What is an entrepreneurial mindset? It’s when you not only decide to start your own business, but you set yourself up for the success of that business. It’s the difference between teens who start a website and hope it works, versus young entrepreneurs like yourself who want to achieve something wonderful.
With an entrepreneurial mindset, you will find setbacks easier to tackle. You’ll put together a strong team and lead them to success. You’ll carve a path that disrupts the status quo and may change the world for the better.
Change your mindset and you will change your life.
Ready? Let’s go!
1. BE PROFESSIONAL
If you don’t take yourself and your business seriously, how will anyone else? From the second you decide to become a young entrepreneur, you need to think of yourself as a professional. Even if you don’t feel ready. Even if you have a million things to do before you get going. Even if you have zero expertise in the field. You are now a professional. Act like it. Think like it.
A professional mindset means separating your business persona from your personal one. Set up business-only social media accounts and email addresses. Don’t post your personal stuff on those: they are 100% business-only.
Remember that being a professional doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting paid – yet. There’s a common saying that goes, “Writers write.” This means that writers don’t call themselves “writers” when they get paid. They call themselves “writers” when they write something. You don’t need to wait for a sign, your first customer, or some other milestone to call yourself a professional. All you need is to set yourself up as a professional and act accordingly.
2. SUCCESS IS A GIVEN
Act as if your success is a fact, and it will be. How does that work?
When things get tough in your startup, keep going. No one wins by quitting. Giving up is the only true failure. Every time you hit an obstacle, consider it a learning experience. What has happened to cause this obstacle in your way? Is it fixable? If so, how will you fix it? If not, how will you get around it? Stay focused enough on your goal but be flexible enough to adapt to the unexpected.
Unless you have a deadline, don’t think of it as a race. The only competition you have is yourself. What did you do today to move the needle forward? Keep the momentum going. Even the smallest tasks will help you.
When you feel like giving up, show up anyway. Moods shift. Emergencies pass. Circumstances change. Keep working at your business no matter what. Shift your mentality from “this is too hard” to “this, too, shall pass.” Your success is just on the other side of your hard work and courage.
3. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Unlike adult entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs have a lot more on their plate than running a business. So start small and start slow. Focus on the one thing you do best. Make that product the very best it can be. Provide top-quality services to your neighbors. Whatever “it” is, give it your all.
Invest your time and money wisely. When something doesn’t move the needle for your business, move on.
Listen to your customers. Is there a common thread? In other words, is everyone telling you the same thing? Remember: customers are your business. They are paying you to do this thing. If they’re not happy, your business will suffer.
Rather than trying to be a “jack of all trades, master of none,” focus on being awesome at one thing. This may mean bringing in a team to help you out. That’s fine. If your best friend is a social media genius, let them work their magic while you focus on what you’re good at doing.
4. HOLD ON TO YOUR “WHY”
Why did you start this business? Why do you want to do this?
It is vital to your entrepreneurial mindset to remember your “why.” Your “why” is personal. Your “why” is your dream. It should get you up in the mornings and keep you motivated when business gets tough. Think of your “why” as the spark at the center of your business.
Your “why” will nudge you back on track when you lose sight of your goals. It’s that little voice inside your head that pushes you on when you lose momentum.
This startup of yours is the answer to your “why.” Adding it to your entrepreneurial mindset is key to building something you love.
When you’re excited about why you are doing this, others will catch on. They’ll want to help. They’ll be happy for you. You’ll create a culture of teamwork and goal-setting that drives your business toward the success you dream about.
5. ADAPT AND GROW
Stagnation kills entrepreneurship. It does. Stagnation will lie to you and tell you that nothing can be done to solve problems. It tells you that no one can change, nothing will get better, and you’ll never improve anything.
Who needs that?
A growth mindset is the opposite of stagnation. When you set your brain to see everything as an opportunity for adaptability and growth, you open new doors of possibility. And what’s entrepreneurship if not embracing the possible? Entrepreneurs don’t say, “This can’t be done.” They ask themselves, “How can I do this?” Better yet, they tell the world, “Watch this.”
Growth means there is no ceiling, no limit to what you can accomplish. Keep reaching higher and higher. Find workarounds if you need to. The words “can’t” and “impossible” should not be in your entrepreneurial vocabulary. If you can dream it, you can accomplish it.
Your business won’t take off and succeed overnight. Stay adaptable to changes in your circumstances as well as what’s happening in the outside world. Having the patience to adapt will make a huge difference in whether your business succeeds or fails.
THE BOTTOM LINE
What do these mindset traits have in common? Self-confidence. Believe in yourself and your business, and your entrepreneurial mindset will be your ticket to greatness!
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation’s commitment to young entrepreneurs, including our college scholarships for high school students, by clicking here.