Good News for Nervy Entrepreneurs


These days, the news for entrepreneurs is good. Done right, startups are doing better than ever and the money is getting greener.

These days, the news for entrepreneurs is good. Done right, startups are doing better than ever and the money is getting greener.

Advice: It’s not medicine, so take it!

There’s an image of the entrepreneur as a lone wolf. The guy or gal who does it all by themselves. Like John Wayne in a western, or Sherlock Holmes in literature, they are viewed as independent and obsessive individuals who can scale mountains and jump to conclusions in a single bound.

This public image, or daydream, of the modern entrepreneur, is based on several things. Which is not news to psychologists.

Ancient entrepreneurs such as Alexander the Great of the Borgia’s, did things their way. They took nothing from nobody. When this kind of person is depicted in paintings they are invariably alone, on mountain tops, musing by a river, or on a big white stallion.

Today we are just as enamored of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg as the ancients were of their tyrants and conquerors. They are viewed as nonpareils, who stand alone, work alone, and deserve all the swag they get.

Do these colossal figures do it all by themselves? No, they don’t. Behind every successful maven, you will find dozens of trusted advisers. The secret to an entrepreneur’s success is no secret. They seek advice, listen to it, and act on it. Not treating advice as a nasty medicine to be avoided. They relish it and digest it like a good steak (or eggplant Parmesan for our vegan readers).

So where do entrepreneurs get their news from?

Well, they obviously talk to each other. They are not holed up in a dungeon cell cut off from humanity. They see each other at conferences, social events, and keep in touch through social media.

While they visit with each other, they are bound to mention their failures and successes. Being human, they probably gravitate to their success stories rather than their flopperoos. Still, they exchange valuable information.

You, as a business person, should be doing the exact same thing. Go to conferences. Keep in touch through social media with your colleagues and your competitors. When it comes to reticent even the most tight-lipped competitor will open up if you lay the praise on him with a trowel.

Look far afield.

Here’s the good news, folks.

Good advice, which, as they say, is worth the price, meaning it’s free, can come from anyone. From your family. Friends. Coworkers. Spouses. Teachers. Strangers. Even a purple-people-eater who lands in your yard. Keep your mind open and your mouth shut. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll hear something that will help your nascent enterprise.

When it comes to advice, you’ll have to separate the wheat from the chaff. And that ability is what separates successful promoters from the pitiable luftmensch.

News flash! Successful entrepreneurs embrace failure.

The best entrepreneurs are not afraid to fall on their faces. Like infants, every time they fall down they simply get back up again. And, like infants, sooner or later they learn to walk successfully.

Make failure your springboard to success by being humble, teachable, and ready to laugh at yourself.

If you take yourself too seriously, you’re liable to ignore success when it comes to you at last.

For instance, if you buy a crate of crushed lemons, don’t throw those lemons away. Instead, buy sacks of sugar, combine the two items, add water, and start selling lemonade.

If your online business doesn’t take off, well then, you can always rent space cheap on it to your competitors. This will not only surprise them but will make them think you’ve got something up your sleeve. And, who knows, they may rush to buy advertising space on your website.

It could happen . . .

Asking for advice today is an industry in itself.

Giving advice is an industry that has been around for a long long time. Kibbitzers are well paid for their material. Do you think “Dear Abby” died a pauper?

But asking for advice is a relatively new concept that has yet to be fully exploited. So why don’t you be the first to play all the angles when it comes to asking for advice.

Ask for advice on every platform of social media. Plead for guidance on every radio talk show you can wangle a spot. Put an ad in the newspaper requesting guidance. People will treat your actions as a joke for the most part. But that precious few who see behind your buffoonery, will appreciate your strategy and perhaps give you the golden words you need to succeed in your enterprise.



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