So today, I am going to talk about something that is quite close to my heart.
“Genecia, I don’t think entrepreneurship is for me. I don’t like taking risk.”
Yes, that is one of the statements that I have heard the most over the years of coaching.
Well, today, I’m going to overturn this widespread assumption.
Entrepreneurship is not for just risk-takers alone.
Entrepreneurship is for business owners, for normal people who have a great desire to own their own business, and along the way, as they encounter risk, instead of avoiding it, they embrace it.
They own it, they use it to move themselves and their businesses forward.
So, in the previous few episodes, we discussed the topic of following your dreams and how to deal with unsupportive family members.
One of those dreams might be owning your own small (or big) business, and that is a topic that I will be picking apart today.
I believe many of you must have asked yourself one of the following questions – either “Is entrepreneurship too large a risk for me to take?” or, “Is entrepreneurship really for me?”
According to a new research paper by researchers from the Halle Institute for Economic Research, the long-standing assumptions with regards to studies done on entrepreneurship have been that people’s tolerance for risk doesn’t change in the long run, and that comfort with risk-taking is what causes people to become entrepreneurs.
Instead, the paper proposes that entrepreneurs are not risk-tolerant people that purposefully seek out entrepreneurship. Instead, entrepreneurs learn how to build an appetite for risk as part of managing their own business, and become relatively comfortable with handling risk over time.
People who are uncomfortable with risk can adapt or train themselves to handle it.
Here are some tips on how to train yourself to embrace risk instead of avoiding it.
1. Every opportunity comes with risk
There is no such thing as a risk-free opportunity. Just like the saying, “There is no free lunch in this world”, if there is no risk involved, you should be running in the other direction.
2. Discuss risk with those whom it might directly impact
Again, reiterating the previous weeks’ point about communication amongst yourself and family members, if starting a business will impact your family’s finances in a negative way, you should definitely stick to your job while managing a business on the side.
Still, the time might come when you might have to take a leap of faith and concentrate solely on your business. However, if you have discussed this with your family members and they are all in full support of this move, then you are able to better concentrate on growing the business instead of having to worry about family tussles and petty arguments.
3. Have a plan
That is not to say, however, that you simply take the jump off that cliff without an aim or direction, just hoping for the best, floundering along till something comes up. Because that something never will.
So don’t be a prisoner of hope, don’t be someone who hopes that something will happen. Be that someone that will make things happen instead of waiting around.
You need to have a long-term plan, and the opportunity and risk you choose to accept must fit into that plan, which will enable you to move forward.
If the risk you take fails to do just that, if it fails to enable you, your customers, or your company to move forward, then there is no point in taking that risk.
4. Sacrifice good for great
Still, things do not always pan out as planned.
If you see that there could be a chance to make your business even bigger and better, through other streams of income that might not have been in the original master plan, you should risk a successful business to take off in that other direction.
This is, of course, after doing your groundwork, market research and analyzing consumers’ responses, not based on pure gut feel.
5. Be prepared to fail fast
If you’re prepared to embrace risk, you should also be prepared for the possibility that things might not go well.
Handle your emotions and be in control of them. Don’t break into hysterics the minute things do not go your way.
Oprah Winfrey herself, owner of an empire worth $2.9 billion today, was fired from her first anchor job in Baltimore, where she said she faced sexism and harassment.
But she never gave up, never backed down, and became the queen of undisputed television talk shows in America before becoming the woman she is today.
The point is, don’t dwell on your past failures. Assess them, figure out what went wrong, and then move on. Take away lessons, not regrets!
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