Since starting my own company, I have learned (very quickly) some major differences between entrepreneurs that succeed and those that fail--or forever pledge the title of "entrepreneurship" meanwhile staying snug and safe in their 9-5 job.
Before I took the leap to launch Digital Press, I looked at entrepreneurship totally differently. It's ironic, actually, how much the "young entrepreneur" community makes entrepreneurship and material success synonymous.
All the aspiring entrepreneurs talk about the rewards they're chasing.
Meanwhile, real entrepreneurs in the thick of it practically see those things as distractions.
This was my first big indicator that I had moved to the other side. The moment I no longer paid any attention to the ends, because all of my focus was being spent working on the next obstacle in front of me, was the moment I knew I had become a full-blown entrepreneur.
Do you have a startup idea? Are you one of those aspiring entrepreneurs who wants to take the leap too?
Well then be prepared for these 3 things to test whether or not you're built for the journey:
1. Real entrepreneurs care more about being the best, rather than other people acknowledging they're the best.
I recently moved from Chicago to LA. And although I've only been here 3 months, I've already (somehow) found myself part of the upper echelon of entrepreneurs here.
Forget the networking events. I'm talking closed invite-only mastermind dinners in The Hills.
What I've already noticed is that anyone worth knowing doesn't really go out of their way to make sure everyone else knows it. Some of the most successful people I've met in entrepreneurship have shown up wearing jeans and a t-shirt. No gold chains (as seems to be the trend for today's young entrepreneurs who want acknowledgment of their success), no flashy watches. They may pull up in a sports car, but it's never brought up again in conversation.
All they care about is the work.
Meanwhile, the aspiring go out of their way to wear, point, and prove how "successful" they already are--which, in comparison to the truly successful, is barely a blip on the radar.
2. Real entrepreneurs don't have weekends.
I say this often because it's true.
Since starting my first company, and making our first full-time hire, and then our second, and so on and so on, I have lost all perspective of what day it is. Most of the time, I don't even know what month it is. That's how "in it" I've been.
Apparently, I'm not the only one.
When I hear people say, "I can't wait for Friday," it doesn't even register what that means anymore. Friday is the same as Monday is the same as Sunday. They're all just chunks of hours for things to be done. And while entrepreneurship might come with the freedom to take an afternoon off if I want, the truth is, when you're building a company you don't even think that way.
You are focused on what you're building, and whatever that takes, you do it.
3. Real entrepreneurs hang out with other real entrepreneurs.
It's a closed circle.
Finding groups of aspiring entrepreneurs isn't hard. But finding where the real players hang out is a totally different challenge.
What I've learned is that when you really focus on becoming the best at what you do, those groups invite you in--you don't have to go searching for them.
I am a perfect example.
All I have focused on, over the past five years, has been mastering the art of writing online. I haven't wasted time going to networking events, trying to prove something to someone more successful than me. I haven't spent hours and hours searching for Facebook groups of those aspiring, trying to climb the ladder that way.
I've just worked hard on my craft, and let my work speak for me.
99% of the opportunities that come my way are inbound. They're invitations. They come from people who know what I do, and how I do it.
This goes for any industry, really. Focus on the work and the rest will follow.
Don't get caught up in trying to prove how great you are by talking the talk.
The real entrepreneurs won't hear it anyway.