An entrepreneur may be simply defined as someone who starts a business; However, the word “entrepreneur” carries a number of implications that go beyond basic business start-up. In order to be an entrepreneur in the fullest sense of the word, a person must be willing to assume the risks associated with business ventures, have a clear and resilient vision of the viability of a business before it is even formed, be willing and able to assume multiple and widely variant roles and be able to adapt and innovate in accordance with new information and changing circumstances. Many of the characteristics that make a successful entrepreneur are personality traits, disciplines and/or virtues that can only be learned through life experience and conscientious practice. However, there are also systematic ways of learning the basic skills and knowledge required of entrepreneurs. Follow these instructions for how to learn about entrepreneurship.
Prepare yourself mentally. There is a specific mindset that is most conducive to learning how to be a successful entrepreneur, and aligning yourself with this way of thinking will provide you with the foundation upon which you can build your education in entrepreneurship.
- Develop a positive perspective when it comes to mistakes. You must be prepared that, to be an entrepreneur, you will inevitably make some mistakes along the way. Mistakes are only failures if they prevent you from trying again. Mistakes that serve as lessons for learning are successes that propel you forward. Accept that you will make mistakes, and commit to pushing through them.
- Become your own cheerleader. The critical voices in your head will only hold you back. Every time you find that you are having a negative thought about your ability to be an entrepreneur, stop that thought immediately and counter it with a positive affirmation. Eventually, it will become a habit to be optimistic about your potential.
- Avoid excuses for why you can’t move forward with your idea right away. If you are inspired toward an idea, then start working on it. Don’t put it off until the “right” or “perfect” time.
Find a mentor. A mentor can show you the ropes and offer the encouragement you need to develop your entrepreneurial skills. Any successful (and willing) entrepreneur may be a good mentor. Find mentors through school, networking, searching online for mentors for hire and/or placing a classified ad.
Get an education in entrepreneurship. Many colleges today offer graduate and/or post graduate degrees in entrepreneurship. Babson College and the University of Arizona are 2 such schools that offer top-ranking entrepreneurship programs of study. Additionally, you may opt to enroll in an online training program offered by schools like the University of Houston and Boston University.
Network with other entrepreneurs. Join networking clubs and online social networks, and attend trade shows and seminars in order to find a group of like-minded individuals that can support, inspire and challenge you to further your education in entrepreneurship. Other entrepreneurs are also a great source of information, as you can learn from their mistakes and successes.
- You may earn scholarships to get an education in entrepreneurship from a college or university. Call campuses you are interested in and ask to speak with an administrator in the school of business to find out about available scholarships and qualification requirements.
- Take advantage of free online resources when looking for ways to learn about entrepreneurship. For example, free e-books can be a great source of information, as can college databases like the London School of Economics site, which provides free copies of business plans for a wide variety of businesses.
- Identify your passion before you attempt to be an entrepreneur, as learning as much as you can about what you are passionate about can be just as pertinent as learning about entrepreneurship.
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