Being an entrepreneur is not easy. Entrepreneurship is an ever-changing landscape. Each day you’re going to learn something new.
A great analogy, which I read in Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” is that choosing to be an entrepreneur is like enrolling into a life-long course at a university that specialises in solving problems. As unattractive as that might seem, entrepreneurs are generally the type of people that are continuously looking for the next challenge. If constant problem solving seems too exhausting for you, you might want to reconsider your choice to be an entrepreneur.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than a decade. I started my first business when I was 25. Before that, I was involved in assisting various start-ups and small businesses to grow successfully since 2003. Here are my two cents on what I’ve learned about entrepreneurship over the past 17 years.
1) You simply must have a few game plans at any given time
Picture this: You are suddenly forced to take a boat out to sea for some unavoidable reason. You’ve never done this before. Pretty scary thought, right? (If you are a seasoned skipper you’re going to have to play along here).
What’s the first thing you’d do? You’ll immediately start doing your research. You would talk to experienced skippers to gather tips and you’d make sure you have every safety precaution on that boat before leaving – double – and triple-checking that everything is in perfect working order.
Becoming an entrepreneur is much like this. Make sure you are prepared and have a few plans to fall back on with any and every business venture you set out to pursue.
2) Always treat everyone with the same amount of respect
The day you choose to become an entrepreneur you choose to become a public figure. Be kind and set an example wherever you go, no matter who you interact with.
The big picture here is; what goes around comes around. The more immediate lesson is that the next person you interact with could be your next client or a close friend of an existing client.
3) Always give back to your community
Even when struggling to make ends meet you should never put off the opportunity to help at least one of your local charities. Remember, you can always help by trading your time, you don’t always need to part with money.
In my latest business venture, two of our biggest clients were referred to us through a network of people that originated from helping a local charity.
4) Always stay calm and positive
It does not help to stress. When the pressure rises (and it surely will) you need to somehow get yourself into “autopilot mode”. Keep moving forward – one foot in front of the other.
If you persevere and persist things will work out for you. Stress and panic will not resolve anything. In fact, it will simply make things worse.
Entrepreneurs must master the art of staying calm through stormy seas.
Lannon Harms is the managing director at Epicdev (epicev.co.za) – a software development and digital marketing company based in Durban, South Africa. He has been a tech entrepreneur for more than 10 years.
His passion for the digital space and everything creative set him on a journey that started his career out as a graphic designer and soon expanded into coding user interfaces and mastering the art of digital marketing.
He has extensive knowledge on search engine optimization, pay-per-click campaigns and social media marketing among many other forms of digital and inbound marketing.
These days he spends his time strategizing Epicdev’s growth, building relationships with clients, building digital marketing strategies for companies and partaking in public speaking about digital marketing and the 4th industrial revolution.