Money is SymbolicFull Article
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Entrepreneurship demands specific mindsets about money.
Ask a friend this question—“what would you do with $1 million?”
Your friend will pause, look at the ceiling for a moment, repeat the question to themselves, and then say something like…
“Well, first thing I would do is plan a trip to Europe. I’ve always wanted to go, but I’ve never been able to afford it.”
“Downpayment on a new house. Definitely. We’ve outgrown our place and we’re ready for the forever home.”
Or, if they’re really savvy…
“First, I’d knock out all my debt. Then, I’d use half of what’s left to generate compound interest. Then, I’d see about a condo down in Florida.”
These responses are well and good. But they show that your friend is no entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur would instantly respond…
“I’d use it for the business.”
Translation—they’d use the money to make more money
Maybe they’d use the money to hire an ad agency to run a marketing campaign, driving revenue through the roof.
Maybe they’d use the money to hire more workers, exponentially increasing their ability to serve clients.
Maybe they’d use the money to purchase software or hire a third party to streamline their workflow, boosting their efficiency.
Everyone views money as a tool. It solves problems. Living in a house that’s too small? That’s a big problem. And money can easily solve it.
But entrepreneurs see money as a tool to earn even more money.
To start thinking like an entrepreneur, ask yourself this question—how can I use my money to start making more money? There are only a few answers to that question, and the right one will lead you down the path of starting your own business.
Every entrepreneur needs a problem to solve.
It’s more important than a business plan (though you need a business plan).
It’s more important than mentorship (though you DEFINITELY need mentorship).
It’s more critical to success than killer products, funding, or even skill.
All of those things are important pieces of the puzzle—some more so than others—but without a problem to solve, none of them matter.
Why? Because if there is no demand for your product, you’re guaranteed to fail. Almost no one will buy a product just to buy it.
In order to have demand, someone has to have a need that’s not being met. That’s why you need a problem.
Even the most outlandish luxury items solve problems—they make customers feel a certain way about themselves. They make people laugh, or feel successful, or feel wanted. And for many, that’s priceless.
Some businesses solve problems that people don’t even know they have. Did anyone before July, 1994 think that going to bookstores was a massive hassle? No! Well, except one person—Jeff Bezos. But it turns out his hunch was right. He solved a problem that no one was aware of, and has profited handsomely for it!
It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a side hustle or launching a startup. You must solve a problem. And the more demand your solution creates, the higher likelihood of success you’ll have.
So what should an entrepreneur do first? Find a problem! Ask yourself—or better yet, ask people around you—what kind of problems they have. What kinds of pains in their life do they wish would just go away? Is there a way to solve that problem with your skills and talents?
If so, congratulations—you’ve found a viable business opportunity.
Need an income boost, but not sure where to start? Then you need to encounter the Cash Flow Quadrant.
It’s a concept pioneered by Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame. And it’s one of the best explanations of creating income around.
Here’s what it looks like…
The employee and freelancer trade their time for money.
The entrepreneur and investor create or purchase income generating assets.
Think about what an employee does. They show up, punch in, and work for a set number of hours. In exchange, they either get paid by the hour or a set annual salary.
If they’re extra conscientious, they may get a raise or bonus as a reward. But their income is entirely dependent on the good graces and success of their boss. They never directly enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The same is true for the freelancer. Sure, they enjoy greater independence than an employee, but they’re still trading their time for money. Think of them as a mercenary rather than a soldier.
Compare that with the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur creates a system for delivering a service that’s duplicatable.
Let’s say you start a lemonade stand. You put up a few bucks to buy some lemons, sugar, cups, a cooler, and stand. It’s a risk—there’s no guarantee that’ll find any customers.
Fortunately, it’s a hit—the neighbors line up to enjoy your refreshing beverage!
After a few days, you’re swimming in cash. In fact, you earn enough to open another lemonade stand. So you buy the same supplies, and hire a friend to run the new location. Just like that, you’ve scaled your lemonade business.
Eventually, you have so many lemonade stands that you don’t have to manage one yourself. Instead, through initiative and upfront commitment, you’ve created an income stream. That’s how entrepreneurship works.
But now suppose that a friend comes along. She’s been eyeing your success and wants in. She’ll put up the cash to open another ten lemonade stands across the neighborhood (it’s a BIG neighborhood).
In exchange, she gets a slice of the profits from all the stands. She takes on some risk by giving you money in exchange for some income. In other words, she’s an investor. She’s using her money to earn more money.
There are two critical points to notice about the entrepreneur and the investor.
They take risks. Starting a business is a risk. Giving money to an entrepreneur is a risk. Being an employee is consistent—you give X amount of time, you get X amount of money. Entrepreneurs and investors commit resources to projects with no guarantee of success.
They have far greater potential. There are only so many hours you can trade for money. When successful, entrepreneurs and investors have far more resources at their disposal to trade for money.
Simply put, entrepreneurs and investors face greater risks, and greater potential rewards.
Which quadrant generates most of your income? Is there a quadrant you would like to explore further?
Let’s face it—a side gig sounds like a dream come true. What’s not to love about being your own boss?
But if working for yourself is so awesome, why do so few take the plunge?
The reason is simple—uncertainty.
It makes sense. School taught you how to scribble notes and pass tests, not start a business.
And that uncertainty creates anxiety.
Picture yourself as a business owner. What would it look like?
If you’re like many, you saw flashes of expensive cars, meetings, and… nothing. Entrepreneurship is such a foreign experience that you don’t even know how to process it.
And that leads to the ultimate uncertainty—what if you fail?
What will others think if your business goes under? How will you feel about yourself? Will you be able to pay the bills?
In short, entrepreneurship feels like a black box of something that’s best left alone.
Sound familiar? There are two antidotes to the uncertainty of entrepreneurship…
1. Embrace uncertainty.
The next time you feel a twinge of fear, pause. What are you afraid of happening? What could go wrong? Maybe it’s something valid. Or likely, it’s something you can overcome. Train yourself to observe and question your fear. You’ll grow more and more confident taking calculated risks. You may even find yourself ready to start a part-time side hustle!
2. Find support.
Facing uncertainty is far easier when you’re surrounded by support. Friends, family, and mentors can provide an emotional safety net should things go south. They can also offer wisdom and counsel that can mean the difference between success and failure.
Where do you stand on entrepreneurship? Do you want to start a business, but can’t see what it would look like?
If so, let’s chat. Consider me your sounding board for your anxieties about the transition from employee to entrepreneur. I can help you process your fears and flesh out a vision for your business.
The goal of this article is to empower you to take bold action.
You want to increase your income and be your own boss. Who doesn’t? You just need the practical know-how to overcome your fear and start the journey.
So turn off the YouTube videos and fire up Google Docs. Here’s how to choose the right side gig for you.
Step 1: List your hobbies. Passions make excellent side gigs. Why? Because they leverage skills you already have, and likely command your attention and interest. Those are critical ingredients for success.
It doesn’t matter how niche or strange your hobby might be. Write it down. In fact, the more oddball your interest, the more potential you may have more monetizing it.
Step 2: Evaluate the market. Simply put, can your skills solve a widespread problem? If so, then you have a potential client base at your fingertips.
Those problems may not seem obvious at first. But you will certainly be surprised by what people will pay for.
Not knowing how to play an instrument is a huge problem for music lovers.
Lacking time to decorate and organize is a huge problem for type A personalities.
Social Media illiteracy is a huge problem for older people starting small businesses.
All of those problems are opportunities to boost your income, if you have the skills to solve them. It just takes some time and creativity to identify problems.
Step 3: Size up the competition. But here’s the catch—there might be hundreds, or even thousands, of others seeking to solve the same problems as you. In fact, your competitors might have a stranglehold on your target market.
However, if your skills or niche are highly specific you could have a rare opportunity on your hands. You could eventually scale your side gig income to replace your day job!
This leads to a critical principle for deciding which side gig is right for you…
Opportunity lies at the intersection of high demand and low supply.
The more people demand a service, and the fewer competitors already providing it, the greater your likelihood of success.
There’s just one factor left to consider…
Step 4: Weigh costs against rewards. Starting a business requires a combination of time, effort, and money. No exceptions. The question is whether—and when—the rewards will outweigh the costs.
Starting a car manufacturing business? Good luck—you’ll require a huge amount of capital, and won’t see profits for years.
Refurbing curb-side furniture with tools and skills your grandpa left you? Hats off—your start up costs are almost zero, beyond some time and energy.
In summary, you want a side gig that…
• Aligns with your skills and passions
• Solves a major problem for many people
• Lacks competitors
• Offers high rewards with small costs
Which side gig fits that bill for you? Whatever it is, let’s chat about it. We can discuss what it would look like for you to start pursuing it today.
Starting your own business can be a challenge.
It will test your talents, your mental toughness, and your ability to adapt. And those tests—if you pass them—can spark extraordinary growth.
Here are four ways entrepreneurship will change you.
You’ll develop self reliance.
Entrepreneurs need to learn to solve their own problems, or fail. They don’t have a team to handle the daily grind of running a business.
Instead, new entrepreneurs handle everything from product development to accounting. It’s a stressful and high stakes juggling game.
But it can teach you a critical lesson: You’re far more resourceful than you thought. You’ll learn to stop waiting for help and start looking for solutions.
You’ll discover loyal friends.
One of the downsides of entrepreneurship is that it may expose toxic people in your circle. They’re the ones who might…
▪ Mock your new career
▪ Feel threatened by your success
▪ Try to one-up you when you share struggles
As you and your business grow, you may need to limit your interactions with them. They might be too draining on your emotional resources to justify long-term relationships.
Rather, your circle should reflect values like positivity, encouragement, and inspiration. Those new friends will support you through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.
You’ll learn how to manage stress.
Late nights, hard deadlines, and high stakes are the realities for entrepreneurs.
To cope, you must build a toolkit of skills that can carry you through the hardest times. Otherwise, you may crack under the pressure and lose any progress you’ve made.
It comes down to one key question: Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?
Are you driven by insecurity? Or by vision?
If you’re trying to prove a point to yourself or others with your business, you may fall apart at the first hint of failure.
If you’re driven by vision, you’ll see failure as part of the process.
Examine your motivations. Over time, you’ll grow more aware of your insecurities. Talk about them with your friends, families, and mentors. As you bring them into the light, you may find they have less and less power.
Entrepreneurship can spark an explosion of professional personal growth. You’ll grow up. You may start with an employee mindset, but you’ll mature into a leader. That’s how entrepreneurship will change you.
P.S. If this seems daunting, start with a side hustle. It can ease you into the role of entrepreneurship without throwing you into the deep end too soon!
We’ve all probably heard someone talk on social media about their “hustle” or “side gig.”
It’s in style; and it makes sense—and cents? Gigs are now just a click or tap away on most of our devices, and a little extra money never hurts! Here are a few things to consider when starting up a side hustle.
What are your side hustle goals? We typically think of a side hustle as being an easy way to score a little extra cash. But they can sometimes be gateways into bigger things. Do you have skills that you’d like to develop into a full time career? A passion that you can turn into a business? Or do you just need some serious additional income to pay down debt? These considerations can help you determine how much time and money you invest into your gig and what gigs to pursue.
What are your marketable skills? Some gigs don’t require many skills beyond a serviceable car and a driver’s license. But others can be great outlets for your hobbies and skills. Love writing? Start freelancing on your weekends. Got massive gains from hours at the gym and love the outdoors? Start doing moving jobs in your spare time. You might be surprised by the demand for your passions!
Keep it reasonable. Burnout is no joke. Some people thrive on 80 hour work weeks between jobs and side hustles, but don’t feel pressured to bite off more than you can chew. Consider how much you’re willing to commit to your gigs and don’t exceed that limit.
One great thing about side hustles is their flexibility. You choose your level of commitment, you find the work, and your success can depend on how much you put in. Consider your goals and inventory your skills to get there—and start hustling!