How to Be an Entrepreneur in 2021

Today we are answering the question on every entrepreneur’s mind: What are the top success strategies for entrepreneurs in 2021? In this episode, I’m going to give you the Top Ten Success Strategies you need to Come Out of Nowhere.

So, in the wake of the pandemic, we have witnessed seismic shifts in the way business is done. Experts predict that many of these changes are here to stay, such as the wave of office workers who are now accustomed to working from home. A recent study done by Stanford discovered that a whopping 50% of all the people who began working from home during the pandemic would rather quit than go back to the office full-time! Change is here! We are on the precipice of an evolution in business, an entrepreneurial renaissance! In the past year we’ve seen an explosion of new small businesses and start-ups flood the marketplace as the innovators of the world step-up to take charge of their own future. Entrepreneur’s look at these major changes and surges of new business, and we see opportunity! There has never been a better time to go all-in and embrace your entrepreneurial destiny, and here you are at the right place at the right time!

Number One: Self-Knowledge is Sovereignty

The first success strategy is one of ancient wisdom, as observed by Socrates: “Know thyself.” Seeking out true self-awareness, knowledge of your own strengths and weaknesses, is an entrepreneurial superpower. The passion you feel for your future as an entrepreneur can only be magnified when you embrace your identity with a passion. Becoming aware of our short-comings may be uncomfortable at times, but WOW is it useful. And here’s the baddest-ass part about knowing your own weaknesses — the truth is our weaknesses are just the flip sides of our strengths! When we can embrace self-knowledge with all our assets and defects, we gain the ability to masterfully relate to anyone.

It’s been demonstrated so beautifully as well as tragically, in this past year, how inextricably connected we all are to one another. Bruce Lee once said, “Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself — to be is to be related.” Which also reminds me of what Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Self-knowledge forges an iron-clad resilience against taking setbacks personally, it helps us stay out of our own way, and allows us to know when to ask for help from those with different skill sets than our own. Being in full possession of your own supreme power, dominion over your own destiny, is only possible through supreme self-awareness.

In 2021, lockdowns have given many of us time to reflect on what we want as well as what we want to change. The most powerful and accessible form of progress starts right at the heart — Your heart. An entrepreneur is another word for a leader, and in 2021 the world needs strong, passionate, conscientious leaders who set the kind of precedent that leaves only winners in their wake.

Number Two: Get Your Ideas Out

Keeping our million dollar ideas close to our chest is a survival instinct. We don’t want anyone to “copy” us, we don’t want our ideas to get stolen…But the truth is, the only success is shared success, and the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who create a community of people who are excited about their ideas long before those ideas become a reality. That instinct to keep your ideas hidden from the world until they are perfect, or complete, or ready for launch…underneath that instinct is fear. And understandably so! As entrepreneurs we take a lot of risks, and it makes sense to want to protect our emotional investments as well as our investments of time and money. As an entrepreneur you have an idea for a product or service that will make people’s lives better, something that can change the world in a million ways, big and small. Make your work a labor of love, instead of a labor of fear. Collaborate. Get feedback. There will always be haters, but there will always be supporters and fans and investors too! Fearlessly create prototypes, one after the next, and share them with people, gather information — Remember, you only have to get it perfect once, for one person, before it’s ready to be scaled. You’ll want your team assembled before that happens, so you are primed to Come Out of Nowhere and Become an Inspiration to Millions.

Number Three: Build Your Dream Team

Again, the only success is shared success. Entrepreneurship is a team sport! Great ideas are only the beginning, and it’s with collaboration and execution that our dreams begin to take shape in the waking world. Perhaps the pandemic has thrown up roadblocks for traditional avenues of collaboration — masterminds, incubators, pitch nights, and meet-ups, but as entrepreneurs we can see the new opportunities being forged. It may require a bit more creativity, and you’ll need to be proactive — but new technologies have made it possible to assemble talented people from every corner of the world, and with that kind of reach and richness in diversity, the sky’s the limit! My advice to you would be to start now, because the teams that are going to be created in the coming weeks and months within this new construct of the entrepreneurial renaissance will be stronger and more capable of kicking ass than ever before. So get out there, assemble you dream team, and give them everything they need to kick ass!

Number Four: Play the Long Game

Okay, so when I say play the long game, I’m talking about two areas in particular and they are the health of your body, and the health of your finances. Because these are the two things that are most likely to inhibit an entrepreneur’s progress. Failure can’t stop you. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed, I simply found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” Mistakes can’t stop you. Sara Blakely says, “It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable,” and Tim Fargo says, “Success is normally found in a pile of mistakes.” What can stop you, is poor health, and poor financial dealing. So take care of your body, feed yourself well, hydrate hydrate hydrate (!), get your rest, make time for leisure, friends, and family. And take care of your finances, work within your means, deal honestly, and find investors with values and ethics that align with your brand, and who are passionate about your misson’s highest purpose: to make people’s lives better.

Number Five: Seek Criticism

Critical to refining and perfecting your million dollar ideas, will always be the feedback from others. The good, the bad, and the ugly; all feedback can be spun into gold for the entrepreneur who knows how to listen. Every dollar your enterprise amasses will be the direct result of how well your brand listens. Great entrepreneurs of 2021 know that in today’s digital marketplace, brand visibility has never been more transparent, or more vulnerable. Start learning to embrace criticism, not for what is in the moment (a rather unpleasant experience) for what it can be in the future: valuable information that will draw your products or services closer to the hearts of the people who need you most.

Number Six: Sound Crazy, But Be Right

There isn’t a life-changing invention, or astounding innovation in existence today that at one time wasn’t called a crazy idea. Seek criticism, yes — but do not allow naysayers to derail you from your passion. Remember your Big Why, the heart of why you’ve chosen this path, focus on the people your product or service is going to help, and remember the path of any entrepreneur has always included being called crazy somewhere along the way. Think of the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, wasting their time out in the field building that ridiculous flying machine. Think of Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin by accident. No one thought Steve Jobs was changing the world when he built a computer in his parents garage, and Richard Branson’s headmaster told him he’ll likely wind up either rich or committed to an asylum. Every unhappiness is a new business, and if you have an idea that can make people’s lives better, just stay focused and don’t worry about sounding a little crazy.

Number Seven: Embrace Mistakes

Don’t try to avoid making mistakes, because they are inevitable. Instead try reframing the way you respond to mistakes, because lessons learned can earn billions. Steve Jobs said, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It’s best to learn from them quickly and get on with improving your innovations.” Every mistake has a lesson to offer, and if you’re open to it — those lessons can become the stepping stones to your success. The important thing is to just keep going. Keep trying new things, and don’t give up.

Number Eight: Eliminate Decision Fatigue

The average person makes around 35,000 decisions a day.

As an entrepreneur, a leader, and a business owner — you are likely faced with double that, or maybe even more, and this can lead to a form of burnout that is extremely common and widely unaddressed: Decision fatigue. Social Psychologist Roy Baumeister defines decision fatigue as: “The decline in the quality of our choices after we make too many decisions in a row.” This can result in otherwise avoidable setbacks, mental fog, and feeling overwrought and overwhelmed on a daily basis. Help yourself out with decision fatigue by planning your day out the night before. Keep low-stakes decisions such as what to eat or what to wear as simple as possible. Many famous entrepreneurs are known to scale down on their decision-making by wearing the same thing everyday. Dr. Dre mentions in his HBO 2017 documentary series that he only wears Nike Air Force 1’s. Barack Obama only wears either a grey suit, or a blue one. Steve Jobs would always wear a black turtleneck, jeans, and New Balance sneakers. Their reasons are all about wasting less time and conserving energy. I’m not saying you have to wear the same thing everyday, but I am saying that as an entrepreneur, your time and energy is of tremendous value, and preventing decision fatigue is a simple and highly underrated way to conserve both.

Number Nine: Be an Expert in Human Happiness

Again, every unhappiness is a new business. As an entrepreneur, your ability to identify the things that make life difficult, and then create a solution that makes lives better is your own secret sauce. It’s what sets you apart from the rest of the world. So cultivate that ability. Become an idea machine, noting anywhere you recognize a consistent source of unhappiness. Because your unique entrepreneurial insight into the things that make life difficult, can become your next million dollar idea. All great entrepreneurs are experts in human happiness.

Number Ten: Have a Higher Purpose

If your only purpose for being an entrepreneur is to make money, then you’re going to eventually hit a dead end. Basing your motivation on economics is just growth for growth’s sake, and that isn’t what creates value. Even in the early dawn of entrepreneurial pursuit — in Ancient Greece for example, as they invented, they did so thinking of how to improve life for others. They invented the Olympic Games, philosophy, cartography, and many other things all with the purpose of serving society. Today, in 2021, we want brands with a higher purpose. We want to feel good about ourselves for supporting brands that make people’s lives better. It’s easier for a brand with a higher purpose to gain traction because you are appealing right to the hearts of the people you wish to serve. Name your higher purpose, and reflect on the people who will benefit the most from your innovation. Reflect on your own story and share it vulnerably, so that others may join you in passionately making the world a better place through the expression of your brand.

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