Why does the idea of becoming an entrepreneur seem so alluring? Most are seeing the end product, the incredible wealth, the yacht, and buying a sports team just because they can. But that’s like expecting your marble-encrusted palace on the Cote d’Azur to build itself. The fact is that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted and certainly not for the lazy. Because what it requires is work, work, and more work.
By definition, entrepreneurship involves certain lifestyle changes and starting from scratch over and over again. Once you’ve created and built your first business into a money-making machine, you will be able to delegate to others, but you will never be free of the stress of being successful and staying successful. You will be driven by the need for a certain market share, occasionally terrified at the way your industry is heading, and tormented by fluctuations in interest rates. It’s a difficult but very rewarding path to take in life. With that in mind, here are the following things to know if you’re dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur.
But First: College
You’re planning your career; you’ve got an industry in mind to start with, and you can diversify as you go. It all begins with going to college. Good call. Unfortunately, your parents are not incredibly wealthy or even slightly rich. How are you going to pay your way through college? The most common way is by taking out a student loan, and this can involve reviewing with an online lender. There are student loans available that can help to cover the cost of tuition fees, and it’s important to know exactly what’s involved in terms of repayment agreements and interest rates.
Your mom or dad will probably set this up and may even be in on the meeting. Either way, you will be talking about borrowing a sum of money that is more than you’ve ever had access to before. You will be signing on the dotted line, agreeing to pay it back at a certain amount per month over a specified period. As unglamorous as this might appear, it’s the start of your financial record, so play it by the book, pay the lender back as agreed, and you’re on the ladder to success – a very low rung of the ladder, to be sure, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Later, once you’re working, you can renegotiate your loan, possibly with a different lender, and the process starts all over again. If you do this properly, your credit score starts off well and keeps improving. This will follow you around your whole life, and if you finally find yourself borrowing a million dollars to create a new business or build your dream home, don’t forget it all started with a humble student loan.
Networking is Essential
Networking will be a major factor in how successful your business becomes. If you’re good at it, great – get better. If you’re not good at it, you have to improve your networking skills by putting yourself out there. This is the only way you’ll broaden your horizons and connect with contacts who can give you access to best practice knowledge and the latest industry developments. Make this skill your top priority, and you will open up doors to new opportunities that you’d never otherwise have. You’ll fill your contact list with people who you can call at times when you need advice or you need something done. Start by attending events in your local area. These can be social events or dedicated business or industry-specific conferences.
When you’re there, don’t be a spectator. Put your social hat on and get out into the crowd and introduce yourself. Don’t be shy in telling the people you meet what you do and what your goals are. Be friendly and give each person the opportunity to respond and tell you about their reasons for being at the event. Other good networking ideas include joining online communities, giving sponsorship, getting involved in leadership programs, and having a chat with the person who is behind you in the queue at your local coffee shop. Always be confident and friendly instead of overpowering and brash.