by Donny Gamble Jr., founder of Personalincome.org
It’s almost a rite of passage in every successful entrepreneur’s life to spend a period of time at a totally unfulfilling nine-to-five, punching the clock and watching the hours of your life slowly slip away.
“Meh. They say it builds character,” you say to make yourself feel better. But ultimately you find yourself turning into a character you don’t want to be and you just can’t reconcile that in your mind. Then one day you finally snap, jump up from your prison desk and say, “Screw this! I’m gonna work for myself!”
Bravo, my friend. You’ve crossed over into entrepreneurship. Now it’s time to get serious.
Think about the reasons you wanted to become an entrepreneur in the first place. For many of us, it’s a combination of being able to be more creative, make a difference, work for ourselves, have flexible hours, increase our earning potential – well, the list goes on. In order to do all of those things, you must learn to put yourself in the right mindset – otherwise, you’ll spend most of your time scrambling to stay above water, which can feel just as much like a prison as that boring nine-to-five.
Below is a list of items you need to address in order to get yourself up to speed as a newbie (and a good refresher for the rest of us!):
1. Educate Yourself About Finances.
Let’s face it, there are certain things that high school and college just doesn’t teach us. One item that really needs to be on the curriculum is a lesson in personal finance. Would it really kill them to teach us the fundamentals of budgeting or balancing a check book ourselves when the time comes?!
When it comes to personal income, we’re essentially thrown into the lion’s den. Is it any wonder why many of us drown ourselves in debt; student loans, credit cards – it doesn’t take long for us to get so deep in debt that we can’t dig ourselves out. So for the sake of your future business and success, make sure you read up on managing your finances. It’ll make your creative life as an entrepreneur easier to navigate and more rewarding.
2. Get Out Of That Employee Mentality.
The vast majority of people head out into the real world with one unifying goal: to get a job. And why not? It’s been hammered into our minds almost from birth. Go to high school, go to college, get a job….
However if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re looking to be an employer, not an employee.
Most people remain an employee throughout their entire adult life; it’s practically all that many of us know from a young age. Even managers who have a team of 20 or 30 people below them are still working for “the man”, as it were. Entrepreneurs aren’t and it’s vital for you to set yourself apart from that mindset: you’re not just a worker toiling away for someone else’s benefit. You’re the one steering this ship. Never forget that.
3. Take Risks.
One thing having a regular job gives people is a sense of security. At the cost of personal happiness and the possibility of success, many people will stay within their secure hub for fear of losing it all. However, that’s not what being an entrepreneur is all about.
Success doesn’t come to those who live with constant fear of instability. In order to build your faith in anything, you must take risks. Every successful person who has ever lived has had to take a risk at some point during their professional lifetime (probably more than once).
If you hope to come out on top, you need to not only face risks head on, but actively embrace them. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t. No one said it would be easy. That’s why they call it a “risk”, otherwise everyone would be doing it.
4. Stop Being Ignorant.
In our technologically-obsessed culture, there is no longer an excuse for not discovering new things or informing oneself. With the push of a few buttons on our phones and tablet devices, we can educate ourselves on nearly any topic. It’s up to you to use this power to your advantage.
Most people know what the technology they hold in their hand is capable of, yet choose not to use it to its fullest potential. This is where the entrepreneur differs from other people. You have the knowledge right at your fingertips. There is absolutely no reason for you not to use it to educate yourself. However…
5. At The Same Time, Don’t Let Technology Make You Lazy.
You have to be able to draw a fine line between using the internet for its intended purpose (which is to inform) and putting you at a disadvantage by making you lazy. It’s no secret that technology makes our lives much easier, but have we considered that it may be making us a little too lazy? Many people have a love-hate relationship with their technology, so it’s important to find a balance.
While having the internet in the palm of your hand gives you access to a barrage of information, news, discussions and ideas, it can be too easy to let it be a distraction. Yes, a lot of the time it takes will power to sit down at a computer and type out an important article and not let Twitter hold you back. This is where your mindset needs to keep focus. This is where the entrepreneur in you needs to shine.
Above all, remember that you’re not in a box. You’re the one building it. Act accordingly.
Donny Gamble Jr. is founder of Personalincome.org, a published author, entrepreneur, and investor. He graduated from The Ohio State University and has a passion for teaching others about alternative investment and retirement strategies. He is a contributor for Huffington Post and has been featured on Black Enterprise as one of the top 5 money experts for Millennials to follow.