Some would say I leaped into entrepreneurship. But becoming an entrepreneur was one of the best decisions I ever made. I went from $20,000 in debt to $200,000 in revenue after I leaped.
In this article, I will share my seven keys to business success. Apply these business tips to improve your business today. And when you do, I am glad to provide you expert business and tax advice. If you prefer to listen to these tips, check out the podcast episode.
How I Knew Entrepreneurship Was For Me
When I was in high school, both of my parents passed away. I had to grow up fast and without my parents.
After getting a master's degree in accounting, I got a job with a big corporate firm, which was one of my goals. Get an education, get a good job, they say, so that's what I did.
In the beginning, working a 9 to 5 was exciting. But after a few years, I was going to work, Monday through Friday, looking forward to the weekend, and then hating Monday again. I realized I could not do that for 40 years.
That's when a friend gave me the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. If you haven't read this book, I highly encourage you to do so. Rich Dad Poor Dad is full of keys to business success. I listened to this audiobook in six hours because I was so invested in my future. I outlined how to get out of the rat race and woke up the next day, ready to work on my plan.
One day my cousin asked me what day of the week it was. At first, I was shocked by his question. I mean, who forgets the days of the week? It was Wednesday, but he thought it was Saturday. So I had to ask him, "Why don't you remember the day of the week?"
His response was simple but profound. He said, "Because I love what I do every day, the days of the week don't matter to me."
The next day, I put in my two weeks notice at work. Then, I spent a week in London so that I wouldn't ask for my job back. In London, I worked on my business plan. When I came back, I launched my business.
My Jump From Employee to Entrepreneur
The good news is, I could finally call myself a business owner, an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, during my first three months in business, I didn't have any clients. I made no income whatsoever. I was also over $20,000 in credit card debt because I used credit cards to cover initial business expenses, like creating my website and marketing.
After a few months of struggling, I remembered something my mentor told me. My first mentor was a Harvard Business School graduate, and he didn't make $1 for his first four months in business. However, now he is hugely successful. So, I knew I could turn my business around with the right mindset and keys to success.
7 Keys to Business Success
Trust me when I tell you these are my keys to business success. Please learn from my mistakes and know that I am only sharing tips that worked for me.
#1: You Don't Have to Be Great to Get Started. But You Must Get Started to Be Great.
Too many people make the mistake of not getting started. Don't let your desire for perfection be the reason you delay launching your business. Not getting started is the number one mistake entrepreneurs make.
Getting started is so powerful. You'll be surprised how things align for you after you take your first step.
Don't procrastinate! Instead, start today. Following this critical advice will take your life and your business to the next level.
#2: Don't Spend Time on Minor Things
I wasted so much time at the beginning of my business because I tried to make everything perfect. I wanted the best logo design, ideal marketing, a new website, etc. You name it, and I wanted it for my business.
Now I realize, I spent too much time on things that weren't important. More importantly, none of those things made me money. I spent too many hours designing my website and trying to write blog posts.
Please don't make the same mistake I did. Get stuff done, even if it's not perfect. Then, focus on generating revenue for your business. Do the tasks that make you money. Forget about the minor things that are not generating revenue or affecting your bottom line.
Another lesson I learned was to outsource to experts. I ended up getting my website and logo done by professionals. Write down a list of essential things for your business, such as your business plan, products and services, and how to find your target audience. Then, every day attack your major, money-making tasks.
#3: Change Your Circle
If you want to be successful, pay attention to who you have around you. I'm not saying you have to ditch your friends. However, spend more time with people who are doing what you want to do.
When I became an entrepreneur, I started spending more time with other entrepreneurs. Hanging around like-minded individuals will help you grow and learn faster.
Spend time with people in a financial or business position where you aspire to be. I can't stress how much it's helped me hanging out with new and successful entrepreneurs. Just being around other entrepreneurs caused a shift in my life and my business.
If you don't know where to find fellow entrepreneurs, remember, the internet is right there. Use Facebook or MeetUp to find groups of entrepreneurs. LinkedIn is also another great resource to connect with like-minded business owners.
Google organizations and resources available to help people do in your industry. In your efforts to expand your network, you may build amazing lifelong friendships. By hanging around people that were crushing it, I picked up tips and skills they took ten years to develop.
When members of your network become your friend, you can have business conversations over dinner. From other entrepreneurs, you can learn the equivalent of a $40,000 college education.
Plus, you can deduct the dinner on your taxes. But you can learn more about money-saving tax deductions here.
#4 Get a Mentor
You know what they say, "You can learn from a mentor or mistakes." My mentor helped me so much in the early days of my business. He kept me encouraged to keep moving forward even when I couldn't get a client in my first few months in business.
However, he also connected me with people and served as a fantastic resource. Since my first mentor, I have had countless mentors throughout my life, and they all played a significant role in my success.
Find someone who's doing what you want to do or find someone who's doing similar things to you. Most mentors are busy and successful. So they may not have time to spare.
That's why I always encourage people to look for a mentor and always approach them with something to give. Yes, you read that right. You must provide value first because your potential mentor will ask, "What's in it for me?"
So, find a mentor through your network or the internet. Then, add value to that person's life by offering to help them with something or solve a problem they have in their business. In exchange, ask them for a few minutes of their time on a periodical basis so that you can learn from them.
#5 Replace Entertainment With Education
The moment I replaced entertainment with education, my life did a full pivot. I was a huge TV watcher and Call of Duty player. I focused on either of these two activities at least six hours a day. Then on weekends, I would do tournaments.
I spent all my free time on entertainment. Then, a mentor told me to replace entertainment with education. And so I started to change my routine slowly.
I stopped playing video games one hour early and read a book for an hour instead. Or sometimes, I would listen to a podcast for an hour. Eventually, I eliminated games and television from my day. But don't get me wrong, I still have fun.
I became a much more successful person when I replaced entertainment with education. Every new skill I developed allowed me to increase my value. And people pay me for an hour of my time, which means I can earn more money and add more value to their lives. Your price can go up with every new piece of knowledge that you attain.
#6: Understand the Psychology of Selling
I don't care what business you're in; You're always selling something. Entrepreneurs sell products, services, or themselves and their brand. In most conversations, you are trying to get somebody to do something. That's why it's essential to understand the psychology of selling if you want to succeed in business.
The number one sale you have to make in life is to sell yourself. So once I started selling, I made sure I would buy whatever I was selling to other people.
Most people think selling means people buy what they don't need, but selling is finding out what people need and helping them solve a problem.
If somebody needs something and there's a better product out there for them. Help people get whatever they need because you never know who that person is going to introduce you to in the future.
Great books about selling are Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone and Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith. However, one of the best selling books that you'll ever read is not a book on selling. I recommend you read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Carnegie's book is about how to get people to like you. When people like you, they'll buy from you. Customers, buy from people they trust.
#7: Niche is Rich, Broad is Broke
When you go into business, you have to find your niche. Find your target audience or the people you will serve. When you don't have a niche or believe your product or service is for everybody, you're talking to nobody.
Businesses fail because they are just trying to make money and sell to everyone. In contrast, a niche will make you rich. Let me give you an example.
If you had to get lung surgery, and you had a choice between a general surgeon or a lung surgeon, which would you pick? I'm guessing you would choose the lung surgeon because they have the education and specialization you need.
Before I picked my niche, I was concerned about cutting off some potential customers. But when I decided to serve creative entrepreneurs, I made more money than the previous quarter.
And from that point on, I've made sure to narrow down my business more specifically every year. In the beginning, I was providing financial services to creatives and entrepreneurs. Later I defined my niche to serve creatives in the entertainment and film industry.
Guess what happened? My business grew even more through referrals. My clients referred me to their creative, entrepreneur friends, and the rest is history.
My first few months as an entrepreneur were rough. However, I eventually booked a client and made revenue. I went from over $20,000 in credit card debt to $200,000 in revenue.
This year my projected income will be $400,000 to $500,000. I am not sharing any of this to brag. The point is to show you that you can boost your business income with these seven keys to business success. I hope you'll apply these seven keys to your life immediately.