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Business Mentality: Entrepreneur Mindset

What truly goes on in the mind of an Entrepreneur? Think you may be one? Here are some things to think about before you put this title on your business card. Let’s get real. What does it take to own the kick-ass entrepreneur mindset it takes to make a business succeed? How does the best of the best in your field do it? (HINT #1: It’s not about the fortune, the fame, the recognition or the wins. AT ALL.)

Recognize Your Personality Trait of the Entrepreneur Mindset

The entrepreneurial mindset is nurtured, grown, then owned, through experience with what other people call “Failure”. This blog is about what goes on when the crap hits the fan. So ask yourself this:

  • What would make you throw in the towel and wander back into crowd mentality?
  • When is it OK to play small and let someone dictate your hours?
  • What would be a reason to give up and just go with the flow?

(HINT #2: If you call yourself an entrepreneur, the answer had better be NOTHING.)

That’s because what goes on at the core of an entrepreneur is drive. Passion, dictated by a drive to be better. To do better. To make, create, or build something better than the current answer in today’s society. Failure at one thing is simply called “Market Research” to an entrepreneur. It’s how changes and improvements can be made.

Sound noble? It’s not. It can be effing exhausting. I speak to this because I am one. An entrepreneur. And honestly, I don’t feel exhausted most of the time. I feel elated and energized. Sickeningly so. After all, I’m doing what I love. Until the crap truly hits the fan, that is. That’s when I wonder what the hell I’m doing in business. Next, I scoop myself up off the floor where I got knocked on my ass and assess the situation, prioritizing and straightening as I go. Lastly, I make a list of things to rework while thinking, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Fun, right?

Being around an entrepreneur can be exhausting, too. Just ask my family, friends, kids, and husband. They’ve peppered me with questions like, “Why won’t you let this hair-brained idea go?” and “Isn’t the product or service good enough as it is?” and “Just come to bed, already! It’s two (or three, or four) in the morning!” I do answer my dear loved ones’ questions. Usually, with, “Are you effing kidding me? Why is a just-enough product or service fine with you?!?!”

I’m astounded that they don’t want to stay up with me until two in the morning, strategically planning the next round of improvements for my business. (Remember, these improvements aren’t referred to as “failures.” I call them blind spots and know I’ve knocked that specific version of my vision off the fence and into the “it’s been one hell of a ride” bin.)

But whether a person is an entrepreneur, or is in a relationship with someone who is one, it can be intense. Which is why this blog is geared toward people who are wondering if being in business is for them. They should hear what really happens when your passion drives your life.

Getting to the Nitty Gritty of the Entrepreneur Mindset

I could talk to you about the in’s and out’s of being an entrepreneur. Questions to address would be things like:

  • What qualifies you?
  • Where does your passion or drive take you?
  • What is the cause (bigger than yourself) that you leap out of bed for?

But this article does all that in 25 common characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs, so go read it after you’ve read mine. (AFTER you’ve read mine, ya hear me?)

This topic is about the nitty-gritty. It’s about what goes on in the mind and guts of an entrepreneur when there isn’t success. When an article is not being written about your life, you are working harder than anyone you know, and you just want your GD business to succeed when nobody else seems to care.

What would keep you going THEN? I’ve learned that there are many different ways to satisfy the entrepreneurial bug. Mine just happens to be writing at all hours of the day or night. Articles, blogs, books, business content. It comes down to a connection with whoever reads the piece, and when topics are ignored or brushed under the rug, or when content is done badly, it’s more than a job, it’s a tragedy and a waste. So I’ll go ahead and take that on.

It’s still the same damn thing, though. The drive to make things better than you see them now. It doesn’t occur to an entrepreneur to half-ass a project, a business venture, or a goal. And because of that, there are going to be days that blow. Other people will clock out at 5 pm and know that someone will take over. But you stay and clean up and make the place shine. You will deal with the crap when others won’t.

Problems To Consider in the Entrepreneur Mindset

Here are some common problems that plague the entrepreneur mindset regularly:

  • The bank account doesn’t reflect the work put in for that month
  • 10-hour meeting marathon days.
  • Constant self-doubt, or as I like to say, “Who am I to tell another person how to solve their problem?” and “How dare I stand out, be awesome, and kick ass?”
  • Self-doubt creeps in to say, “I’m good. But am I good enough?”  
  • The ping-pong beliefs of wanting to stay in the crowd for comfort and warmth, and standing out because we can’t stand being a lemming.
  • Knowing down deep that we know how to Do. It. Better. There is a better way. We just have to figure it out.

So own that part of entrepreneurship, my friend, if you’re going to take this on. Stand in it. Stand there with the messy hair, the fuzzy teeth from two days without a toothbrush, the tear-streaked face that highlights those who don’t stop. Stand in it and own that day, or week, or month. Own the loneliness and chaos and the messiness that comes when others clock out. Be okay with it because the flip side always comes.

The Flip Side of the Entrepreneur Mindset

The flip side of those chaotic times in the entrepreneur mindset always comes the next day, week or month, by the way. The worse it is on the chaos day, the better it is on the other side. Those are the times where you are walking on air. The deal goes right. People flood into the room or onto your phone or into your email to let you know they are interested in what you’ve got to give. And it’s this part that carries an entrepreneur through the hard times.

Think of this part as an entrepreneur’s gambling tendencies. Or investor tendencies. We hit it big once or twice, and we become addicted to the high. Then we do it all again. For good or bad, that’s what it feels like. The good news about this obsession is the commitment to the win. The bad news is that a person with these characteristics will ride a sinking ship all the way to the depths if they don’t have a smidgen of common sense. Business sense. Or a solid exit strategy. (HINT #3: Balance your passion and drive with business sense, a proven mentor, and an exit strategy. Otherwise, you are truly just a dreamer.)

I’m an entrepreneur because I can’t NOT be one. Strategy, building, and seeing dreams come to fruition is my happy place. On my worst, most beat up day, it’s still not an option to play small, go along to get along and let others tell me my worth. Even when I break my own heart, and am in tears in a puddle on the floor from the frustration and heartache, I’m doing what I love. The chaos and tears are part of the price paid to follow your drive and your passion. You have to be okay with that, too, because that’s what comes as part of the entrepreneurial job/mentality/role.

What I’ve Learned So Far About the Entrepreneur Mindset

In a nutshell, I’ve learned to recognize my personality traits, my processes, and my habits. Then I’ve learned be willing to talk about them. It’s the only way I know of to check myself, get better, and look back on milestones with fondness.

As you decide whether this mania sounds like you, remember this: You are not alone in the mindset. Nobody talks about going through the highs and lows, but entrepreneurs do this roller coaster ride every day.

We ALL do this because it is the price of being a business owner. Talking about the struggle is a way to know that we are not alone. The more we are stoic and silent about the hard part, the more we are isolated and miss out on ideas about how to overcome the chaos. Also, when we shut up about the hard stuff, we aren’t being real and honest or authentic. (HINT #4: If you aren’t authentic, then your business isn’t authentic. So be willing to be real, make mistakes, and own them.)

Now is the time to go back to that link I provided. Go check it out and decided if you are willing to lean into the exhaustion and risk, knowing you will mix a grin with some tears on your face. If this is NOT you, that’s okay! You can still experience success as a business owner! Do you have different characteristics than those of an entrepreneur? Come back next week. I’ll be writing about the mindset of the Independent Contractor. And let me know your chaos stories and examples. (After all, who doesn’t love knowing they’re not alone?)