“You hear people talking about their great business idea, but they’ve been talking about it forever!” Tony Robbins says, as if his voice is bubbling underwater in his trademark husky tone. His exasperation at the end of this comment echoes the frustration he must feel when he comes across people who want to achieve their full potential in business, but simply don’t.
I heard his fantastic term ‘wantrepreneur’ recently, and while initially the coupling of ‘want’ and ‘entrepreneur’ might sound positive, the ‘want’ in the word is the very distinction between what constitutes a wantrepreneur and a successful entrepreneur. People online are using the phrase Wantrepreneur Wednesday as a neat hashtag-y concept, so when I found the term at first glance, I thought it was relating to individuals who simply want to become entrepreneurs. What’s wrong with that?
Well, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all; but, I think the distinction between a wantrepreneur and an entrepreneur is that the people who fit the former definition are stuck in the phase of ‘want’. I have also observed that being stuck in the phase of ‘want’ doesn’t only have to mean that these individuals don’t take action, but the ones that do take action take evasive action.
So, to describe how these manifest in more detail, let’s start with considering the individuals who don’t take any action towards their entrepreneurial goals. With these people, their ideas either stay in their heads completely, or they might communicate their ideas with everyone, but they still don’t take any practical action.
Note: Want to be your own boss? Read our guide on how to become self employed.
Robbins has focused primarily on the lack of action, stating that the most important factors to get out of the ‘wantrepreneurial’ state are to:
- Take action towards business goals
- Work with emotion and repetition (the practice of repetition with emotional intensity)
- Be your true self, and work for something greater than yourself
- Create a work-life integration, not a work-life balance
Looking at the second point seems particularly relevant, since getting fired up about something only to have that enthusiasm and drive fizzle out is a potential outcome. Being super energised to take action is one thing, but maintaining that momentum with emotional investment is another.
Here are some ways that you can stay motivated as an entrepreneur:
- Write a regular list of points that sum up why you chose/are choosing to become an entrepreneur
- Find a success story/several success stories of people that achieved something similar to what you want to achieve
- Create a healthy, disciplined routine that includes eating well and getting enough exercise. Schedule in breaks, and make time for yourself outside of work
- Create lists of daily goals. This will focus your mind on manageable objectives, and you’ll feel great ticking them off
- Get inspired by watching and listening to motivational content. This could be in the form of music, film, or podcasts. Reading books and joining an entrepreneurs book club is another great option
- Get enough sleep. Take time to wind down and relax so that you can restore your cognitive capacity
- Incentivise your efforts by giving yourself small rewards
However, I also believe that being a wantrepreneur doesn’t only apply to those who don’t take action, it also applies to those who take less important, indirect action.
Wantrepreneurs focus on the external things like marketing, business cards, and the overall idea, without actually validating the business idea. It’s focusing on all of the things that are less important than the hard part – producing a financially viable business.
So how can you tell if your business is financially viable?
This free course from Udemy on How to Build a Startup is a good introduction to producing a financially viable business model.
Further to this, you could:
- Ask people what they think of your idea in relation to what they want. You could research this by sending out surveys or holding a focus group
- Research your competitors
- Research what customers are already buying
- Do a test run. You could offer the service/product for free for a short time period to see how well it performs, or alternatively, you could do a small-scale launch for your research purposes. Once you’ve tested this and gathered your results, you can choose how to proceed from there
Real entrepreneurs focus on creating a product or service that people really want. Surface level marketing efforts should enhance the value of the product or service, not replace it, and long-term success will be a reflection of the inherent value of the thing on offer.
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