by Roz A. Gee
Entrepreneurs are all different. But one thing is for sure: in the evolving world of entrepreneurship, it takes both skill and grit. It also requires strong acuity in how our minds and attitudes are set. According to Financial Times, an entrepreneurial mindset refers to a specific state of mind that orientates human conduct toward entrepreneurial activities and outcomes. Individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets are often drawn to opportunities, innovation, and new value creation.
Black Enterprise recently caught up with transformational coach and CEO of Wealth Improvement Network (WIN) Natalie S. Taylor to share insight and talk about ways we can firmly establish and maintain a thriving and winning mindset in business.
According to Taylor, when we are truly honest with ourselves, we can admit that it’s not about anyone else’s dream as it is about living life on our own terms. Many are now excited to improve their life quality by getting back control over their time, securing a financial future, and seizing various opportunities through entrepreneurship. While economic indicators all illustrate significant growth markers, there are fundamental needs and desires that all human beings share. With the unemployment rate at a record low of 3.8%, there has also been a sluggish wage growth according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Additionally, income inequity has gotten worse. Data from the Congressional Budget Office reports that the gross inequity can be seen with the top 10% of families owning $51 trillion of total U.S. wealth, which represents 75% of American household wealth.
However, many are still struggling to make the shift from the mindset of an employee with a steady predictable income to a new mindset that is required to forgo immediate gratification of a paycheck that comes with exchanging time for money. To flourish on the journey of entrepreneurship, Taylor discusses five (5) key mindset shifts that can help you win.
1. Overcoming Rejection
The biggest thing to remember about rejection is that it’s never personal, although it sure does feel that way. Yes, you will have family and friends alike who may not support you. Bear in mind that everyone can’t see or won’t see the vision. They’re not saying ‘no’ to you but are declining to engage at the given time for whatever reason. Rejection has caused more entrepreneurs to walk away from their dreams because they haven’t dealt with the fact that rejection is inevitable and should be expected. In fact, in their book, Go For No! Yes Is The Destination, No Is How You Get There, authors Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz share a story of how a major difference in the main character’s life and overall successful lifestyle was his attitude toward rejection. The story used a case where good really was the enemy of great, as the main character always wanted to know what his client’s reasons were for saying no so he could go and work on improving his pitch, presentation, and product and go back over and over until he would win the client. Again, rejection isn’t personal nor should it be received that way. It is simply an opportunity to learn and adjust so you can adjust one or more parts of your strategy.
2. Supporting Businesses
This area is crucial in maintaining a right mindset as we often want our businesses to be supported but fail to support other businesses. We can provide support both online and offline. For online, social media is one of the most effective ways to leverage and build relationships. I’ve built business relationships in over 40 states and globally all online. Building genuine relationships on social media requires being intentional because there’s no quick formula. Set a goal to connect with 10 new persons per week or month based on your time and required network. Once you identify the businesses or persons you want to support (and can afford), give feedback using your social media platforms. Engage, encourage, and edify by highlighting or spotlighting their services and products. This will do more for them than you can even imagine. It’s about having the mindset of each one, help one and building a tribe around that mindset.
3. Managing Finances:
This one is a biggie. In this social media era with good lighting and a plethora of editing apps, it’s quite popular to “fake it until you make it,” but my mantra is to avoid going broke by pretending to be rich. Your audience will connect with you more at your true place of authenticity. When it comes to money matters, simply use what you have. You may have to eat at home more versus eating out. If they don’t support your business, then you shouldn’t be going out to party and eat with them. At least not initially when you need all of your coins to invest in and sustain your startup. Also, wear what you have. In my wardrobe, I do buy quality clothes and shoes but I also have no problem mixing and matching items and accessories I find at a bargain to create a whole new look and feel. It’s also essential to learn how to budget and live on less than you make. Entrepreneurship can be fickle at first when you are just getting started. One season you could be raking in the dough and another season, your clients or customers are not just spending as much. Therefore, saving and reinvesting in your business is key to keep going and growing consistently in and out of season.
4. Scaling Networks
It’s true that your network is tied to your net worth. So, work your network horizontally from left to right, not just vertically. Your horizontal network is a warm network of peers, colleagues, associates and alike, that’s easy to reach, learn, expand, and grow from. The objective is to leverage the strength of your network. Earlier, we spoke about rejection that will often come from this warm network. However, one way to overcome this is by looking for win-win solutions for everyone. When your friends, family, or old schoolmates see an opportunity to win by supporting you, they are more likely to commit to your mission and vision. The key is to create a vision large enough to accommodate the vision of others with whom you are looking to partner. In several interviews with Issa Rae, she shared that her success with her ultra-popular HBO hit series, Insecure, is a direct result of her partnering with friends from college. Issa originally started her career right out of college with Awkward Black Girl, a web series hosted on YouTube produced and written by her and a college roommate. Perhaps the next pivotal step or major breakthrough awaiting can be found in your phone contacts disguised as a distant cousin, prior co-worker, or classmate.
5. Paying It Forward
In order to leave a legacy, it’s essential to adopt and embrace the mindset reciprocity (exchange), sowing, and reaping. Basically, don’t forget the ones who helped you get started. As you grow and begin to accelerate on your journey of success, remember the pain of your struggle and look for an opportunity to pay it forward. Identify those who may come from the same background, with similar drive and pursuit for success and help that person with your time and or resources. This is an ideal opportunity to sow. Find out who wants to win at a level that you have won then pay it forward in their life, business, or career by being a mentor, investor, or volunteer. Purpose trumps profits every day. It’s about taking care of people, that’s what matters at the end of the day. This mindset disposition is incredibly rewarding and impactful.