10 Things You Should Do Before Becoming an Entrepreneur


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Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about building a startup and having the three letters CEO on your name card.

It requires a lot of more discipline and patience in being an entrepreneur than being an employee.

Your mindset must be wired right to brace for the turbulent times when your business isn’t doing so well or when there are conflicts within your company.

The following are things you should do before becoming an entrepreneur.

1. Learn to motivate yourself

If you rely on motivational videos to get you through the day… keep watching and start producing your very own series in your head.

You must be able to motivate yourself when you become an entrepreneur simply because the buck stops with you.

You may be able to hire workers to do most of the work for you and be a business owner, but if they aren’t self-motivated, they will look to you as a source of motivation.

The business is the reflection of its owner.

If you can’t fire yourself up during the days when you don’t feel like working or when things haven’t been performing as well you’d like, you can’t make it.

What you can do:

Find your why

Often times we do things simply because it’s what other people say it ought to be.

Why do you want to be in business? To become a millionaire?

Why do you want to become a millionaire? For freedom?

Why do you want freedom for?

The more questions you ask, the better you understand your own hidden intentions behind why you do what you do.

Identify your mission

Now that you have found your personal why, it’s time to find out your external why.

Doing things for your own interest will only carry so far.

Too often, once people hit their personal goal, they stop doing it altogether since the reason they did it in the first place was to prove to themselves that they could do it – that they had it in them.

Identifying your mission is an amazing motivator and it draws you to your goals than you pushing yourself towards it.

If your missions is to connect the world (like Mark Zuckerberg did), you will work day and night only thinking about how to solve that problem.

Did you know that Zuckerberg was offered at the age of 22 to part with Facebook for $1 billion? And he said “No” because he believed and he knew that he could make it bigger than it already is.

2. Save Save Save

Don’t start your business with the presumption that you will get funding right out of the gate.

It will take the right idea pitched in front of the right people at the right time to get the funding you need.

The habit that our parents told us to cultivate at an early age plays a huge role in business.

If you don’t have the habit of saving money where you can, not only will your books be in the red, the investors themselves wouldn’t be too happy with you mismanaging funds either.

The business is the reflection of its owner.

Have the habit of saving and delaying gratification before you venture out into being an entrepreneur.

What you can do:

Follow Buffett’s advice and only spend after you have saved

Most people do it backwards – they spend the money they have and only save what is left at the end of the month.

Take a portion of the amount of money you can save that you deem respectable – 30% is a good number and set it aside.

And calculate your daily budget spend.

Doing this early helps when you have to figure out profits and losses, runway and burn rates later on.

3. Learn how to sell

It is common knowledge that the most important skill to learn in business is sales (or persuasion).

You need to be able to communicate clearly and effective to whoever you are dealing with – be it a customer, a partner or an investor.

What you can do:

Here are a few books you can check out –

Influence book by Robert Cialdini
Secrets of Closing The Sale book by Zig Ziglar
Straight Line Persuasion course by Jordan Belfort

4. Work for one

In the book, Mastery by Robert Greene, the author explained that on the path to mastery, one should be in an apprenticeship or have a mentor.

Centuries before the industrial revolution, people learned the tricks of the trade by apprenticing under masters for a contract period of 7 years. That was the norm and that was how craftsmen were born.

If you intend to become an entrepreneur, it is vital to learn from someone directly who is in your industry and has been through the same journey you are about to go on.

Work closely and shadow them.

What you can do:

If they are especially influential in your field, do spec work for them (unpaid work).

Do an unpaid internship if you have to.

Their insights and their lay of the land you easily cut your learning curve in half and save you lots of money in stupid mistakes most beginners make.

5. Network and build relationships

Your network is your net worth.

When it comes to deal flow and business development, it’s all about contacts.

In business, who you know matters a lot.

The people you meet will open doors for you and can connect you to the key people for your business – be it a partner or investor.

What you can do:

Start out by spicing up your LinkedIn profile and send invites to the people you want to meet and give a real comment on the things you saw on their profile.

Always build the relationship before you need it.

Otherwise you will appear just like every other transactional relationship.

Besides online, go to conferences and startup meetups.

While some may still prefer business cards, give them out sparingly and get their number and e-mail directly instead. If the event has a facebook page, click through and find out who are going and do homework on them as well.

Some will be impressed by your level of preparation and they will have a good impression of you.

The books I recommend on the subject are the How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

6. Work 80 hours a week for 24 months

That translates to about 12 hours a day 7 days week.

Your work ethic determines a whole lot of your success as an entrepreneur.

What you can do:

Start practicing it now at your current job.

If 2 years seem like a whole lot of time, try doing it for just 1 month, then 2 and then 3.

The idea is to get used to be always working and making things happen.

7. Learn how to research and learn fast

Speed matters in the world of business.

The ability to learn and the willingness to learn separates the successful from the unsuccessful.

Bill Gates takes a week off every 6 months just to read and reflect (he still did this during the height of Microsoft’s success, mind you).

What you can do:

Set aside time just to read up on articles or books on your industry – learn what are the current trends as well as how to fine tune your current approaches or processes to be more effective.

Put into practice what you learn and treat them as experiments with outcomes.

If an experiment fails, mark it as a different outcome as you thought. It’s not a failure, it’s a test.

Also regularly review what you done during the day and how could you have done it differently and what are your key learnings.

It is often times when we reflect on our actions that we learn from them the most.

8. Build an audience

The internet along with all the social networking platforms has transformed all of us users into our own media companies.

Whether you like it or not, you are a brand. Whatever you post and do online is part of parcel of your brand identity.

People who took advantage of this fact went on to become influencers – YouTube celebrities, Instagram influencers, etc.

You have the power to do the same too.

What you can do:

Start building an audience by publishing content that is near and dear to you and share it with people with similar interests.

For example, on Instagram, you can use hashtags or locations to follow other people and comment and share each other’s content.

If your method of choice is writing, start a blog or write on Medium and promote it to your social circle.

Offer to guest post on certain sites for free to get your name out there.

The point to is build a following that will be receptive to the products and services you will be offering when you become an entrepreneur.

9. Learn your strengths and different industries

We all have some innate inclination towards some things.

But often times we need to discover them and the only way to find out is to try.

Think back on the last time you were complimented or praised on a certain skill you possessed or something you did that got you noticed.

It may be that you have a very good voice or that you write very well.

Once you know what it is, build on them. It is better to make your strengths world class than to make your weaknesses mediocre.

Thomas Jefferson was a politician but he wasn’t a great orator so instead he chose to build on his strength – writing. The result was that he wrote the Declaration of Independence in a single draft.

Besides learning what your strengths are, learn about the different industries your strength can be an asset to.

Ask yourself:

Which industries are hot? (e.g. fintech)

Which ones pay the most for the same amount of effort? (e.g. digital marketing)

The point is to discover which sectors are the most rewarding and to seek opportunities that are coherent with your mission and your strengths as well.

10. Place yourself on death ground constantly

Death ground means to have your back against the wall.

We don’t get out of our comfort zone because we’d like to, we do it because we need to.

Start by placing artificial deadlines on what you need to get done.

Set realistically impossible deadlines for you to achieve.

When you become an entrepreneur, there are deadlines everywhere (competition is fierce).

Take risks and run little experiments alongside your baseline work.


“When in development, don’t forget about stability. When in stability, don’t forget about development.”

Ben Sim, LLB
Ben Sim is an online marketer and blogger. When he is not reading up on business strategy and persuasion, he spends his time writing about growth hacks. He currently works for iPrice group.


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