and the leaders had to take responsibility.

Taking possibility puts you back in control. It’s the first step to start looking for the solution. But, most people at this point would instead give up and give all the excuses why their idea wouldn’t work.

According to the book The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, the author Ben Horowitz notes that “the first rule of entrepreneurship is, there is no rule.” Things will get hard, and unfortunately, there is no recipe book on how to navigate such situations.  But, as long as you know the value you are offering, be committed to spreading your impact to the world, embrace the visionary in you to see the big picture and in every situation, always take responsibility.

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