- 5 Foundational Pillars for a Successful Entrepreneur Lifestyle - August 9, 2022
Being an entrepreneur isn’t a job. It’s a lifestyle built around your businesses. You have to be all in, fully engaged, and willing to do whatever it takes to make your business successful. However, beyond the nuts and bolts of starting, growing and running your own business, you must first build a foundation for the most important factor to ensure a successful entrepreneurial career — you!
Your success depends on your levels of persistence, your pursuit of lifelong education, your entrepreneurial drive, and your passion for business opportunities. Also add to that the quality of your partnerships, because in business as in life, they are vitally important.
These are the foundational pillars for a successful life as an entrepreneur. Before you make your first sale or seal your first deal, you should give some thought to each of these factors, because they will determine not only the level of success you achieve, but also the quality of your life.
Let’s look at each of these key pillars individually.
- Realize that persistence pays off. Understand that from the get-go there’s rarely an easy path to success. You will encounter many challenges as an entrepreneur, but if you refuse to give up, you’ll succeed. When my wife, Myrna, and I wanted to expand our initial nursing retirement center business beyond Canada, we found an opportunity to purchase two centers in Texas. As we restructured the centers in the way we felt would make them both profitable and high quality, we weren’t yet ready to uproot our family from Ontario, Canada. We signed a six-month lease on an apartment in Dallas (which we renewed six times!) and commuted 1,100 miles one-way every few weeks with our two very young kids, our dog, a nanny and often my mother. Making the drive was a grind, but we had a plan and our persistence in pursuing it eventually paid off.
- Pursue lifelong education. While a basic education and even advanced college degrees are required in many fields, self-education throughout your lifetime is an important factor in anyone’s success. Hunger for knowledge is a hallmark of all the best entrepreneurs. Learning about markets, producers, and distributors is essential for entrepreneurs because that’s how you find new opportunities as you pursue financial and career success. There are lessons everywhere in every experience you have, and you should strive to learn and grow as much as you can from these experiences.
- Gauge your entrepreneurial drive. Entrepreneurship isn’t a job, it’s a calling. The accumulation of wealth and material things shouldn’t be what drives you. The purpose in building any business is to develop a strong foundation for you and your family, to create jobs, to contribute economic growth in your community, and to provide products and services that fill societal needs and elevate the lives of all involved. It’s about pursing a vision and taking a leadership role in making it happen. You must also ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the dedicated effort and long hours whenever needed.
- Assess your level of passion. Some entrepreneurs set out to find a way to profit from a hobby or a talent. But some are simply passionate about the process of finding opportunities to create and grow a business. I fall into this camp. My passion isn’t focused on one field of business or one particular product. My two biggest businesses have been our chain of PeopleCare Heritage Centers and a paving stone manufacturing company. I truly enjoyed building these successful companies that provided top-notch services to appreciative clients and customers while creating thousands of jobs that had a positive impact on the lives of our employees and the communities. Keep in mind that you can find passion in many ways as an entrepreneur.
- Build positive partnerships. To have a truly fulfilling life, you must build strong and mutually rewarding relationships with your spouse, family members, friends, employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders because your business is not just a job — it’s your life. You must imagine early on how you want to live your life. Do you want to spend it preying on your customers and fending off lawsuits and charges? Or do you want to be someone who’s known for honesty, integrity and fairness in their dealings? Entrepreneurs who do the right thing may not always make as big a profit in the short term, but in the end can be proud of their accomplishments and the trusting relationships they’ve built.
Together, these five foundational pillars all add up to an exciting purpose that inspires you to jump out of bed every morning.
For more on entrepreneurship, Bob Schlegel’s book “Angels and Entrepreneurs: A Lifestyle Formula for Starting Your Own Business and Riding the Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship” can be purchased via StartupNation.com below.
Originally published Feb. 28, 2022.