Most people think that being an entrepreneur is about having that big idea.
But what I've found from interviewing multiple entrepreneurs who focus on consulting, the internet, and software development is that without the capacity to execute an idea -- to take an idea and turn it into a living, breathing, viable organization -- you're doomed to fail.
So how can idea-oriented entrepreneurs become doers and learn to raise money, pitch to investors, hire, and fire employees -- especially when it forces them outside their personal and professional comfort zones?
1. Identify what's holding you back
When you decided not to pitch that top venture capital fund in New York, was it really because you didn't need the money? Or was it because you were terrified of being rejected? When you took so long to get a prototype to market, was that really in the company's best interest to delay, or were you scared of having your first major effort be so visibly critiqued?
Take an inventory of your excuses and ask yourself if they are truly legitimate. If someone else offered you those same excuses, would you see them as legitimate reasons for them to decline?
2. Convince yourself the pain is worth the gain
Instead of rationalizing why the behavior is something not worth performing, actively brainstorm all the reasons why it is worth performing. How can taking the leap advance your career, give you a chance to grow and learn in exciting ways -- or achieve whatever other goals you happen to care about?
3. Make it easier for yourself
If you need to pitch to investors but hate asking for money, script out the first few sentences of your message, or bring a colleague with you who makes you feel more confident or who can help with your pitch. Instead of feeling pressured to meet everyone at a networking event, focus on one or two people and actually try to get to know them, perhaps with the ultimate goal of arranging follow-up conversations in a more comfortable setting for you - like over coffee or even on the phone.
4: Start small.
Instead of jumping right into speaking at an industry event, sign up for a public speaking class. Instead of speaking up in the boardroom, in front of your most senior colleagues, start by speaking up in smaller meetings with peers to see how it feels. And while you're at it, see if you can recruit a close friend or colleague to offer advice and encouragement in advance of a challenging situation.
Although most people equate entrepreneurship with ideas, the real challenge for many is psychological - having courage to do and try things you never thought were possible. And with these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way toward achieving your goals.