Every business starts with an idea, willingness, and motivation. Many people suppose that a good business plan is the main criteria for success, but this is one of the most common misconceptions. No doubt, a good business plan is very important, but the thing is that a prosperous business begins with an attitude and a certain approach to thinking. The most successful entrepreneurs manage to transform their thoughts and ideas into lifetime projects that yield high revenues. That’s why they are “real artists” who can create a masterpiece out of mere opportunities, motivation, and love and respect for what they do.
We were very lucky to have John Rampton @johnrampton, founder of Due and contributing writer for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, Forbes, and Inc., who joined our other SEMrush Chat participants to discuss the art of entrepreneurship. He shared his own experience, daily habits, role models and several tips that have helped him became a successful entrepreneur and one of the most influential online experts.
This question will probably always remain relevant. Are entrepreneurs special humans, born with capabilities, willpower, and ready-made business ideas? Or is business success beyond other peoples’ power? We asked our chat participants whether or not they believe in the so-called “entrepreneur gene.”
Q1. Entrepreneurs are def made over time. It's the ones that work hard and never give up that will change this world. #SEMrushchat
— John Rampton (@johnrampton) April 13, 2016
Many of our guests, who are entrepreneurs themselves, assume that you can hardly be born with super powers – only those who work really hard achieve their goals and become entrepreneurs, or whoever they want to be. Owning your own business isn’t easy. Sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice your leisure time, including your weekends. You should also be prepared to fail and have enough willpower to never give up.
A1: A combination of both. Entrepreneurs have the right stuff and the luck of the right situation/opportunity to set out. #semrushchat
— Jacques Bouchard (@jacquesbouchard) April 13, 2016
We have to admit that nature gives each of us a specific set of characteristics. That’s why we’re so different, why some of us want to be nuclear physicists while others enjoy singing. But this doesn’t mean that you can be an entrepreneur just because you want to. As George Bernard Shaw once said: “Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.” Each of us has both strengths and weaknesses, but our future is in our hands. “Entrepreneurs are made over struggles, dreams, brainstorming, passion and hustle,” according to Pratik Mohapatra @mohapatrapratik.
A1) Depending on childhood & environment. I was raised in Germany w/ employee mindset. I am 4 sure self made and still learning #semrushchat
— Dagmar Gatell (@DagmarGatell) April 13, 2016
Family, friends, society, and environment also make a great impact on a person, especially in his or her childhood.
A1) Some are born with the mindset & determination but then others are made with the challenges and adversity they face in life #SEMRushchat
— Jesse Teske (@JesseTeske) April 13, 2016
Indeed, some people were born audacious, while others were born cautious. Nevertheless, as Dawn Anderson @dawnieando pointed out, unexpected things do happen: “There are unbelievable examples of successful entrepreneurs who persevered against all odds.” And Tim Capper @GuideTwit believes that everyone is born more or less with entrepreneurial spirit: “There is an entrepreneur in everyone – the only difference is the scale.”
Sergio Redondo @sergio_redondo made an interesting point, saying that an entrepreneur is not always a businessman:
A1: But to be an entrepreneur doesn't mean always 2 build a company: it's a way of living, 2 have pleasure of doing new things #semrushchat
— Sergio Redondo (@sergio_redondo) April 13, 2016
As we have figured out, most people think that even though entrepreneurial spirit, determination and a bit of luck are important, anyone can become an entrepreneur.
You have to be strong and passionate, work hard, believe in what you do and never give up. It’s hard, but it’s worth doing!
We asked John and other chat participants to share their good habits as well as secrets of a successful entrepreneur. Dawn Anderson @dawnieando quoted Jim Rohn, a brilliant entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author, who said that the formula for success is quite easy: you just have to practice some simple disciplines every day. And I couldn’t agree more. Maybe the following things won’t work wonders, but if you do them every day, you’ll notice some serious changes happen inside and around you.
Don’t let the grass grow under your feet, start doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
Business owners, especially those who’ve only started their entrepreneurial path, tend to look up to other people who’ve managed to achieve success. It was interesting to learn whether or not our guests have specific role models. Entrepreneur has also created an interesting list of great non-business role models for entrepreneurs.
— John Rampton (@johnrampton) April 13, 2016
Bill Gates is not only a talented entrepreneur, computer programmer and business magnate, but he is also known for his charity work. He brings vaccines to children in Third World countries, invests in science, tries to improve distance education, and takes part in various charitable activities.
— Rachel Howe (@R8chel_Marie) April 13, 2016
Gary Vaynerchuk started out by growing his family wine business from $3 million to $60 million a year in just five years. Today he runs the digital agency VaynerMedia and hosts the popular #AskGaryVee Show, where he answers questions from his online audience. Generally these questions are related to business, branding, marketing and social media. He is also a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author. Clearly, a talented person is talented at everything.
— Dario Zadro (@DarioZadro) April 13, 2016
In order to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations, Elon Musk and his brother started their own software company Zip2. This company made Elon Musk his first millions - he received $22 million from its sale. Today, this CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and CEO and CTO of SpaceX is a role model for many entrepreneurs who admire his incredible achievements.
Some of our chat participants suggested that there are many people who can inspire and motivate us, regardless of their popularity.
A3 Mentors can be found in many places, They don't need to be in a made-for-TV movie to inspire. #SEMRushChat
— Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) April 13, 2016
Sometimes your own colleague or boss can be a great role model to look up to. Dawn Anderson @dawnieando made a good point, saying that role models are those who back up their talking with real actions: “People who walk the walk, not just talk the talk, get respect from me.”
Honesty and integrity are very important criteria that do matter, and they can help you earn people’s respect. Besides, it may sound a cliché, but what goes around comes around.
— Amel Mehenaoui (@amelm) April 13, 2016
In the following recap you’ll see other role models that our guests named.
These men work in different industries, but they are united by their passion and strong love for their work. Whether your passion is online marketing, the music industry, technology or aerospace manufacturing, you can be successful if you really like what you do.
At the very beginning we mentioned that many entrepreneurs start their business with only their own idea and few resources. Starting your own company, you feel excitement, but at the same time you worry, because you can’t predict the results. So, we decided to figure out if it’s possible to understand whether or not your idea is going to be successful.
Our chat participants agree that one size does not fit all, and the definition of success depends on individual. “First the entrepreneur must define what success is to them. Are they willing to pay a price?” Tony Dimmock @Tony_DWM explains.
— John Rampton (@johnrampton) April 13, 2016
Amel Mehenaoui @amelm also suggested how to distinguish brilliant ideas from the bad ones: “The idea is innovative, exciting, can solve a problem and the implementation is not complex and costly.” If no one else is doing what you’re going to do, it means that you probably have something good and innovative on your mind. The same is (is true?) when someone is already doing this, but you’re sure that you can do this even better. Not every great business idea has to be unique. A successful business can be based on an existing idea, but improved and reimagined. If a product that you’re going to offer is better and solves more problems, you’re on the right track.
A4: any idea can be successful in the correct hands, with some perseverance, and the usual blood, sweat and tears... #semrushchat
— Agent Palmer (@AgentPalmer) April 13, 2016
The most fantastic idea will not drive you to success if it is poorly implemented. An idea is just a theory or a hypothesis. Brandon Seymour @Beymour agrees on this point: “Most ideas are perfect in theory, but the overall success of an idea depends largely on how well it's implemented.” You have to carefully evaluate your opportunities, efforts and resources, research your idea, think through all aspects of your future product and then test what you’ve created. And you must be ready for failures and mistakes; even the most elaborate plan doesn’t always guarantee success.
A4: I think that good market research and testing before launching will give you your answer #semrushchat
— Rachel Howe (@R8chel_Marie) April 13, 2016
Market research is one of the most vital steps you should take when starting your business. Some young entrepreneurs think that their idea is flawless, so they simply omit this step. It’s good to believe in yourself, but it’s better to back up your confidence with analysis and research. Learn who your competitors are and analyze your potential customers.
Success also requires setting clear goals; you will accomplish more if you set realistic and clearly defined goals.
In conclusion, I would like to quote our own Oleg Shchegolev @aramisguru, with whom many other successful entrepreneurs will definitely agree:
If you want to find out more on the topic, you can check the article “5 Ways to Know If Your New Business Idea Will Really Work”, which is posted on Inc.
Set goals, do market research, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, learn every single day and pursue your dreams. Following these simple, yet very important rules, you can transform your idea and opportunities into a successful business.
A work-life balance may sound like an impossible task. Still, it’s very important; all medical experts agree that accumulative stress from long and difficult workdays is a serious threat to your health. It’s true that having your own business requires spending long hours on work, but you have to find free time in your tight schedule. At least sometimes your body and mind must rest. We asked entrepreneurs and employees to share their secrets on how to build healthier life habits and not be a workaholic.
This is one of the best definitions of a work-life balance. And it’s great to know that some successful entrepreneurs can accomplish this. Let’s keep that up!
Still, some of our guests said that it’s difficult to achieve such a balance, if you strongly love your job. Many other chat participants feel the same as Oleg Shchegolev @aramisguru: “When you are passionate about your work, it is very difficult to achieve a work-life balance.”
When a company begins to grow, it’s no longer possible for its owner to do everything all alone. A good entrepreneur understands that it’s better to delegate some tasks to other people. Even for a small company it’s better to have several people for different duties, because one person should not be doing everything.
If you noticed that some of your activities brings little results, don’t spend time on them. Try to avoid such time-wasting work. Focus your efforts on something else that might be more effective and beneficial.
Maybe a work-life balance is a bit of a misnomer. Some experts think that it’s a myth:
Set firm boundaries and limits, for example, don’t work at home or late in the evening; try to take small breaks and don’t eat in front of your computer. Yes, there are situations when we have no choice other than to break these rules in order to complete a project or your customer’s order. You can spend a couple of evenings a month on work, but don’t violate those boundaries too often.
James Yorke @BecomeKnown reminded us about the necessity of good time management and recommended several useful tools:
Besides online services, you can also listen to your body, as Reva Minkoff @revaminkoff suggested: “Also listen to your body and your mind -- you know what you need. Make that non-negotiable.” This is an excellent point, because you’re the only one who perfectly understands what you truly need and want. Finally, always remember your health, which badly suffers from stress.
You will also find great tips from John Rampton in his article about maintaining a healthy business through keeping your employees happy and achieving a work-life balance.
Even though a proper work-life balance seems to be difficult to accomplish, you should try to spend more time on other important aspects of your life.
Finally, we asked our chat participants to imagine their past and think what they would have changed, if they had a chance. Many people confessed that they would have started their own business, focus more on education.
Some people regret that they didn’t change something in their lives earlier, while others suppose that everything runs its course.
Recently there’ve been many talks among marketers about focusing more on people and less on sales. Many of our chat participants agree on this point:
Business owners and marketers must make sure they provide their customers with the best product and service. Instead of hard selling, you should offer them something they really need and want. Reva Minkoff @revaminkoff recommended talking to your customers: ”Talk to your customers -- don't be afraid to do surveys and put yourself out there.”
There are ample opportunities for us today. Only those who aren’t afraid of changes and risks can fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams. The best work is work that you enjoy, so try to turn your hobby into a career. ThinkSEM @ThinkSEM reminds us again that we have another life besides our job: “Probably the biggest thing would be focusing on life and not just work.”
Be more confident and believe in your abilities.
Let’s sum up the answers to our final question!
Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but enjoying your success is worth all your time and effort. If you build your business around your values and passion and strive to do something that no one else has done before, you will create a real masterpiece.
Thanks to our special guest John Rampton @johnrampton and all who participated in our chat!