"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

Female cafe owner

How You Can Start a Business by Learning on the Go

People want to start a business for various reasons. They might be tired of reporting to work each day and clocking out after the same eight hours of doing tedious tasks. Maybe they come up with the idea that they can’t shelve away. Now and then, it pops up unbidden into their consciousness, telling them there’s a great opportunity out there.

You might want to start making money off your creative skills and sell customized merchandise made with a heat press from Insta Graphic Systems. Or it could be that you want to develop a mobile game concept you’ve been thinking about in your spare time.

Regardless of the idea, putting inspiration into action will require you to overcome several hurdles. Not only do you have to accept a high level of risk, but you’ll also need a lot of self-improvement. Reaching a goal is as much about your origin as the destination itself. How will you move from Point A to Point B?

Entrepreneurs need multiple skills

Anyone who wants to start a business thinking that they will make money in their sleep or take time off as they please will eventually get a firm reality check. If you want to run a successful business, you have to be your own boss. And that means driving yourself harder with a constant focus on results.

Entrepreneurs are required to wear many hats. They shoulder more responsibilities than the average employee. The workload is higher, and so are the consequences of failure.

Not everyone has the same intrinsic qualities, to begin with. But you can work and improve upon your initial skill set. Take stock of what you already know. Any previous work or volunteer experience could have taught you a few transferable skills or given you an inside glimpse at the workings of a well-run organization.

Once you’ve taken the time for an honest self-assessment, identify the areas for improvement and how big of a gap you’ll be dealing with. Remember, you might have advantages in some aspects of running a business. Excellent communication skills, for instance, can boost your ability to make a pitch or lead a team. Leveraging your network could make it easier to find funding.

Learn on the fly

Even if you have a head start in certain areas, it can still feel like there’s so much to learn before you’re prepared to start your business in earnest. And it takes time to learn a skill and train to the point where you can make use of it. Most adults can’t simply take a few months off or go back to school and get an MBA. How do you manage to learn while earning a living?

First, you have to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Realize that you don’t need to master a skill; you have to be good enough for practical purposes. And for most of your goals, 20 hours of learning and practice will suffice. That’s about 45 minutes per day for a month. Cut down on watching TV, playing games, or going on social media; you can make room for that sort of time.

Second, most successful entrepreneurs are not specialists in multiple areas. Instead, they are T-shaped. They dabble in a broad range of skills and interests while being experts in only one thing. Steve Jobs, for instance, was a business expert who dabbled in programming, engineering, and design. Those side interests enhanced his primary expertise.

Preparing for takeoff

Female business owner of retail store

It’s possible to learn how to become an entrepreneur on the fly. With deliberate focus, you can learn new skills. You need proper time management to set aside roughly an hour each day. And you need to align what you’re learning with the exact needs of your business; there’s no need to go beyond dabbling.

Evolve your mindset, and you won’t be held back by feeling that you’re not ready. Entrepreneurs make this a part of their lifestyle. Books and online tutorials can only take you so far. At some point, preparation threatens to become procrastination. You have to accept that you can never be fully prepared before starting.

Some of the most vital lessons take place through application. How can you develop agility and resilience without stumbling or even falling on your face?

If you can learn while you’re still working a day job, you can learn even better by taking concrete action on the go. Keep on polishing your elevator pitch, refining your idea, researching the market, and talking to other people for feedback. This constant testing will be the best preparation you can make, and in the process, it will inch you closer towards taking off with your business.

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