"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."
- Henry Ford
Entrepreneurship is a combination of both soft and hard skills.
Hard skills include writing copy for your ads, coding the prototype, writing up contracts, and so on.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are the assets and skills you bring to your business that help you perform with cool, collected, confidence. They are the way you introduce yourself to new customers, the way you listen to your employees, and anything else acting as oil to the machine.
Hard skills can be likened to the matter that is the earth, while soft skills are what keep the whole thing turning and livable.
Our virtual mastermind community of entrepreneurs, freelancers, business owners, and other ambitious leaders constantly share with each other what works and what doesn't for them in their respective businesses. Across industries and business models, these 6 soft skills time and again prove to be paramount in moving the needle forward consistently in every business operation.
The 6 Soft Skills Every Entrepreneur Must Master
1. Time Management
Time is your best friend and can be your worst enemy.
We all have the same amount of time in any given day, yet not all of us leverage it to the highest potential.
What we say YES to takes up our time, and what we say NO to doesn't.
It's pretty black and white, yet so many of us can't seem to keep our priorities straight and we end up confused as to why we continue to miss our big goals.
Time management is the key.
Put simply, "Are you using your time to produce results in the areas that move your operation forward, or are you distracted and/or working on peripheral non essentials?"
There's only 24 hours in a day and there's a million things to do.
Not all of those things are of equal importance.
Create a prioritization system and implement it at the beginning of each week and each day to figure out the top 3-5 things you need to accomplish to move the needle forward.
Multi-tasking is a myth.
Close the tabs and work on one thing at a time.
When you finish that one, take a quick break, and then get to the next one.
Action: Focus on ONE thing at a time AND make sure that thing is directly correlated to a result.
Let go of control
The only way to scale is to understand that you can't do everything yourself.
Furthermore, please consider the idea that you're not always going to have the best ideas in your business.
Steve Jobs has famously said, "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."
Your mission is to build a team of people who are as excited about the vision as you are and then to give them room to run with a project.
This is the only way to work on more than one thing at once.
You can't clone yourself, but you can hire others, communicate your vision and values clearly, and then help them see what success looks like and motivate them to produce results.
Action: Identify a project that is taking too much of your time or that you don't have expertise in, and find an employee or hire a freelancer to take it on and bring life to your idea.
On day 1, you're the only person who knows about your business.
From there on out, each successive person you tell about the venture (through networking events, chance encounters, ads, website, etc.) continues to grow that number.
Mastering the art of storytelling gives you the chance to pitch your idea in a way that will most likely resonate with people, increasing the odds that they'll become a customer or refer someone else who's a better fit.
Storytelling is essential as it gives people a context as to why the business exists and helps them see where they fit into the story.
Are they the hero who forges the sword in your anvil?
Are they the rich baron who funds your adventure?
Are they the eccentric guru who gives you sage advice?
Stories help people understand what role to play in your story.
The reality is most people you tell your story to will be common town folk in this tale. And that's alright. The town folk need to know the popular tale so they have something to talk about and spread amongst the rest of the kingdom.
Your legend is only spread if people know about it.
The better the story, the more people will want to talk about it, and the more it spreads to the ears of others who do play a critical role. Customers hear of it. Patreons hear of it. Allies hear of it.
A good story spreads across the land and incites people to take action and join the cause.
Action: Turn your pitch into a story and tell at least 1 person a day.
Curiosity is the key to the kingdom as far as entrepreneurship goes.
If you can wonder about how something works and how you can make it better, you're on the road to success.
Curiosity means constantly asking the question, "How does this work?" Followed by, "Why does it work this way?" Followed shortly thereafter with "What would it look like if it was different?"
Curiosity is the starting point for finding a business opportunity in the first place, for improving all systems and processes, and for understanding what will drive the greatest value for your customers.
Action: Ask WHY as often as possible.
GRIT is a close relative of curiosity. However, instead of a question, it's a statement.
GRIT is a firm belief that "I can make this work."
It's the unrelenting idea that "everything is figureoutable" as Marie Forleo would say.
GRIT is digging in your heels when nothing is working.
GRIT is getting out of bed the next morning after a day when nothing has gone right, and returning to the office to make it right again.
Action: Every time something goes wrong, smile and say, "I can make this work."
I know, entrepreneurship is almost directly counter to patience. It's all run run run and no breathe.
But listen, patience is paramount when customers aren't responding, ads aren't generating leads, and revenue isn't flowing as fluidly as you'd prefer.
Patience means not jumping from business model to business model when things aren't going according to plan.
Patience means being able to keep it together and trust the process, even when you're not seeing results.
Like the captain of a ship in the middle of a storm, patience is trusting your gut and staying the course when times are tough.
If you can take the actions suggested to master each of these 6 soft skills, you're going to have a lot better chance at success in your business endeavors.
We want to hear from you!
Which of these are you excited to work on first?
Have you implemented any of these in the past and if so, what results did you see?
Is there anything else you'd consider to be a necessary soft skill to master?
Here's to you Actualizing Your Potential!
Founder and CEO @ STRIVENT
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