Business Management

How to Become an Entrepreneur: 4 Vital Tips for Success

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I keep hearing people say things like “I hate my job,” or “I don’t make enough money,” or “My stupid boss said [this]or [that].”  Many ask me questions about how to become an entrepreneur. And then a week, a month, a year, a lifetime later… they are still at that job.

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They have dreams of spending more time with family, traveling the world, working on their own thing… but it never happens.

Sure, maybe they jump over to another job, but let’s be honest. The same jerk co-workers, boss, time clock, and TPS reports are there, too. So, how does someone quit their job—for good?

If you want to know how to become an entrepreneur and start living life on your own terms, you are going to have to grow up and understand four simple truths.

How to Become an Entrepreneur in 4 Not-So-Easy Steps

1. You’ve Got to Take It—No One Is Going to Give It to You

Look, if you really want to learn how to become an entrepreneur, you need to stop living reactively. This means stop living life like you are a pinball, getting hit back and forth by everyone and everything else.

What do you want with your life? Really. What do you want?

Who do you want to be? What do you want to spend your days doing? What makes you happy and fulfilled? How do you want to look? Where do you want to live?

Figure out who you want to be, and then stop living reactively and spend the rest of your life going after what you want with everything you have.

Related: 10 Simple, Everyday Things You MUST Do to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

2. To Learn How to Become an Entrepreneur, Use Your Collateral

If you are looking to quit your job, it’s likely you have a few ideas on how you want to do it. Maybe you are going to flip houses. Maybe you are going to open up a gas station. Maybe you are going to sell products on Amazon.

But it’s going to fail if you don’t have collateral.

What’s collateral? It’s a term used in Cal Newport’s incredible book So Good They Can’t Ignore You that comprises the knowledge, experience, and skills you’ve acquired in a given industry, over time. Too many people try to start businesses without collateral and wind up broke—or worse.

Let me give you an example. I've been investing in real estate for a decade. I know how to find, analyze, and finance deals. I know how to flip houses. I know how to manage tenants.

But if I decided to open up a burger joint because it sounds fun, my lack of collateral is going to kill me. I don’t know anything about burgers. But could I open up a roofing company? There’s a much better chance at that.

So maybe you want to open up a Crossfit gym or a plumbing company or a music studio or whatever. Before you do, ask yourself, do you have the necessary collateral?

The fastest way to quit your job is to use the collateral you’ve built up at your job and start getting paid for it. Maybe that means freelancing or jumping into a related field. But it doesn’t mean jumping ship and starting something new just because you are bored. Play to your strengths and use the collateral you have.

Young Asian businesswoman frowning with concern as she tries to understand something she is reading on her laptop computer scratching her head with her pencil in perplexity

3. Good at Your Business = Good at Entrepreneurship

There is a big difference between being able to make a latte and owning a coffee shop. Yet time after time, individuals who happen to be good at a certain skill try to open a business in that field and find nothing but failure.

“But Brandon,” you say, “Didn’t you just tell us to use the collateral we have to open a business?”

Yes, and a coffee shop is a pretty great business for a barista to open—IF that barista is willing to learn an entirely new set of skills called “business management.”

Yes, management is a skill, which means it can be learned. So the plumber who wants to open a plumbing company should spend more time learning how to run a business than fix a leak. A fitness coach intent on going out on their own should spend more time learning how to market themselves and organize their paperwork than the latest training technique. A barista should spend more time learning how to grow a coffee shop and less time learning how to make a perfect latte.

For more on this concept, read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. It’ll change your life.

OK, onto number four.

Related: 4 Influential Business Books Every Entrepreneur Should Be Reading

4. Embrace the Day to Day Grind of the Entrepreneur

The problem with most people learning how to become an entrepreneur is not that they lack a plan—it’s that they lack the day-to-day willingness to struggle that’s needed to achieve their goals.

They switch back and forth between ideas every week, unsure of what “the right choice” is. They spend time working on “fun” projects—like designing business cards or attending conferences—rather than spending the 12 hours a day typing code, making sales calls, crawling under houses, whatever. They get bored after a few weeks and stop hustling.

Key Takeaways on Becoming an Entrepreneur

Learning how to become an entrepreneur is not easy, but it’s also not impossible. It will work if you work for it. But we’re not cooking a casserole here—it’s not “set it and forget it!”

Entrepreneurship is day after day, week after week, late nights, early mornings, tough times, slow stumbles, busy weekends, delayed vacations, constantly improving, never-give-up kind of work.

And anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a dream. And I’m not about that. You don’t need a dream. You need to get off your butt and put in some good old fashioned work.

And even then, your business idea might fail. Because not every business idea is a guaranteed success—but YOU will succeed eventually if you are persistent enough to show up every day and work for it.


Any questions about how to become an entrepreneur?

Let me know with a comment!

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He is a nationally recognized leader in the real estate education space and has tau...
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    Luc Boiron Specialist from Toronto, Ontario
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Great post! Many good tips, particularly for someone who is on the verge of going out on their own. #4 in particular resonates with me. That switching between ideas, shiny object syndrome is something I am afraid will happen to me – but knowing this, I will take steps to focus. Thanks for the post.
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Brandon, That was a good reminder that nothing comes easy. Thanks I enjoyed your speak! Nancy E.
    Timothy Friars
    Replied about 4 years ago
    “They get bored after a few weeks and stop hustling” So true. It’s not for everyone. It can be excruciatingly exhausting, but if you want something more you gotta keep moving forward!
    John Mathewson from Schererville, Indiana
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Loved the article. Being an entrepreneur def isn’t easy but it is so worth the extra work.
    Tiffanie Battram
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hi Annika, I saw your comment and wanted to share some of my favorite entrepreneurial learning resources. One of my favorites is a podcast series that has really sparked and strengthened my entrepreneurial drive and spirit! It’s called “A Conversation Among Friends” by Bob Olmstead — — Bob also offers a free master class for entrepreneurs. Listening to his series has not only provided me with a solid footing and understanding of my own authentic self, but has also asked me the important questions about why I wanted to start a business in the first place, it’s been very transformational! I also love love love Skillshare and Udemy, those are both great resources that offer a variety of classes in various fields ranging from Business, to photography to crafting, and much more, there’s a lot to choose from. Good luck on your entrepreneurial journey!
    Diaz Juan from Oakland, CA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Really great article for people who Become an Entrepreneur like me. Vital Tips help us to set our goal for success. Thanks for share with us.
    Allen Dean Narib from Windhoek, Namibia
    Replied over 2 years ago
    This surely is an eye opener and with practicality one can become a entrepreneur
    Kathleen Crane Flipper/Rehabber from Greenville, SC
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Great article and so true especially #4. I am using the 12 week year to help me stay on course but even with that sometimes I catch myself trying to switch to tasks that are less productive. Discipline, Commitment, Implementation and reading my Goals daily are key to helping me stay focused. Good luck on everyone's journey!