Are you a “wantrepreneur”?
- You have a deep-seated desire to build your own business
- You dream of working for yourself
- There’s nothing you want more than to achieve both personal and financial success
If you can relate, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’re going to explore some of the most important things you need to know if you’re concerned about how to be successful at entrepreneurship and life. Some of the tactics we suggest in this article are actual physical actions you can take while others are strategies you can try and perspectives you can train your mind to execute.
Above all, by incorporating as many of these tactics as possible into your daily life, you’ll likely begin to feel more successful and experience more entrepreneurial success.
Does that sound good to you? Great! Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- 10% Activities vs. 10x Activities
- Prioritize “Shipping” Not Perfection
- Cheaper is (Sometimes) More Expensive
- Use the Right Tools
- Outsource, Outsource, Outsource
- Time Management & Productivity Tips
- Be a Lifelong Learner
- Filter the Feedback
- Learn from Those Who Have Succeeded You
- Collaborate With People You Can Learn From
- Understand the Trajectory of Success
- Think Like a Successful Entrepreneur
How to Be Successful Tip #1: 10% Activities vs. 10x Activities
Success as an entrepreneur comes most easily to those who know where to focus their energy. From now on, approach each task in your daily life—whether it’s a personal task or a professional task—from the perspective of the 10% versus 10x concept.
We originally discovered this concept through Garrett Moon, the co-founder and CEO of CoSchedule, in his Skillshare Content Marketing class (which, if you haven’t heard of Skillshare, we highly recommend checking it out, too). In the class, he talked about this concept in relation to content marketing and content strategy, but it’s an ideology that can apply to basically any part of your life.
What the concept comes down to is understanding which types of tasks bring a 10% improvement to your life and which tasks bring 10-times (10x) the improvement to your life. If you’re looking to be successful in this world, you’re going to want to focus more of your time and your energy into things that 10x your life rather than 10% your life because ultimately, you’ll get more value from them.
This can apply to anything: It can apply to the jobs you choose to work on if you freelance, it could apply to the projects you work on as your side-hustle while you’re working your regular 9-5 job, or it could apply to the extra-curricular things you choose to do in your spare time. This concept goes both ways; not only are there 10% and 10x things in your professional life but there are also 10% and 10x things in your personal life, too.
This isn’t to say that you should do no 10% things ever, it just a reminder that if you’re looking to be successful, you should concentrate more on the 10x side of things rather than the 10%, and that you should take the time to evaluate what falls into which category.
Keep in mind, however, that by making 10x tasks a priority you might feel like you’re actually doing less because you might only be able to fit a few 10x tasks into your day or week rather than several 10% tasks. This is because 10x tasks usually require more time and energy to complete, so you might be finishing fewer tasks than you would be if you were just working on 10% tasks. But, don’t be fooled—although they may be fewer, 10x tasks will take you further and that’s how you become successful.
How to Be Successful Tip #2: Prioritize “Shipping” Not Perfection
It’s common for new entrepreneurs to experience “paralysis by analysis” which essentially just means that you’re too scared to take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey so you spend a lot of time analyzing how you’re going to execute the next step so that you don’t actually have to take the step. We get it. Entrepreneurship is scary and leveling up your life is intimidating, and so many entrepreneurs fall into this trap because they want to stay in their comfort zone where there’s no risk of failure.
Here’s a newsflash for you: Your entrepreneurial journey isn’t going to go smoothly all the time and while you shouldn’t jump into every next step in your journey totally unprepared, just try to be cognizant of whether you’re overanalyzing the next step because you’re afraid to take it or if you really just need more information before you’re ready to take on more risk.
The “paralysis by analysis” experience can also rear its head when it comes to releasing new products (or your first product) or launching content or anything to do with putting something out into the world. So often, creators and entrepreneurs get caught up in making sure the product is “perfect” that it delays the product getting launched at all. Being a perfectionist won’t serve you well if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, however, “shipping” will.
What’s shipping? No, we’re not talking about this kind of shipping, we’re talking about releasing a product, launching a project or putting something out into the world, AKA, “shipping.”
Shipping as an entrepreneurial concept is something that successful entrepreneur and author Seth Godin talks about a lot, and it’s because it’s an essential factor to success. What it comes down to is that delaying a product launch to fix small details so everything’s perfect just ends up inhibiting you in the long run. It holds you up, it stops you from executing, it slows down your processes and makes you inefficient.
Ultimately, perfectionism is just an excuse to not ship which is just another way of you being too scared to step out of your comfort zone. To be successful, sometimes you just have to get it done and get your product launch out there as it is instead of fixing every small, tiny detail until it’s perfect.
By all means, don’t take this as leave to start launching half-executed products, but just don’t spend so much of your time focusing on the tiny imperfections and just launch the dang product already. You can always do a Version 2 or re-release it in the future if need be. Just ship your product and get it out to the world and let your creation exist where it’s meant to be used and enjoyed—in the hands or on the screens of your audience.
How to Be Successful Tip #3: Cheaper is (Sometimes) More Expensive
This is an important lesson and one that most successful entrepreneurs have likely learned at some point in their lives and in their careers: Choosing the cheaper or less expensive option can sometimes cost you more in the long run.
It happens all the time—especially with bootstrapped entrepreneurs who are just trying to make their business work on a budget—where a business owner picks the cheaper option instead of the moderately or more costly option, simply because they don’t want to part with their hard-earned cash.
In some cases, this can cost you more if the cheaper option isn’t executed properly and so, in the future, you need to get it done again. In these cases, it means that you’ll be paying twice—once to get it done badly and another time to fix the mistake—instead of just getting it done right the first time.
This can happen in many different areas of business whether it comes to store set up, product creation, marketing, hiring freelancers or contractors, using tools and services, etc. The challenge here comes down to finding the things where you can and should be saving your money (check out our tips on how to reduce your business’ costs for some ideas) and then also understanding where your money is best spent.
This can take some time to understand, but ultimately you don’t want to pay twice for something when you could have just paid once to do it right the first time. Notice instances of this in your business going forward, and reflect on experiences like this you may have had in the past.
Successful entrepreneurs know that they sometimes have to shell out the big bucks when it comes to hiring the right people, investing in the best services, and using the optimal tools for the job to get done right the first time instead of using the cheaper option first and then having to re-do it again.
How to Be Successful Tip #4: Use the Right Tools
Along the same lines, using the right tools for your online business is one of the best ways to be successful at entrepreneurship.
We discussed 10% versus 10x in the first step and tools and services are one of those things that can 10x your business if you use the right ones.
The right tools can maximize your productivity and can take tasks off your plate which can make you more productive and more efficient, thus, leading you in a successful direction. The tool stack every entrepreneur uses to run a successful business varies but usually it comes down to foundational tools like the right ecommerce platform which performs best for their needs, the tools they use to organize their schedules and manage their time, and the services they use to automate tasks so they can take some of the work off of their plate.
If you’re looking for some of the best tools, apps, and services entrepreneurs can use right now to run successful businesses, we recommend checking out these posts:
- The Ultimate Ecommerce Business Toolbox
- How to Cheat at Ecommerce: 50+ Powerful Tools, Apps & Resources
- Our Top 10 Best Business Apps
How to Be Successful Tip #5: Outsource, Outsource, Outsource
A major part of how to be successful at entrepreneurship and at life is knowing when and where to outsource tasks. Delegation is a key role in an entrepreneur’s day-to-day job and if you want to be successful, you need to take some time to realize where your strengths lie so you can focus on those and outsource the tasks that are your weakest points.
What’s so great about being an entrepreneur in today’s day and age is that you have so many options when it comes to finding freelancers or contractors to outsource to; the sky really is the limit. Check out these marketplaces to find freelancers or contractors of all types to outsource your business tasks to:
By outsourcing menial tasks or tasks you don’t have a lot of experience with, you’ll be able to focus on the tasks that you are great at and get those done while the tasks you outsource get completed by someone much more fit for the job. This helps you get work done faster which can help you grow your business faster and boost your output more efficiently.
How to Be Successful Tip #6: Time Management & Productivity Tips
An essential part of success, mastering your time management and productivity really is key. Following are some of our best time management and productivity tips.
The concept of Persistent Starting is simple: Each day you have to be persistent at starting your task. Your task could be anything: Brainstorming product ideas, searching for a product, finding a manufacturer, setting up your website, sending an email, etc. Any task that gets you one step closer to your goal of starting or growing your online business. Pick your task for the day and just start.
It might sound simple, but the act of actually putting it into practice can become difficult. So, to make it less difficult, the next step in Persistent Starting is to set a timer. Often, the hardest part is just getting started with your task, but when you set a timer for 10 minutes and tell yourself that all you have to do is work on your task for 10 minutes then you can stop, it makes the task much more easy to commit to! Suddenly you don’t have one big giant task looming ahead of you, you just have to sit down for 10 minutes and get as much done in that 10 minutes as you can.
Often, once those 10 minutes are up you’ll have gotten into a groove and won’t feel like stopping so you’ll continue until the task is complete, or at least until a large chunk of it is. But, if you haven’t gotten into the groove of things and you still don’t feel like working on the task, then stop—no conditions or mind games—let yourself do something else without feeling guilty.
The next step in the process of Persistent Starting is to do this every day. Think of it this way: The worst that can come out of it is that you lose 10 minutes of your day and the best that can come out of it is you get something done for your business every day! If it helps, schedule in that time to work on your business and honor it like it’s an important appointment. You can’t be late for it, you can’t reschedule it, and you can’t miss it.
Working in Pomodoros
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique that breaks down your work period into different intervals: 25 minutes of work followed by a period of time to rest. During the timed 25 minutes, you’re expected to work until the timer goes off. If you think of something else you need to do or something important comes to mind, write it down and then switch back to your work.
Once the timer rings, mark a checkmark on a piece of paper and take a short break. Once you’ve done a few Pomodoros and acquired more checkmarks, take longer breaks. It’s important to track and record your progress as it gives you a sense of accomplishment and you can visually see the amount of time you’ve put into your work.
No More Zero Days
This is a productivity tool and school of thought that rocked the internet when it was first published and since then has developed a cult following that has helped people all over the world accomplish tasks not only in business but in their personal lives as well.
The concept of “No Zero Days” was created by a Reddit user by the name of “Ryans01” when they were responding to a post made by another user who was struggling with motivation and productivity. “Ryans01” gave several pieces of good advice to the original poster, but what became a sensation across the internet was this particular section of his reply:
“Rule numero uno – There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros.
I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system.
Didn’t do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero. You feel me? When you’re in the super vortex of being bummed your pattern of behavior is keeping the vortex goin, that’s what you’re used to.
Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe doesn’t happen from the vortex. It happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON ZEROS. That’s rule number one. Do not forget.”
Once you get into the habit of taking daily action, you’ll develop momentum and strengthen your belief that your goal is attainable because you’ll actively see the work you’re putting in to attain it. This works wonders for keeping you motivated and staying on the right track.
How to Be Successful Tip #7: Be a Lifelong Learner
No one is ever going to become the Richard Branson of Shopify sales in one day but that doesn’t mean you won’t be in months or years to come. All that stands between you and other successful entrepreneurs is time and know-how.
If you study entrepreneurs or just successful self-made people in general, you may start to notice that most of them are lifelong learners—meaning, their education didn’t stop as soon as they graduated (or dropped out of) school. No, they’ve likely taken it upon themselves to continuously learn about their job or their passion or their craft whether through online courses, reading books, conducting research, consulting mentors, or just learning through content available on the internet. Learning is so accessible for most people and if you’re reading this right now, you likely already have all the tools you need right now to be a lifelong learner.
So, how do you get started? First, do at least one thing each day to help you learn something new. It doesn’t have to be directly related to your job or your business—just learn something new about something that interests you, every day.
Schedule a bit of time into your day to make this possible. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time if it’s not feasible for you, just make it something attainable. Of course, the more skills and techniques you learn that are applicable to your business, the more you’ll be able to help your business thrive.
If you commit to learning new things consistently, you’ll probably be amazed at how far you come even in the space of a few months.
You can’t expect to be successful in the long-term if you aren’t constantly growing your knowledge and evolving your expertise so take the time to invest in yourself. Developing your expertise requires time, effort, and perseverance—but, as the saying goes, nothing worth having ever comes easily. In the long run, lifelong learning makes you indispensable, adaptable, irreplaceable, and gives you a leg above the rest so it’s worth the time and effort.
How to Be Successful Tip #8: Filter the Feedback
When it comes to business, especially as a new entrepreneur when you may not have many other entrepreneurs around you, consider only taking to heart the advice that comes from people who are “in the arena with you,” AKA, other entrepreneurs. Be wary of advice coming from people who aren’t also “in the arena” or at least take it with a grain of salt.
This concept is derived from a speech Theodore Roosevelt made in 1910:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
If those words don’t sum up entrepreneurship, then we don’t know what does.
We include this quote to remind you to be careful who you take your advice from when it comes to starting your business and building the life you want for yourself. To be successful, it might serve you well to only take advice from people who are “in the arena” with you; the people who are also taking risks, innovating and investing in their own entrepreneurial endeavors. The ones who actually know what it takes and have walked in your shoes before.
The advice from these people will likely come from a place of knowing what it takes to get where you want to go and the advice from others who aren’t in the arena with you is likely to come from a place of fear or a place of misunderstanding.
How to Be Successful Tip #9: Learn from Those Who Have Succeeded You
You’re not the first entrepreneur and you certainly won’t be the last so learn from those who have gone before you (those who have succeeded you—no pun intended) so you don’t make the same mistakes as them.
Check out case studies, read founder stories, study your competitors, and learn from existing online stores to avoid pitfalls others have faced and get through challenges more effortlessly by understanding how others have handled them.
How to Be Successful Tip #10: Collaborate with People You Can Learn From
Part of success comes down to surrounding yourself with the right people. Being around other people who are successful or are at least trying to implement success-generating habits in their life will help influence you to maintain successful habits and achieve success, too.
When it comes to building your business, try to surround yourself with people you can learn from. Develop products with other brand owners, collaborate on projects with other entrepreneurs, and partner with other creators to learn from them and push each other to achieve more and do better.
How to Be Successful Tip #11: Understand the Trajectory of Success
You’ve probably heard this before, but the path to success is not a straight line. When some new entrepreneurs think of achieving their goals they think that they just have to hop from one successful accomplish to another, however, that’s rarely how it ever works out.
Usually, what happens while you’re working towards your goals are moments of successful accomplishments with the added frustrations of setbacks, challenges, and failures peppered in between. These can often make our successes feel like they’re few and far between or that every successful step forward comes with two steps back, but that’s just the reality of life.
Things rarely go to plan, people you depend on fail you, you fail yourself, or outside forces that you have no control over impede your progress. This doesn’t just happen to you, it happens to everyone, and you just have to work through it.
So no matter what you face along your entrepreneurial journey just know that to be successful, you’ll face some things along the way that are going to test you. Do what you can to get through those moments and just know that better things are always on the horizon and just because you experience failures doesn’t mean that you aren’t on the track to success.
Robert F. Kennedy said it best when he said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” So instead of dissolving into your shell when you experience a setback or make an error, see it as an opportunity to learn something and grow from the struggle.
Each and every entrepreneurial journey is slightly different, but two things remain constant:
- They’re all extraordinary in their own unique way
- They’re all long-term missions
You have years to make mistakes—and years to learn from them! If something goes wrong, just remember you’re in this for the long game. One day, you’ll look back on the hard times and realize how far you’ve come as a business owner. So, stick it out, learn from every experience, and continue hustling!
How to Be Successful Tip #12: Think Like a Successful Entrepreneur
There’s a saying that goes, “The biggest mistake a small business can make is to think like a small business,” and the same goes for entrepreneurs. This biggest mistake you can make as an inexperienced entrepreneur is to think like an inexperienced entrepreneur. If you want to be successful, you need to start thinking like a successful entrepreneur.
This is something you’ll need to train your mind to do. When you’re making decisions for your business ask yourself, “As a successful entrepreneur, what’s the best choice I can make for my business in this situation?” And then really try to think from the perspective of the successful entrepreneurs that you admire.
Would successful entrepreneurs take the easy way out in the face of challenges? Would successful entrepreneurs shy away from making important decisions? Would successful entrepreneurs make excuses? Would successful entrepreneurs stay committed to their approach even when it turns out they’ve made the wrong decision?
In most cases, probably not.
When inexperienced entrepreneurs think like inexperienced entrepreneurs, they often take the easy way out, let failure set them back, shy away from making important decisions, make excuses, and stick to bad decisions—simply because no one is watching and no one has any expectations for them.
Successful entrepreneurs have a reputation to uphold, they have expectations that they and others have placed on them and they need to fulfill their promises because they have people who depend on them. This means that they have to make sure that they and their businesses are successful so they approach their mindset from this perspective.
Approach your own business from the same mindset and you’ll likely see that you get through challenges with more tenacity and you’ll see your goals through to the finish line.
We hope you took something away from this article! In short, if you want to start walking on the road to success, we highly suggest putting these tips into action and making personal development a priority. When you do, you’ll likely be astonished at what you can accomplish.