7 Tips on Becoming an Entrepreneur

-From "Some advice toward becoming an entrepreneur," by Harvey Mackay

Actor Alan Alda gave some great advice to his daughter: "Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself."

Maybe you don't want to start your own company. Maybe you aren't ready to strike out on your own. Maybe the economic climate makes financing tough. Maybe you need a little more time to develop your idea.

But you undoubtedly want to be the master of your own career. You can let your entrepreneurial spirit come through whether you are your own boss or not. You can cut your entrepreneurial teeth at jobs that present opportunities for innovative thinking and management experience. Companies large and small will always find room for employees with attitudes and abilities that will advance their goals. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

Here's some valuable advice that's useful for anyone wanting to get ahead:

1. Network. The more people you know in your business and outside of it, the more sources of information, advice and support you have to rely on. The more you exercise your networking muscles, the stronger they get - and the easier networking becomes.

2. Don't Listen to Naysayers. Some people will always say you can't succeed. Listen to everyone, but don't pay undue attention to "friends" with negative attitudes.

3. Think Creatively. Entrepreneurs succeed by finding new solutions to old problems. Don't repeat what everyone else has already accomplished. Look for ways to achieve something different.

4. Learn From Mistakes. You're going to make them. Most successful people fail from time to time, but they don't let setbacks stop them. Commit yourself to learning from your mistakes so you don't make them again.

5. Be Honest. No matter what you're engaged in, you need associates, friends, employees, investors, and other stakeholders to trust your word. Tell the truth at all times to build solid relationships.

6. Be Flexible. No matter how good your ideas are, or how committed you are to your goals, remember that things change. Be ready to modify your plans when opportunities present themselves.

7. Find a Mentor (or two or three). Seek talented people willing to share their expertise and wisdom. You can't know everything, especially when you're starting out, so an experienced mentor can supply guidance that will help you avoid the obvious mistakes.

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