The internet is full of tips and tricks that promise instant success. Ways to build a business overnight and double your income. There are enough success stories to sell budding entrepreneurs a multitude of products and programs, but the majority of people are not going to build a thriving business overnight. Being a successful entrepreneur is hard work, just like anything else you want to be successful in life.
So how do you cut through all of the noise and figure out how to actually succeed, meet your goals, and build a sustainable and rewarding life? There are many paths you can take but I am going to walk through three keys that have been essential and repeatable for myself and other successful entrepreneurs. By keeping these three keys in mind as you walk through your own journey you will build your business with intention and will know how to navigate through the inevitable bumps.
We will break down how to define what success means for you, why it is important to always have a plan, and why knowing when to cut your losses will be one of the most essentials keys to your longterm success.
Define your success
The very first key to becoming successful in anything you want to pursue in life is to define what success means. Not what you think success should mean or what someone else thinks it means. You must have a clear and unique definition of success for yourself.
Many people start their entrepreneur journey focused on money. The ultimate measure is how much money they are making. But is money truly the root of why they started? If you are in this mindset, I encourage you to start digging a little deeper. Making money is great, but it is not a great end goal or measure of success. It is not going to keep you motivated when a launch doesn’t go as well as you planned. Or when the market just isn’t looking great. When sales are down and you’re not sure why.
What usually happens when you start defining success and digging into why you want to be an entrepreneur is you realize that the money is actually just a tool to do the important stuff in your life. Don’t get sucked into the money game when what you really want to do is raise your kids and coach soccer or you want to go on epic vacations or travel the world. There is a huge difference between earning a lot of money and knowing what to do with it and building your ideal lifestyle. Knowing what true success looks like for you will keep you grounded and focused when the road gets tough.
Have a Plan
The next key might seem obvious, but it is so often ignored. You absolutely must have a plan. For everything. I see so many entrepreneurs stuck in really tough situations because they failed to have a plan. And it is easy to do when you have this great idea and someone wants to invest. You get swept up in the excitement and just want to get things started. Everything feels fast and furious and sitting down to plan for the unexpected isn’t very glamorous.
So you push it off and just piece things together as you go. Which often works well enough in the early days. The problem is there is no system in place. There is no true, intentional plan. So when the time comes to grow and scale your business the cracks begin to show.
Now, this doesn’t mean you get stuck in a spiral of “what if’s” and never get started. You will never be able to anticipate everything. Having a plan means studying the environment. Be intentional and build a solid foundation. Know where you are starting and have a plan for where you are heading. Plans can (and should) be adjusted as you learn more and grow. You aren’t bound to what your original idea is, but you at least have direction and focus when you make this a priority from the very beginning.
Know when to cut your losses
The last key might seem counterintuitive at first. Why do you need to know when to cut your losses if the goal is to become a successful entrepreneur? I get it. Winning is exciting, losing sucks. Having a failed relationship or business is the stuff of nightmares, but it also puts you where you are today. It doesn’t mean you should walk around trying to fail, but it does build character. And knowing how to and being open to recognizing when something isn’t working can help you identify the issue earlier and potentially save you time, money, and heartache by pulling the plug before it pulls you down too far.
Cutting off the failures allows you to stay focused on what is working. You remove the low performing projects and free up resources for projects that are already succeeding or for new ideas. Now, this isn’t easy, especially when you’re first starting out. But this is business. Not everything is going to work out. The sooner you can learn to remove your emotion and ego, the faster you will become successful.
A great way to step outside of the emotional space is to map out what will happen if you continue down the same road. Look at the data. What happens if you keep putting time, money, and energy into this business? Is it making money? Is it helping you reach your goals or work towards your definition of success? Evaluate how the hole you’re digging is affecting your personal life. Your family? Learn to be brutally honest in with yourself in business so you can cut your losses early and shift to what is truly working.
Each of our paths is different and there are infinite ways to reach our goals. But by defining what success looks like for you, always having a plan, and learning when to cut your losses you will stay focused and ensure your path leads to a life that is intentional and successful.