For many with the drive and work ethic, becoming a self-employed entrepreneur is the ultimate dream. It is a chance to be your own boss, work from anywhere in the world, and create the potential to make a nice living for yourself and your family. Whether you want to be a freelance writer, social media consultant, or take over an existing company and run it as your own, you can make the dream a reality.
However, it will not happen overnight, and if you want to succeed, you will need to master a set of skills. In addition to understanding how to effectively communicate with your team, potential customers, and other business owners, you will want to know a bit about everything, including sales, hiring the right people, honing your time and stress management skills, and more. Below is a checklist of sorts to help you understand where you may need more training.
1. Financial Literacy
Perhaps the most important skill that you can have as an entrepreneur is the ability to manage money. If you are starting up a new business, you will likely be limited on funds, so you will need to learn how to take advantage of the cash you have and spend it wisely. Doing so will also require budgeting skills. You’ll need to know how much income is necessary to produce your product, pay your employees, and keep a roof over your head.
Money management is absolutely essential when starting your own business. If you know you lack in this area, then you may want to take an online course or go back to school for your Master’s in Business Administration, where you will learn necessary accounting and budgeting skills with real-life examples and experiences.
Yes, if you are lacking the skills you need, then you may need to go back to school, and that is all part of being self-aware. As an entrepreneur, you will need to be conscious of your shortcomings because knowing where you need help and improving in that area is the only way you will succeed.
While you will need to look inside of yourself, you will also want to analyze the data of your business to find areas of improvement. You can see where you stand by setting goals, gauging your business efficiency, and analyzing your competitors to see where you are falling short. Online research can keep you up to date on these matters.
3. Ability to Network
Easily half of being an entrepreneur is having the ability to network with potential customers and business partners to grow your brand. You will need the courage to attend networking seminars and entrepreneur events to meet new people.
While being in the right place at the right time helps, you also need to effectively communicate with the people you meet. You want to speak in such a way that people are inclined to listen, and that means planning out what you are going to say before you say it, practicing your pitches, and speaking in a slow and articulate manner, so your message is easy to understand.
4. Stress Management
It is important to remember that it is not easy to be a successful entrepreneur, as doing so will take a lot of trial and error and create a fair share of stress. Only the strong survive when making money this way, so you need to be able to manage your stress so you can wake up each day ready to take on the world and the challenges that may arise. Whether it is breathing exercises, yoga, or getting an extra hour of sleep, you need a plan to handle that stress.
Along with stress management is the ability to be resilient when times are tough. Not every networking contact is going to want to go into business with you, and employees may quit over time. You cannot let it bring you down. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to bounce back and immediately start thinking of solutions.
6. Employee Management
While you may start off on your own, one of the best problems you can have is realizing that business is so good that you need to hire some help. You will need to have good people management skills as an entrepreneur, and that means finding the right people, coaching them to meet their maximum potential, and having the ability to let people go if they are not completing their required tasks. As you can see from this and the other previously mentioned steps, being an introvert and an entrepreneur do not go hand in hand.
7. Basic Marketing Tactics
You don’t have to start out as a marketing mastermind, but you should have some practice in the basic marketing tricks that many entrepreneurs use to get the word out about their services. One of these tactics is screen engine optimization (SEO), or writing your content and marketing materials with keywords so that your product appears at the top of the search results on sites like Google and Bing.
Another relatively inexpensive method of marketing your product or services is over social media. Take some time to research the best content to share, learn which networks suit your content, and study the best times of the day to post that material. As a small company, you will want to try every avenue you can to get noticed.
8. Time Management
Time is of the essence when you are an entrepreneur. If you are notoriously bad with time management, then it is a good idea to read a book or take a seminar on the issue because it will be essential that you dedicate the right amount of time to planning, executing, and marketing your ideas so you can reach your financial goals. As a beginner, you may want to make a schedule for each day, so you know what you have to do and when to accomplish everything you set out for.
9. Sales Skills
Even though people like to say it, your product really isn’t so good that it will sell itself. Instead, you will need to hone your sales skills so you can make the profit you need to continue production. To make more sales, you will need to build trust with potential customers and provide a service that improves their life. It is important to be genuine when you sell to customers because a polite and helpful demeanor can go a long way to encourage that client to refer others to your services.
No, you can’t become a successful entrepreneur overnight, but by taking time to learn the skills discussed here, you will be on the right track to independent success.