Before starting your own business, you should first consider a few key points: why you want to be an entrepreneur, where to find funding for your startup, the best type of business to start, and more. For those who want to start their journey toward entrepreneurship, the hardest step is often the first one. How can you make the transition from considering to doing? How long does it take to become an entrepreneur? According to some experts, it is possible to launch yourself as an entrepreneur in only 12 weeks. While the process isn’t easy, and the end result may not be global domination, a person who wishes to develop an entrepreneurial mindset can do so in three short months.
The process of establishing an entrepreneurial mindset follows a set pattern:
- Figure out what you want to happen.
- Take a small step toward making it happen.
- Evaluate the success of that step and learn from it.
- Use what you learned to take another step.
- Learn from that process, and take another step.
- Repeat, until you achieve your dream.
By breaking the pattern down into manageable steps, the road to entrepreneurship will seem less overwhelming.
Weeks 1–4: Evaluation
Determine your goals. Spend some time during these first few weeks evaluating and analyzing your goals for the future. Is it to acquire more wealth? Develop a product that makes life easier? Have more time to spend with family? What are the things that drive you? Where do your passions lie?
Work on your mindset. Most people have either a growth or a fixed mindset. Yours will determine your success, so establishing a mindset that is geared toward growth will ultimately succeed. People with a fixed mindset are generally focused on their talents, not their efforts. They accept things the way they are and are not prone to changing. Individuals with a growth mindset, however, believe that they can change themselves through learning and effort.
During the final stage of the evaluation segment, you should develop a blueprint for the future. Start by determining what your result should be; it will be easier to work backward on developing ways to achieve it. It also helps to put this blueprint in writing for the next step.
Weeks 5–8: Education
Once you have determined the end result, it is time to establish how to reach it. Do you already possess the skills necessary to reach your goals? Are there certifications that you can take to verify your abilities? Find online courses that you can take to brush up on or learn any needed skills. Many trade schools, libraries, and other organizations offer training courses that can help you get the skills you need. Contact your local small business association to find out resources available to you. Don’t put off this step for ‘another day.’ Use the initiative and motivation of starting in 12 weeks to compel you to find a class that you can take right away. Even if you cannot finish the class within the four-week block, get started as soon as possible.
Establish your brand. What do you wish to be known for? How do you want people to identify you? People are more likely to do business with someone they trust. For a surefire way to succeed, find a way to create a brand identity for yourself in a way that expresses your personality. Add your branding ideas and education needs to your blueprint.
Weeks 9–12: Execution
Generally, there are two different types of entrepreneurs: conditional and unconditional. Conditional entrepreneurs have a set of “conditions” that must be met before they can act. Before venturing onto their journey toward entrepreneurship, they tie up all their loose ends and have everything they need to start. Unconditional entrepreneurs act, regardless of how they feel or if they have everything they need. They follow the “fake it ‘til you make it” philosophy, which helps them make incremental progress every day. Evaluate which type of entrepreneur you are and establish a plan to move forward.
Identify your target market and establish a relationship with them. Through a developed relationship, you can start to find out where their needs are and how you can best meet those needs. Marketing your business in a clear, distinct manner ensures that you are attracting the people most likely to use your services.
Be confident in your product. Make sure that you can deliver what you promise, and then offer it to people at a reasonable price. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth; people will be happy to pay for something that solves their problems. Determine how much financial income you need to meet your monthly budget and then convert that into how many clients you will need.
Don’t wait until things are “perfect” to start your journey to entrepreneurship. There will never be a perfect time to make the leap. Not only will you learn from doing, you will find that you are more engaged with the process after working through the 12- week mindset shift. Once you begin to think like an entrepreneur, it will become second nature. Soon you’ll find that opportunity seems to shine on your efforts.