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I read a column in the Huffington Post recently that inspired me to tell it like it is. The column broke down some of the myths that continue to be perpetuated about entrepreneurship, like how to “get rich quick.” I know I’m just one more voice adding to the fray, but I felt compelled to share.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years now. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is what I know.
1. Success can be defined in many different ways.
Don’t make the mistake of focusing exclusively on how much money you make. I think money allows us to do things — nothing more, nothing less. You can use money to help others. It gives us the opportunity to be generous and to do the right thing.
2. Becoming successful will take longer than you think it should.
And I mean much longer. There’s no way of quickly becoming successful. Don’t trust anyone who says otherwise. Those who advertise how rapid their success has been are conveniently leaving out the years they spent hustling prior. Are you in this for the long haul? If not, you might as well get out now. This profession takes dedication.
I recently had the pleasure of listening to Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy, give a speech about his career as an entrepreneur. The advice he stressed above all else was, “Hang in there.” His point was that you have to stick with something long enough to catch a few lucky breaks and eventually become successful.
3. There’s more than one way to achieve success.
So learn as much as you can from others, especially those who are living the kind of life you want. Ask questions, the simple ones too. Draw your own conclusions from what you learn. When you create your own road map, be willing to change it. Flexibility will serve you well. Entrepreneurs are always in motion! We’re dynamic creatures. Evolve or die.
4. You must be willing to make sacrifices.
Time is one of them. It just is. So make sure you enjoy what you do. Don’t let your dedication destroy other parts of your life.
5. Treat everyone with respect.
We’re all interconnected. Industries are smaller than they seem. You’re going to meet the same people climbing up the ladder when you’re on your way down.
6. If someone treats you poorly from the beginning, don’t expect your relationship to improve.
Unfortunately, in my experience, it doesn’t.
7. Try to be patient.
Lousy situations result when you rush. I think time is one of our greatest assets. If you give yourself enough time to think something through, you’ll discover more possibilities.
8. Don’t try to change difficult people.
Focus instead on changing the way you deal with them. That’s the only thing under your control.
9. Have a positive attitude.
People want to work with people they like. The only way you’ll be able to move mountains is if you believe you can.
10. Tell the truth, even when it’s painful.
People might not like what you have to say, but getting real is what builds long-term relationships.
11. Admit when you’re wrong and move on.
When people fail to take accountability for their actions, resentment festers.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is too short not to enjoy yourself. Become an entrepreneur! Aim high! But more than that, focus on creating a business that has a great culture, does right by its employees and that people actually want to work for. That’s the best feeling in the world as far as I’m concerned.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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