Now that we’re in the second quarter of 2022, there’s no better time to evaluate and recalibrate your professional goals and aspirations.
As an entrepreneur, I know what it’s like to navigate an uncharted path. You’re frequently considering whether the prospect of becoming an entrepreneur is worth the pain and sacrifice—constantly vacillating between remaining beholden to a business and benefitting from a stable position and salary or fulfilling your dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
While there’s merit in that line of thinking, the former is predominantly fear speaking. Push through your limiting beliefs and take massive action. Amplify the inner voice that’s passionate about entrepreneurship. It’s time to take a calculated risk on yourself.
Developing the right strategy and growth mindset is vital for becoming an entrepreneur. Admittedly, it’s unimaginably difficult and not for everyone. However, from my vantage point, there’s nothing more rewarding than “creating the future.”
With that in mind, I’d like to share a road map that I developed after many successful years of entrepreneurship. This tool helps you self-identify the requisite stages for advancing your entrepreneurial career trajectory. I’ve witnessed countless people prematurely abandon their entrepreneurial ambitions because they didn’t have the direction that this comprehensive road map provides. Bear in mind that when you proactively start controlling your income and your future, that’s when the dynamism of entrepreneurship happens!
Level One: Encouragement. Everyone starts here. At this level, you’re likely experiencing a potent combination of fear and trepidation about what’s next. I liken this stage to that of launching a startup because your time and money represent your biggest investments.
At this stage, clearly develop your business model, marketing plan and mission statement. Precisely target what you need to accomplish. Be able to fully describe and prove what makes your product and/or idea substantially different from your competitors and what’s currently in the marketplace. Most importantly, delve deeply into your “why.” Why is this needed right now? Demonstrate the immense value of such for your audience and consumers. If you can’t explain your “why” at this rudimentary level, there’s no advancement.
Level Two: Engagement. After jumping off the proverbial diving board and into the pool of entrepreneurship, you’re likely experiencing a fluctuating wave of confidence because you’re now fully engaged and primed to market your “why” to others. This creates an exhilarating sense of purpose. You’ve cultivated a growth mindset, allowing you to better understand the challenges that lie ahead. You’re simultaneously walking in faith, knowing that you’re capable of executing further developments. You’re establishing the foundation and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel
Level Three: Established. During this intermediate phase of catapulting from concept to practical execution, you’re attuned to your goals and experiencing a high level of focus and clarity. You’re focused and fully invested in learning from those who’ve attained the level of success you’re aspiring to achieve.
During this phase, prioritize time working with your mentor. Fully absorb all the lessons and guidance they’re willing to instill and pour into you. Here, it’s all about expansion: expanding your vision, expanding your network and expanding your skillset to be able to help others significantly impact their lives, too. Reaching this level and advancing to the next isn’t an overnight transformative process.
Unequivocally, transitioning from level three to level four takes the most time to achieve. Therefore, you must pace yourself accordingly and continue remaining mindful of your “why.” Remember, level three is primarily a choice you make. It’s a mindset to consciously achieve more. See your business succeeding not solely because of you but in spite of you. Also, it’s critically important that you continue to challenge and expand your growth mindset.
I’ve seen many aspiring entrepreneurs become lured and entangled in this phase believing they’re reached the pinnacle of entrepreneurship. Small business owners get stuck here once they’ve purchased a home and paid off their cars. Don’t allow this level of financial freedom to cloud your judgment and preclude advancing to the next level, because that’s where the magic begins.
Level Four: Expert. This level is the most transformative because you’re becoming opportunity-oriented; and as result, you’re attracting investors. At this phase, your unwavering passion is driving business and yielding a comfortable profit margin. You’re becoming an expert with what you’ve delivered to the marketplace. Here, you recognize the immense value in delegating. You’ve now learned that titles are inconsequential, and you have no fear of releasing control and promoting others into roles of leadership.
The journey to this point may have been circuitous. However, you see the fruits of your labor and harbor no regrets. Maturity and flexibility were required to reach this level of success. And because of such, you’re now positioned to help others ideate and expand their visions for also becoming entrepreneurs and launching their own businesses.
Level Five: The Entrepreneur. Everyone has paid a considerable price in reaching this apex of entrepreneurship. As a full-fledged entrepreneur, you’ve now come full circle. Here you’ve transitioned from success to living a life of significance. You’ve mastered overcoming limiting beliefs to experiencing unlimited success. The late nights, stress and anxiety, years of unrelenting hard work and personal sacrifice have finally culminated in being the entrepreneur you long dreamed of becoming. Your steadfast awareness empowered you to overcome obstacles that derailed other aspiring entrepreneurs.
This is your reward for not becoming complacent in level four and constantly pushing outside the constraints of your comfort zone. Freedom at this level isn’t just from financial limitations and restrictions. Rather, it’s more about being uninhibited from the stressors of advancing someone else’s dreams and ambitions. Here, you’ve earned the freedom to have and be who you want to be.
It’s time to challenge yourself to assess which level you’ve become idle at and utilize this road map to help navigate to the next levels of entrepreneurship.
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