If you’re looking to be a non-technical entrepreneur in the technology sector there are a number of things you can do to build your skill set.
First of all you, will need to examine your motives. If you’re looking to be an entrepreneur because you want to get rich, think it’s glamourous, or you want to be the next Mark Zuckerburg because you saw the movie “The Social Network”, then you’re probably doing it for the WRONG reasons. The hard truth is that you will make little money, work long hours, and (statistically speaking) probably won’t be “successful”. It has been said that being an entrepreneur is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute…then building a plane on the way down. You’ll be so consumed that relationships will suffer, you will get grey hairs early, experience lots of rejection and at times fail miserably. Most everyone (including your family) will think you’re irrational, irresponsible or hopelessly impulsive.
Now after all that if you’re still interested…then your probably just crazy enough to be an entrepreneur. You’ll never grow more personally, spiritually, or professionally until you jump out of the proverbial “plane without parachute”. That’s when you’ll really know what your capable of. Life is too short to not do what you love. Passion has to be your fuel, because it has to be so compelling that you just can’t help yourself. If it’s not in your blood, when the going gets tough you won’t stick it through. Passion while critical will not be enough however, you will need to be equipped with a solid foundation. All my past failures and frustrations laid the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I enjoy now.
Below are just a few tips I wish I knew when I was 21.
Martial Mental Arts
You must be multi-dimensional and multi-disciplined. The ability to be expert generalist will be important trait. Learn the terminology necesary to speak and understand code, design, law, finance, marketing, PR, and venture capital. Learn to understand people, their motivations and their pains. You must have the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn quickly. Be multi-dimensional; learn to see the world differently, from the big picture down to the smallest detail. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Your perspective and vision will differentiate you from others. These is your power and traits you can’t learn from any book. The essence of “who you are” is what will make you special. Be authentic and embrace it. Understanding your vision and your purpose along with the various “book knowledge” components of business will be critical in making effective decisions.
Building real relationships will be the most important aspect of your career. That one person you meet today may be the person that helps fund your company or introduces you to someone that will buy your company someday. Don’t burn bridges and be careful to guard your reputation and the perception of your reputation. At the end of the day it’s all you’ve got.
Get organized and take action
Few people understand the power of a person with directed focus when it is applied to a purposeful goal. Your ability to prioritize your time will be critical. There were times when I would find myself incredibly busy, but not truly effective. Having the wisdom to know when to say NO will be important. Focus on the 20% of your actions that will bring about 80% of the results. This will be easy if you have a clear vision of where you want to go. Seek role models and learn from people that have gone down the road you want to travel. If you are fanatically disciplined you will bring about your own good luck.
Don’t be intimidated by anyone. For the most part, nobody knows what their doing. The little secret no one tells you…is that we are ALL just making it up as we go along.
Manage your internal state
So many blogs focus on the importance of external strategies like getting the perfect pitch deck, setting up your biz or understanding the importance of choosing the right team. While these elements are EXTREMELY important, the one thing no one talks about are meta-skills. This is having the ability to face the internal battle. The doubts, fears, uncertainties and insecurities that everyone goes through and no one speaks about. Every rock star you read about in tech blogs has gone through it. Your ability to manage these internal struggles and belief systems will direct your decisions and ultimately your destiny more than anything else. Examine yourself, learn what you believe, what your vision is, why you do the things you do. In doing this practice you’ll also learn about others.
Most of all, remember that it is not about the goal, it’s who you become through the process. You will always succeed in producing a result. As long as you keep going on your journey there will be no failures, just moments that lead you toward a greater version of yourself.