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Business

Business 101: How to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 5 min read

Starting a new business is not for the faint of heart. It requires faith, persistence, and a lot of hard work. So what separates successful CEOs from the rest of the pack? It’s more than likely that they have an entrepreneurial mindset.

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Sara Blakely Teaches Self-Made EntrepreneurshipSara Blakely Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship

Spanx founder Sara Blakely teaches you bootstrapping tactics and her approach to inventing, selling, and marketing products that consumers love.

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What Is an Entrepreneurial Mindset?

If entrepreneurship the practice of creating, developing, and running your own business, then an
entrepreneurial mindset is the mode of thinking that helps you achieve those goals. Successful entrepreneurs embrace challenges, mistakes, and failure as opportunities to develop new skill sets to help them succeed in the future.

When it comes to running a successful business, the right mindset can be just as important as hitting sales objectives or producing sustainable business models. It’s okay if you don’t feel up to the task. Having doubts makes you human. Knowing how to nip them in the bud can make you a great entrepreneur.

The 4 Characteristics of an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Every entrepreneur is unique and no path to success is the same, but all successful entrepreneurs share a specific skillset that allows them to solve problems, overcome obstacles, and thrive in their respective fields. Some of those skills include:

  1. Ability to confront self-doubt: Teaching yourself how to think means acting like your own coach or even cheerleader. Entrepreneurial success will come from your ability to control your own thoughts and confront your self-doubt, making it easier to navigate the failures and disappointments inherent in going it on your own.
  2. Accountability: Having an entrepreneurial spirit includes recognizing your responsibility for the outcomes and actions of your business. When big things go wrong (and they will), the buck stops with you. Even when outcomes are outside of your complete control, entrepreneurial thinking requires you to avoid making excuses and instead take actions to resolve the option.
  3. Resilience: Mistakes are inevitable when attempting to launch new ventures. Everyone from Silicon Valley billionaires to low-level employees makes mistakes. That’s why resilience is one of the most important life skills for an entrepreneur. Your ability to bounce back from failure will help your business stay afloat and inspire a team to follow your leadership.
  4. Willingness to experiment: Whether you’re the co-founder of a bourgeoning business or simply one of the many young people trying to set out on a new career path, your road to sustained success will lead you to many tough decisions. Entrepreneurs are always willing to experiment when it comes to new products, business plans, or problem-solving techniques. They test out different products and pricing, soliciting feedback from a core team of trusted advisers, and they’re willing to abandon ideas when they aren’t working.
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How to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

It may seem difficult to develop an entrepreneurial mindset if you aren’t actively working as CEO of a successful startup. However, the truth is that you can hone the skillsets required for successful entrepreneurship no matter your current job title. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can develop your entrepreneurial mindset in your everyday life:

  1. Set clear goals. Setting a goal—speaking it to the universe, writing it down, mentioning it to friends and family who will hold you accountable—can subtly influence aspiring entrepreneurs to work towards that goal bit by bit each day. If you don’t feel like you’ve clearly articulated your goals, set aside some time to brainstorm until you know exactly what you’re aiming for.
  2. Practice being decisive. Entrepreneurs, innovators, and new business owners must develop the ability to analyze a situation, absorb the relevant data, and make a confident decision. Small businesses and start-ups can be ruined by indecision, which is why making a decision with confidence is one of the most vital entrepreneurial skills. You can practice decisiveness in the real world or in your personal life, whether you’re ordering at a restaurant or making evening plans. Practicing making small decisions with confidence will pay off when you’re faced with big challenges in your business.
  3. Redefine failure. Failing typically has negative connotations, but the best entrepreneurs turn failure into something positive. Failing indicates that you’ve tried something, which can be a scary thing to do. True failure is not trying at all. Practice failure dialogues. You can do this in your notebook or with a friend. Have them ask you about your failures every day for a week. Answer honestly. Soon, you may find that instead of feeling shame when you discuss your failures, you’ll feel pride at showing off what you’ve attempted.
  4. Face your fears. Many entrepreneurs fear public speaking, failure, and embarrassment. The only way to chisel away at that fear is to expose yourself to it. Getting rejected again and again will anesthetize you to the letdown. Take a public speaking class—anything to get you more comfortable in front of a crowd. If you want to improve your communication skillset, take an acting or stand-up comedy class. Both will force you to confront your vulnerability and get you accustomed to talking to strangers. Plus, you’ll learn the importance of good timing and delivery—a skill that is as key in sales and daily life it is in acting and comedy. If you want to increase your critical thinking or problem-solving abilities, take a debate class. It will force you analyze two ways to look at an issue and will help you anticipate objections potential customers may have to buying your product.
  5. Remain curious. Curiosity is one of the most important traits for entrepreneurs. To constantly learn and maintain your competitive edge, you must always seek out new people and new experiences. Never lose the curiosity to see around corners.

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Learn More About Entrepreneurship

Sara Blakely had no fashion, retail, or business leadership experience when she invented Spanx in the late 1990s. All she had was $5,000 and an idea. Which means you can start your own billion-dollar business, too. Learn more about finding your purpose, making prototypes, building awareness, and selling your product in Sara Blakely’s MasterClass.

Get the MasterClass Annual Membership for exclusive access to video lessons taught by business luminaries, including Sara Blakely, Bob Iger, Howard Schultz, Anna Wintour, and more.

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