If you've ever thought of throwing in the towel at work and going out on your own but were afraid to take the risk, a new report released today isn't going to help. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2015 U.S. Report released by Babson College, total entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. fell 2 percentage points last year, down from 14 percent in 2014 to 12 percent in 2015.
Although fewer people are starting their own businesses, the fact is that becoming an entrepreneur is one of the best decisions you can make. In fact, don't even pay attention to this new report or any statistics about starting a business, because they're only going to discourage you.
There are 10 things you need to know about being a successful entrepreneur.
1. Know what you're getting into: Entrepreneurship isn't something you wake up one day and decide to take on. It's something you give considerable thought to because the reality is it's not for everyone. There are plenty of people who say that entrepreneurship is the ultimate form of freedom and that's true. But what you don't often hear is the other side of the story: the hard work, meeting payroll, wearing multiple hats, the pressure. It's the most rewarding thing in the world but it's also one of the most challenging things, too.
2. Entrepreneurship will make you mentally tough: There will be good days and there will be bad days. One week you're killing it and your bank account reflects it. At times, things will be slower, and you'll have to find ways to make more money. Both the good times and bad times will make you stronger mentally. This will benefit you in every other area of your life though, making you mentally stronger and able to better handle whatever life throws your way.
3. You have to see the opportunity: The most successful entrepreneurs see the opportunity where others don't. They're always asking, "How can I make this work?" "How can I solve this problem?" "Is this a money-making opportunity?"
4. Dare to enter the unknown: The most successful entrepreneurs are willing to go where they've never been before. They don't say 'no' to any lucrative opportunity, but learn as they go and reach out to their team of mentors and coaches for guidance.
5. Believe in self-responsibility: Perhaps the most important part of being a successful entrepreneur is believing in total self-responsibility. If you are the type of person who makes excuses and likes to play the blame game, being an entrepreneur isn't for you. Your success rest entirely on your shoulders, as does your failure.
6. Overcome obstacles: The most successful entrepreneurs are always overcoming obstacles through creative thought and problem solving. If you buy into the mantra that life is hard, business is tough, things are impossible, there's never a way, then entrepreneurship isn't for you.
7. Think on your feet: Certainly, many decisions take time and considerable thought. But one of the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs is being able to think on their feet and trust their gut instinct. It's knowing when to trust your intuition if something doesn't feel right, and it's also not being afraid to take risks and lay it all on the line in the face of a huge break or opportunity.
8. Go from competing to creating: The most successful entrepreneurs operate from the mindset of playing to win. This occurs when you move from competition to creation, where the primary goal is to be the best you can be. Knowing that creativity and fear cannot co-exist, these people are competing with only themselves with the objective of being better today than they were yesterday.
9. Be interdependent: Most people tend to view the thoughts and ideas of others not only as potentially useful, but also as threatening to their egos and existence. The most successful entrepreneurs understand that the world is an interdependent, complex network in which the aggregate potential is limitless. They don't need to ride off into the sunset as heroes. They prefer to tackle bigger ideas and accomplish more by working with a team of like-minded, high-integrity, world-class individuals.
10. Be a learning machine. The most successful entrepreneurs believe that school is never out. Formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune. If you're not dedicated to constantly learning, improving, reading, personal development and self-improvement, don't become an entrepreneur. World-class entrepreneurs know the more they learn, the greater the level of awareness they reach.