How to think like an entrepreneur #blindpost

by Jeff Hilimire on August 20, 2013

This is a blindpost based on the article, How to think like an entrepreneur. Per the blindpost rules I did not read the post before I wrote this, but rather used the title and wrote my own post.

Thinking like an entrepreneur can be a both a blessing and a curse for someone that works for other people. I’ve often worked with the leaders in my company to try to get them to think more like entrepreneurs because the more they can do that, the more they can break through the “politics” and barriers that get thrown in their face. This recommendation – to think like an entrepreneur – can be so polarizing that its the thing I say the most that pisses people off.

In a related post, Think like an entrepreneur and nothing can stop you, I stressed that the biggest advantage of thinking like an entrepreneur was realizing that almost everything is under your control and for those things that aren’t, you can control how you react to them and formulate a plan of attack for the next time you run into them. This is a mindset that I have found very helpful along my career.

Here are some ways you can start to think like an entrepreneur:

Forget the rules

Rules serve a purpose but let’s face it, they were created to control pre-determined outcomes and large groups of people. History was never made by people who followed the rules. Likewise, I’d say major change or innovation was never created by people who follow the rules. The rules can be a guide but if you want to move mountains you have to have the confidence to break the rules from time to time.

Overcome your fear of risk

Entrepreneurs – check that, successful entrepreneurs – are less afraid of risk than normal people. We take chances and know that failure is a part of what it takes to be successful. You can’t break the rules if you’re constantly worried about the consequences. At some point you have to have confidence in both your ability to succeed and make the right decision AND your ability to rebound if it doesn’t work.

Grow thicker skin

If you’re an entrepreneur then you are very familiar with being told how ugly your baby is. You’re well aware of how likely you are to fail, how you have no experience, and how the team you’ve assembled isn’t going to cut it. You start to embrace rejection because its necessary. When I was growing my business back in the early 2000’s, I was probably rejected by half a dozen banks for simple loans and I was given every reason under the sun on why my business would fail. “You’re too young”, is one I heard A LOT. In fact, a client told me I was too young to earn their business even though they loved our work!

If you’re going to act like an entrepreneur at work and try to accomplish great things, you’re going to have detractors. You’re going to have people that do nothing but talk sh*t about you behind your back. It comes with the territory and you’re going to need to shrug that stuff off and keep kicking butt.

What else? What are other ways that people can start to think like an entrepreneur?

~ if you liked this blindpost, here are more you can check out. And a handful of my friends will suggest blindposts for me to write from time to time, please feel free to do that too!

  • Mr. Ed

    Nothing motivates me more than someone telling me “you can’t do that!”. My response always is “WATCH ME.”

  • EJ

    Interesting timing on this topic…been in a Steve Jobs phase for the last few weeks. Have watched the ‘Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview’ on Netflix several times and can highly recommend that interview from 1995 when Jobs was growing NeXT. And if you have seen it, watch it again…compelling. Had my 11 year old son watch it and he was engaged for the whole 72 minutes.

    Then came across a Guy Kawasaki message given to entrepreneurs on October 6, 2011…a day after Jobs passed away. Kawasaki scrapped his original topic and instead presented ‘Steve Jobs’ Top 12 Lessons for Entrepreneurs’ to the audience that day…also a recommended watch.

    My top 3 lessons for entrepreneurs from Guy’s list of 12:

    1) Jump curves, not better sameness (or just solid incremental improvement) – Nice analogy using ice industry and the radical changes (or distinct ‘curves’) over the decades…brings the analogy home with his reference of Ice 3.0.

    2) The biggest challenges beget the best work – no explanation required

    3) ‘Work’ or ‘doesn’t work’ is all that matters – company’s get in trouble when they overcomplicate this or develop blind spots based on past success.

    Bonus Lesson – This lesson is what I would consider the MVL (Most Valuable Lesson) not only for entrepreneurs but even for, no especially for, the ‘prairie dog’ on the 15th floor who is dying to engage and plug into a team who is working on something bigger than themselves.

    **Some things need to be believed to be seen** (I didn’t flip-flop the saying…it’s correct according to Jobs)

  • Jeff Hilimire

    Wow, fantastic response EJ and something all entrepreneurs should read. Thanks!

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