There will always be entrepreneurs who have done much more than you or me. Unless we win a Nobel Prize, build two unicorn startups or save the world, this will not change. What can change, is how we go about building our career, goals and life, or how we actually want to spend our time. Some find motivation in money or fame, others wish to be a positive force in the world, and many just dream of gaining the freedom to do what they want without being shackled to a traditional nine to five . . . not that there’s anything wrong with that.
In this column, I’ll roll out tips, tricks and, “what not to do’s,” I’ve learned over the years. Many of these are derived from a roller-coaster of startup experiences, some of which I’ve had the fortune to see through to great growth and acquisition and in some cases . . . not. I’ll also add in some lessons I’ve learned along the way while at large companies like IBM, where I spent almost 12 years.
Whether you’ve chosen the obstacle course that is entrepreneurialism, or opted to climb the corporate ladder and float down on a golden parachute, there will be something for you. Note to those in the corporate world – if you don’t look at yourself or your company as being entrepreneurial in spirit, you also probably don’t know that your company is losing customers to the 25 startups that have found a better way to build your widget.
Before getting into the more granular tips and tricks, it’s important to set our stage regarding mindset. My first recommendation is to not take yourself or your work so seriously. It’s not that deep. Sure you’ve got to pay bills, but if you wake up with your heart pounding, and are quickly six Mocha Frappuccinos in, thinking, “I have to sell something today or I’m going to have to pawn my kids,” there is something deeply wrong with what you or your company is doing.
Business is a game. It has elements of strategy, competition and luck. One part chess, one part Chutes and Ladders. There’s no telling what will happen from day to day, so just do your best to enjoy the ride up and down, stay on the board and keep moving forward.
Most importantly, like all games, it should be fun. Enjoy the analysis, the wins, the losses, your relationships and all the rest. Whatever you don’t enjoy or don’t do well, learn to like it by getting better or if that doesn’t work, find someone to help you that will do a better job and actually enjoys that aspect of the work and be successful together. Learn your strengths and weaknesses and live by the collaborative sword.
In future articles, we’ll talk about how to build or add life to your marketing and sales programs as well as your personal energy and development. We’ll cover growth-hacking to biohacking, digital and physical networking to foundational elements and costs of your business. Today I help startups and established companies with a variety of strategic and tactical escapades, but only for people that are fun and inspiring to work with, because life’s too short.
Whether these concepts posted into the universe of 20 billion articles helps your business, or causes you to decide that being an entrepreneur is way too risky and it’s not for you, either way, please don’t kill the messenger.
By Ben Bloch, Contributor, Forbes.com