Top tips to navigating the water as an entrepreneur, (even if you're not one yet)

So, what makes a great entrepreneur?  

After having created over 16 successful businesses in my career and being a part of many more, people often ask me:  

“Joshua, what makes a GREAT entrepreneur”  

And the reality is, there’s no single factor, hell, there’s no set combination of factors that makes someone become a great entrepreneur. The entrepreneurial journey is different for everyone, but over the course of my career there are some motivations and underlying passions that genuinely great entrepreneurs have in common.  

People become entrepreneurs for thousands and thousands of different reasons. They’re not happy with their job, they’re unfulfilled, they’re not living their true passion.  

No matter what the reason they decide to take the bull by the horns and strike out on their own.  

And right now, more than any time in history, we are seeing millions and millions of people take the plunge and put that entrepreneurial hat on.  

For many it comes down to three base motivations to make them take the leap.  

One is flexibility. The structure of the corporate lifestyle is enough to make you a little crazy. Especially if the company is especially rigid in their culture.  

The other factor is control. When you’re calling the shots, you have control through good times or bad. At least you’re not at the whim of the company you are working for, and that feels good (most of the time!)  

The last thing that motivates a lot of people to move into their own business is legacy. The feeling that you are creating something you can leave to your family and give them something of value far into the future.  

Those are the motivations, but how can you position yourself for ultimate success if you decide that striking out on your own is what you need to do?  

Here are my top tips to navigating the water as an entrepreneur, (even if you’re not one yet)

1) Start with a powerful mission statement.

mission statement

I can’t stress this enough. You not only need an idea, product, or service, you need to put it down on paper. You need to live with it. Let it evolve. Revise, revise, revise, until you genuinely feel a point of resonance and passion every time you read it. This goes a long way to the next point.  

2) Find the right mindset.

new mindset new recruits

Far too many people (and yes, I’ve fallen victim to this more than once) are just jumping in fully clothed – looking at only the amazing and fabulous things that are going to be in store when you start your company. Truth? You must start the game KNOWING that it’s not all going to be puppies and butterflies. Of course, prepare yourself for the good, but as importantly, or maybe more… make sure you’re ready for the pitfalls. Entrepreneurship is a complete roller-coaster. One minute you’re taking everyone for a celebratory lunch and the other you’re wondering if you’re going to make payroll and have to eat Ramen for a week. This is absolutely vital to your long-term success.  

3) Hire people who inspire you.

audience applauding

Let me lay this out like so… if you show up every single day in your organization and think that you’re the smartest or most passionate person in the room, it’s a recipe for disaster (trust me here.) Surround yourself with people who INSPIRE you, whose passion matches or exceeds your own and who bring skill sets you do NOT have to the table. Creating your team is paramount to growth and innovation.  

4) Make your physical and mental health a priority.

meditating beside laptop

I’ve lost sight of this in the past and found myself 30 pounds overweight and in a terrible mental state. It cost me a lot. You absolutely must take time for your physical and mental health. This is NOT something that’s optional, or “you’ll get to” if you want to set yourself up for success this must be a part of the equation. Your company (and you) will suffer if you let this one slide.  

5) Celebrate the little wins.

confetti on desktop

I’ve met far too many entrepreneurs who are so laser focused on “what’s next” they completely lost sight of the small wins that are carrying their company forward. I put this along the lines of taking time to smell the roses. No matter how small it might be, if you get a win, get a product to market, land a new client, hit a sales goal. Take a minute and savor that sensation. It will make the next time even better and let you be aware of when things are actually happening, instead of glossing over the moment!  

So, no matter where you are on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur, or even if you don’t have any designs on it just yet, you can put these principles into place in your life and reap the benefits.  

That’s it for this week’s Dopamine Dose, let me know what YOU do to keep yourself on track in the comments below.  

And don’t forget, we are fast approaching our brand-new Standout Authority Workshop that’s going to supercharge your personal brand and give you innovative tools to increase the power of your brand and your business on LinkedIn and beyond. Click here and get all the details, and I would love to see you there in person! 

See ya next week,  

Joshua B. Lee 

personal brand and attract clients on linkedin