The Best Piece of Advice Aspiring Entrepreneurs Never Hear
I experience this strange moment every few weeks. It just hits me out of nowhere. I look around at everything I see and I realize something profound.
We live in a world full of the products of entrepreneurs — from the mega-billion or trillion-dollar companies behind the smartphones we use to the companies that produce random parts of products everywhere in the world.
Let’s see what’s observable in front of me at my desk right now.
There’s a notebook. Someone owns this notebook company and probably makes a handsome living from this banal product.
There’s the pen that I use to write notes on that notebook. Someone owns that company as well.
I see some bracelets that I bought from H&M. Another idea from a human’s brain. I love bracelets and I get ads for them on Facebook all the time. There are thousands of people who own these small e-commerce brands online.
There’s a copy of my book which is a product that I sell. I’m wearing Nike shorts. There’s a case for my MacBook from some random company I don’t even know the name of, the owner of which probably makes a handsome living too.
Ok, so what’s the point?
The Idea Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Needs to Rid Themselves Of
The best advice entrepreneurs never here is simple. You don’t need to be a genius innovator to start a successful business. Nor do you need to have an idea nobody has ever thought of.
Too many aspiring entrepreneurs think they need to have sexy, brilliant, perfect, super profitable ideas to be successful.
Sure, I mentioned companies like Nike and Facebook, but for every huge and famous company, there are thousands of smaller or ‘bland’ ones that help someone make a great living.
The next time you’re in the grocery store, go to the bottled water aisle. There are dozens of different companies selling water — something you can get from the tap at your own house! Talk about a ‘saturated’ market.
But each water brand does have a somewhat unique angle on basically the same product. You can find a unique angle for whatever you want to sell, too, but you have to sell it.
Too many people sit on the sidelines forever when there are many viable business ideas out there.
But all these ideas have the same things in common:
- The mental barrier to entry — Many people talk about ‘barrier to entry’ in terms of the competition of an industry, but the biggest barrier to entry is your own self-doubt. Most aspiring entrepreneurs do not bring themselves to actually create and attempt to sell a product, period.
- Get customers — You don’t have a business until you have customers. Again, acquiring customers puts you through that grinder of self-doubt and that’s why people avoid it. I won’t give you a full blog post on customer acquisition but it’s simple — find out where people who might want your product hang out, put your product in front of them and get them to buy it through persuasion and simply explaining the benefits of it.
- Iterate over time — You’ll never know everything upfront about your business, even if you’re in a well-known industry. Building a successful business takes time. You’re not guaranteed success for starting a business, but those who tend to stick with starting and seriously trying to maintain businesses for long enough, usually end up with a successful one.
Stop Falling for Entrepreneur Porn
The vast, vast majority of successful entrepreneurs are people you don’t know.
One of the most successful people in my city is a man who owns several dozen ServiceMaster franchises.
ServiceMaster is a cleaning company that does maid services, water, and fire damage restoration, mold removal, crime scene cleanup, and a bunch of other services you wouldn’t exactly call ‘sexy’
Did he have a grand vision and passion for cleaning and restoration? Or did he successfully capitalize on a proven franchise model by starting with one and owning more over time?
Now he owns multiple luxury apartment buildings in town. He definitely has an eight-figure net worth. And nobody knows who he is.
The point isn’t that you need to build an eight-figure business. The point is that you can build an amazing business in a non-sexy way.
I built my business around things I’m passionate about — communication, writing, content, media, marketing, etc. If you have a good idea of your strengths, talents, and passions, I do suggest going this route.
But, you could also just work at your job and buy rental properties with the money you save, or buy vending machines, or open a laundromat, or start an e-commerce brand selling fidget spinners.
You can find passion in business simply through the process of trying to figure out how to solve problems for people.
You can find passion in business by learning the marketing techniques it takes to connect with the hearts and minds of people.
Any business in any industry puts you through an entrepreneurial journey, which, while stressful, is a form of fun and joy in and of itself.
The Bottom Line
Start a business.
Try to sell someone something. Anything.
Stop waiting until you have the next billion-dollar idea because it ain’t coming.
Realize that these online business gurus driving Lamborghinis represent .00001% of entrepreneurs and that most of them are the ‘millionaire next door’ type who you’ll never even know are wealthy.
Understand that there are so many transactions going back and forth in society constantly and that all you have to do is start getting in between these transactions.
Get in the mix, somewhere, somehow, and then you have a business.
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