So you want to start your own venture and you have done your research. You are aware of the key skills required to run your venture successfully. You have made progress, that’s the good news. However, you lack the skills required.
So, what can you do? Be confused and give up, right?
You think the successful entrepreneur possessed great entrepreneur skills when they started, but you lack them.
- Is entrepreneurship an inborn skill or can be learned?
- The challenges with learning new skills for your venture:
- Overcoming the learning challenges:
- Conclusion with an exercise
Is entrepreneurship an inborn skill or can be learned?
The countless articles on the internet suggest that successful entrepreneurs had extraordinary talent. But guess what? In reality, successful people started off like you and me. They had the desire to succeed, the patience to put in hard work and the courage to take a few calculated risks.
I am writing a set of posts that will help you start your business step by step. You are currently on the second step. In the first step, you learned how to understand your business area by research and socializing. In this step, you will learn how to improve your skills over
Examples of successful people who learned their way from minimal knowledge
Most billionaires did not everything when they began. In fact, no one knows everything about their own business and no one ever will. Sure, experience adds a lot of valuable knowledge but there is always a scope to know more. You do not need to know everything to begin.
Sylvester Stallone had no acting or writing experience before he wrote and starred in the Rocky movies. Starbucks used to sell premium coffee beans before they turned into a coffee shop giant.
Behind every famous success story is an unknown story of sacrifice, effort, and learning. No one started as an expert. Each one of them honed their skill over time. Just like you cannot learn swimming without being willing to get your feet wet, you cannot master a skill without being willing to challenge yourself to learn.
The challenges with learning new skills for your venture:
When you plan to start your venture, you might find too many things to learn about. As a result, you will face the following challenges:
Setting up a venture involves accounting, set up formalities, hiring employees, looking after operations and so on. You might find it scary to learn it all. You feel like a fresher out of college thrown into a complex project to work on.
Since your knowledge is limited and you do not have enough time to learn, you decide to give up.
Not enough time:
If you already have a full-time job, you get a few hours to spare in a day. You believe a few hours a day do not suffice to pull it off.
Once you get home, you feel you must relax after a long day. You believe an hour of learning will not make any difference. Since the learning involved is immense, you assume an hour a day would take you nowhere.
Therefore, you do not even start.
Not sure how to learn:
For example, if you have to learn accounting, you do not know where to begin. The online articles give you varied information on the same topic. You are not sure which one to digest and which one to ignore.
The information seems hard to understand. The first few articles you read scare you further that you know nothing about starting your own business. You think it is not your cup of tea to learn entrepreneurship.
I know it already:
Most entrepreneurs begin with a good amount of confidence and a load of overconfidence of knowing it all. You might assume how difficult can budgeting or managing people or setting up operations really be.
Since all these areas of a business seem trivial and plain commonsense, you believe you already are smart enough to perform well.
Overcoming the learning challenges:
Almost every entrepreneur goes through these challenges when starting off. You can tackle and solve each one of them.
Make learning less overwhelming:
When starting off, you might feel the necessity to learn every aspect of the business from accounting to hiring to managing operations. Though you need to wear various hats as an entrepreneur, you do not need to learn every area.
You only have a few hours a day. Use them with care. Consider getting in a partner who can cover the gap if it is a major area.
For example, if your forte is selling and you have an idea for a software product, bringing an expert programmer as a partner could ease the pressure for you. Bring in partners only for the key component of your business. For example, in most businesses, you do not need a partner just to manage social media.
A lot of the work can and should be outsourced instead of doing it all yourself. Your time is as valuable as money, if not more. Moreover, a lot of services are available at cheap prices online. Find them and use them.
What do you think is cheaper in value? Is it your learning accounts for 3 months or paying an accountant a reasonable fee? Similarly, if you are running a blog, it is cheaper to have a virtual assistant do the admin work for you while you focus on the areas which need your time.
Not enough time:
How you manage your time will determine how fast you progress. You can easily state your schedule is busy and you have no energy to spare in the evening.
But all these are only excuses. Only you can find a way to make time on your schedule. Watching Netflix, scrolling news feed time and again, reading group messages consume a lot of your time on a daily basis.
Ask yourself if meaningless social media/Netflix matters more to you or the joy of achieving your dreams? You and I waste more time than we think we do, on useless things which only provide instant gratification. Evaluating how much time you waste will tell you the real story of how you spend your time. Complete the activity and cut down on all time-wasting habits.
Your distractions at work lead to time wasted too. For example, the constant checking of social media or notifications kills your focus. To make up for the lost focus, you put in more time. Working with intense focus and no distractions will help you cut down the distractions, complete work faster and spare you some time to learn the skills you need for the venture.
At every moment, look out for opportunities to save time. Implement the tactics of the millionaires to identify small slots to save time.
When it comes to time, only you can help yourself. Like a horse can only be lead to water but not forced to drink, books, blogs and I can only suggest tips to make more time. Unless you practice them, your schedule will remain the same.
Not sure how to learn:
Making more time is only one area, utilizing the time well makes all the difference. Don’t learn anything and everything you find. Spend time picking the right things to learn.
Reading some random book you found for free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited is a stupid way of learning. I have read enough of them and most of them hardly added any value.
The internet is full of information these days, both good and bad. Finding the right content is key. If not, you will waste a ton of time. Can you master the stock market by reading articles online? Unlikely.
Stop looking only for free content. You can buy valuable books at a price lower than what you splurge on a pizza. You can purchase great courses on Udemy at the price you pay for a large peg of scotch which you gulp down in a few minutes.
Be willing to shell out some money to learn. Reviews and recommendations from your research with fellow entrepreneurs will help. Ask your 5 contacts what should you learn and the best learning source. Do not be a miser finding free books and courses alone. The money you spend on learning will pay you back a hundredfold. I guarantee you.
Another great way to learn is to find a mentor. You can either find a mentor by paying for one online. You can look up mentors by your country and region online.
Again, mentors can be expensive but worth every penny. Your learning will speed up like a Lamborghini with the pedal to the metal. You can also find a mentor by fostering relationships over LinkedIn or other niche websites. Many successful people will mentor for free but given their limited time, they will only mentor selectively. Make a good impression and you get a mentor for life.
Being humble enough to accept that you do not know it all
The sooner you keep your ego under check and accept that you have to learn, the lesser mistakes you will make. There are countless entrepreneurs who assume they are smart enough to rule the world only to burn their fingers due to mistakes. I am one of them.
My ego has led me down the road of disasters. Take my word for it and Stay Humble and Stay Foolish. I have learned the hard way and I wish you do not tread the same path.
Even if you are really smart and intelligent, without experience you will make a wrong decision, put the wrong foot forward or move in the wrong direction. The effort you put in towards learning will minimize your mistakes which will bite you and maximize your chances of success.
The mathematical relationship between Ego and Results: Results = X*1/Ego
Your ego and results are inversely proportional. The bigger your ego, the smaller your results.
I know that I know nothingSocrates
The learning will seem hard when you begin. You might find it not your cup of tea and might want to give up. But do not give up at least for a few months. Trust me, with time, your skill will seem natural.
When you first learned driving you felt you had to focus on the gear, the clutch, the mirror, the steering. Once you learned driving, today you drive without conscious. Learning any new skill works the same way. Believe in the effort and trust the journey.
Conclusion with an exercise
The exercise for learning has already been summarized. The purpose of the exercise is to learn the skills required to start your business little by little.
It consists of 3 steps:
1. Perform the activity of evaluating your time. Find where you are wasting time and cut it down.
2. Use the time spared to learn what you lack to start your venture. Start with a modest target of 1 hour a day and sneak in more and more when you get the hang of your schedule. Ask your fellow entrepreneurs about what should you learn.
3. Pick a course, book or a mentor to improve your skill. Be disciplined to carry on with the effort for a long time. A rookie mistake is to give up when the learning seems hard.
4. Keep learning on a daily basis(5 working days a week) and persist. Do not give up at the first hurdle.
5. Stay humble. No matter how good you are, know that you still have a lot to learn. There is no saturation in education.
If you have the discipline to persist, learning will happen over time. If you give up because you encountered a difficulty, you cannot achieve the required skill.
97% of people in the world, work for the other 3% who refused to give up.
Your learning will take you on a rollercoaster ride. If you are scared of the challenge involved, you can step out of it before it starts and miss out on the excitement of the ride.
In the next article you will learn how to prepare a budget to plan your initial investment, monthly expenses, your cash inflow and outflow, profits, buffer costs, optimal break even duration and more.
I would love to know your experience of learning a new skill. Leave a comment on what went well and what challenges did you face. I will help you with your challenges to the best of my ability.
Maxim Dsouza has spent over a decade experimenting and finding various time management techniques to improve his productivity. He strongly understands the fact that time is a limited commodity and tries to make every second count. He has extensive experience in leadership in startups, small businesses, and large corporations.
He has helped people of different professions and age groups gain clarity on their goals, improve focus, revise their time management skills and develop an awareness of their psychological cognitive biases.