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Why Self-Investment Is Your Best Bet As An Entrepreneur
If you’re an entrepreneur, you either get better or worse. Staying stall is simply not an option if you’re building a business.
Entrepreneurs often find themselves in positions of constant improvement, gathering skills to make their business work.
When I started this journey of building my business online, I began as an online tutor, helping many students around the world with economics. The first dollar I made was super cool, and I didn't realize I could make additional income outside of my work.
However, it came to the point where I couldn't handle hundreds of students when they came all at once. I got sick and had to reduce my work rate.
Right now, I am building a different model, one where I can scale my knowledge and skills to a larger audience. I realized that building a newsletter business model is fun and engaging, and learning new skills like writing and storytelling is a new domain that I participate in.
Entrepreneurship is a lifelong journey of personal investment.
There is no amount of external funding that can replace the value of personal investment.
When you invest in yourself, you acquire skills that others don't have. In the early stages, you invest in yourself, and in the later stages, you invest in other people.
However, many people hold strong beliefs about the world, including their skills and abilities, that are full of preconceived biases.
If you want to grow, invest in skills, not beliefs.
Belief alone will not build your business; skills will - the more skills you gain, the more ability you'll have in running your business.
Real success is attributed to self-improvement.
In the startup world, success is often attributed to timing, market, and consumer preferences.
However, these are the things you can never control.
The only thing that you can control is your ability to get up, show up, perform well, and deliver results.
You must understand how to gain skills and improve yourself.
A business grows based on the founder's skills and abilities, which grow along with it.
If you put a “dumb dumb” to run a business, the business will not grow. However, if you put a world-class player equipped with solid skills, the business will grow.
The "dumb dumb" may have stronger beliefs than the A players, but what they lack is showing up and taking action.
The business performs based on the maximum level of skills that the founder can perform.
Entrepreneur fails not because of a lack of money but because of a lack of personal growth.
Have you ever met someone, and 5 years later, they're still the same? The truth is that this also happens in any area, any industry, and even at the top level of the game.
Great entrepreneurs are constantly going through an evolution.
Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and many others, their 50s aren't the same as their 40s, and their 30s aren't the same as their 20s.
Self-improvement and personal growth help you to move up the ladder without falling behind.
It creates a foundation for you to execute all the skills into your project, which is the business that you are running.
At different stages, your business requires different skillsets:
In the beginning, you need skills like sales, marketing, prospecting, and product offerings to get your business off the ground.
Then you need to learn accounting and finance to manage efficiency.
And if you want to scale your business to a larger entity, investing and capital allocation is another skill you add to the playbook.
In order to grow a business, you need to develop a sincere interest in learning these skills. Unfortunately, many people despise sales, which prevents them from even starting their business journey.
Goals are the lifeblood of progress
Self-improvement without goal setting is like sailing without a compass.
When setting goals, you are establishing a future standard, a result that you want to achieve.
Unfortunately, many people have the wrong idea about goal setting. They study frameworks like SMART with the hope that it will improve their lives. When those frameworks stop working, they give up.
In reality, goal setting is a process of testing your preconceived ideas about the actions needed to accomplish desired results.
You start with a goal, then plan your strategy to achieve it. Then, you measure the results along the way to see if your strategy is helping you make progress toward your goal.
At this point, there are two possibilities: either your strategy is helping you move forward, or you are stuck.
If you are stuck, you can either increase your actions or change your strategy but do not give up.
You will attract haters and critics
One realization when starting to grow is that you are likely to encounter haters - they will criticize you, throw shade at you, and shame you.
Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to bring you down out of jealousy and envy.
On the bright side, you can control how to respond to those people. You can control how close they are to you.
Just stay away from those people and focus on your personal development.
If you're doing good things and striving to become a better version of yourself, you will attract more great people to your life.
Look for great people, make a phone call, send a DM, introduce yourself, and make friends with them.
Surprisingly they’re very welcoming to meet people who are striving to improve themselves.
Great people are the ones you should pay attention to, learn from, and grow with.
Master emotion and become resilient
Emotions are important for entrepreneurs because every decision you make should be based on rationality instead of emotion.
Yes, you can get angry, sad, or even cry, but don't let it stay with you for too long. Give yourself 24 hours to recover, get back to where you are at your best, and start again the next day.
Warren Buffett said, "You don't make business decisions with emotion."
Make every business decision when you're at your best, often fresh in the morning or after taking a shower, you name it.
On facing failures and challenges
I've failed more times than I can count, and I’m still alive today.
In the beginning, you are likely to see failures.
You may realize that the strategies you used haven't generated the returns you wanted.
One of the best ways to deal with that is to train yourself to be rational, to adopt “stoicism”, and to continue putting in the work.
Don't let your frustration take the best away from you.
Instead, focus on improving your skills and abilities.
The key here is to develop courage and awareness and learn from other people who have mastered failures, overcame challenges, those who aren’t shy away from them, and continually keep putting in the work and production in the business.
“If it’s easy, everyone would do it”
This quote sticks in my mind the most when writing this letter.
When I was in high school, my buddy told me he often got up before sunrise to train for soccer.
Halfway through the semester, I joined him and was surprised to find that we were the only 2 people on the field!
I realized my buddy had been training by himself the whole time.
I asked him if it would be easy for the team to adopt this routine because we would improve so much together.
My friend told me, “Ricky, if this were easy, everyone would do it.”
I realized that the path of entrepreneurship is very similar to early morning soccer, where you train by yourself, show up, and find opportunities to improve.
The audience is not there to watch you train and improve; they’re there to watch you play.
The first part is harsh and lonely, but if you persevere and don't give up, you will see bring a great show in the other half.
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