mindset, idea, light

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many entrepreneurs as of late. Much of this interaction has come through the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition and Nevada Governor’s Cup. One thing I always seem to notice about entrepreneurs is how quick they are to come up with ideas, which leads me to a chicken/egg scenario. Are people with more ideas naturally inclined to become entrepreneurs? Or are entrepreneurs naturally inclined to have more ideas. I had a professor that used to say, “Anyone who’s ever stood under a shower has had an idea for a business,” and from my experience that holds true. This makes me think that good ideas for a business really only matter if someone with an entrepreneurial mindset has them.

“When others see the glass as half-empty, entrepreneurs look at it and think about ways to fill it up, add a crazy straw and little umbrella, and charge you $7.50 for it.”

As I’ve begun to realize, it’s one thing to talk to someone about a business idea, it’s another to talk an to entrepreneur about one. For starters, it’s more exciting. When you know someone who has started their own business or is in the process, listening to their ideas is far more interesting because you know there’s a chance they might actually pursue it. This is because they have an entrepreneurial mindset, and it’s pretty easy to spot. These are the people that talk about problems as opportunities, and then start telling you about their plan to make that opportunity into a reality. They’ve crawled through the trenches and know what to expect.

Even more indicative is that an entrepreneur never hides his or her idea. They realize that no matter how awesome their idea is, if it’s going to happen, they’re going to be the ones to make it happen. This is because they realize how much work is actually involved in making an idea into a reality, and few people are willing to put that amount of effort forward.

What separates an entrepreneur from the rest?

It seems that a common misconception is that entrepreneurs are big risk takers. In my experience, that’s not necessarily true (at least not for the successful ones). While yes, there is undoubtedly a certain level of risk involved with pursuing a new venture, successful entrepreneurs take every action necessary to help minimize this risk. They do as much research as they can, they survey as many people as they can, and they do as much testing ahead of time as is allowable. They also usually pursue other means of funding before they dip into their own reserves – we all know it’s easier to spend someone else’s money than our own.

I think the biggest differentiators for entrepreneurs are their optimism and passion (with possibly a strong dose of humility as well). When others see the glass as half-empty, entrepreneurs look at it and think about ways to fill it up, add a crazy straw and little umbrella, and charge you $7.50 for it. They are passionate about their ideas and willing to fully commit to it even when things don’t go their way, and there will be those times. Without this combination of traits, skepticism would take over and all the “it’s never going to work” would start to sound like the truth.

mindset, challenge, sumo
Photo: theguardian.com

How can I get into this mindset?

First off, this isn’t for everyone. If what you’ve read thus far sounds nothing like you, you might be better off working for someone else (which is NOT a bad thing). However, if you think you’ve got the spark but just need a little kindling, my advice would be to start hanging out with other like-minded individuals. Until I began my own journey, I had no idea how many resources and events there were dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs together. Just google “entrepreneurship [your city]” and you’ll likely find dozens of outlets where you can meet up with fellow entrepreneurs to discuss ideas, form teams, and make businesses happen.

Reno is a little city (yes, the biggest), yet we have multiple resources including the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Assembly, One Million Cups, Startup Weekend, and many more. Being around other entrepreneurs is very exciting. There are so many big ideas, so much energy, coffee, and people who aren’t afraid to go for it. You’ll know right away if it’s for you or not because you’ll either feel that same excitement, or just be exhausted hearing so many people talk about how much work they’re putting in.

Who knows, maybe once you get into the mindset, you’ll sit around writing blogs about it.

What do you think an entrepreneurial mindset is? Please share in the comments below!