By Jonathan Long, Founder and CEO, Market Domination Media, entrepreneur.com
Is there really a perfect time to take the plunge and become an entrepreneur? Sure, there are ideal circumstances -- like having endless amounts of startup capital and an all-star team already assembled, but those ideal conditions are few and far between. If you are waiting for the stars to align you are wasting valuable time.
There is never a better time than right now todecide to become an entrepreneur. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Not for me, not for you -- not for anyone. Success isn’t going to fall in your lap and your dreams and aspirations aren’t going to magically come true without hard work.
When you realize that there is no better time than now to become an entrepreneur, make sure you do these five things -- it will increase your odds of success.
1. Go 100 percent all in and don’t stop to second guess your decision.
Once you make the decision to become an entrepreneur, you can’t turn back. Any kind of doubt or second guessing will completely throw you off track and your confidence will be crushed. If you are constantly asking yourself if you made the right choice it will prevent you from remaining focused.
Entrepreneurship is not a game. There is often a substantial amount of money as well as individual and family well-being on the line. Anything less than 100 percent effort is a recipe for complete disaster.
2. Get a mentor.
No matter how smart you are, or how brilliant or disruptive your business concept might be, every entrepreneur needs a good mentor.
That quote from Richard Branson is right on the money. Every entrepreneur should have a mentor that they can turn to for advice -- there isn’t a better person to talk to than someone who has been in your shoes and has experienced the same concerns, obstacles and problems that you will certainly face at some time or another.
It also helps to talk to your mentor about your goals so they can hold you accountable. Reaching milestones and goals is more exciting when you have someone to share the news with. This is healthier than keeping it inside and it also makes goal setting more effective -- nobody wants to disappoint his or her mentor.
3. Create daily routines with goals in mind.
Success requires discipline -- everything from waking up at the crack of dawn to be willing to put in extra time at the office will all contribute to the success of your venture. Establish your goals and create a routine that will help you reach each goal successfully.
For example, if you are in the early stages of growth and you are doing your own public relations, you might determine that you need to dedicate two hours out of each day to media outreach. If your daily office schedule is typically 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. then adjust your daily routine to be in the office at 7 a.m. and stay until 8 p.m. This gives you an extra two hours to devote to your outreach without interfering with your regular work.
Being in the office an extra two hours isn’t something that you want to do -- but in this instance it is something you have to do if you want to meet your goals. It comes down to this question: “How bad do you want it?”
4. Clip anyone that brings negativity.
It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction. -- Warren Buffett
If there is anyone around you that holds you back or attempts to drag you down to their level, you need to eliminate them from the picture. This isn’t always easy to do, but becoming an entrepreneur is a big step -- one that will require your complete focus. Even the slightest negativity can ruin everything you are working so hard for.
Surround yourself with like minded individuals. It is easier to stay focused on your goals when everyone around you is succeeding -- you all rise to the top together.
5. Network as much as you can.
Nobody knows your brand better than you do. When you are just starting out you need to market yourself as much as possible and take advantage of every opportunity to tell people about what you do.
Attend industry functions and take advantage of local networking events. It can be exhausting hitting these events night after night, but you never know who you are going to meet or what connections you will make. Tell everyone what you do -- even if they don’t have a need for what you are offering there is a chance they know someone who does.
This is directly related to your goal-based routines -- set goals when it comes to networking, whether it is to hit a certain number of events weekly or make a specific number of new contacts each week.