What Does It Take To Be an Entrepreneur?

Finishing up my second week of grad school I’ve began to learn firsthand the type of skills needed to be successful as an entrepreneur. I’ve been tired, stressed, and challenged, but know as I progress into an entrepreneurial career these feelings will become all too natural. Below I’ve listed a few I’ve found key so far in my journey.

Time management

The transition of juggling work and school hasn’t been as smooth as I had first imagined it would be, the responsibilities of each making it very evident that I may need a few extra hours than the standard 24 we each get. Unfortunately, that isn’t physically possible so I’ve looked for advice on how to better utilize my time to get the most out of the little we each receive. Celestine Chua, life coach and blogger for lifehack.org, gave “20 Quick Tips for Better Time Management”, and the tips I found most pertinent to me were planning, learning to say no, and prioritizing.

  • Planning has never been a strength of mine, but as Chua discusses planning out your day and knowing what and when you need to complete tasks makes the day less stressful, and seeing those tasks marked off as done enjoyable.
  • My ability to say no is nonexistent, and many times puts more on me than I can actually take, whether I admit it or not. If you’re prone to the same illness as I am Chua states “Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no, or defer it to a later period.”
  • Prioritization is complemented and made possible with use of planning but for me is often neglected. I’m the type to focus on the aesthetic of a blog when the post for the blog has yet to be completed (true life story). Chua suggests utilizing the 80/20 principle, the “phenomenon where 80% of the output is brought about by 20% of the effort.” The 80/20 rule as Chua shares, teaches us to “let go of the nitty gritty, and forget about the little details that no one but you notice. You can keep revising something to perfection, but that time is probably better spent working on a whole new task. The key is to focus your energy on producing the 80% of every thing you do – which is also the 80% that matters.”

For more on the 80/20 rule check tip #6 on her post at: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/13-strategies-to-jumpstart-your-productivity.html


Finding and Managing People

The learning method my current entrepreneurial class employs is a learning community style, which focuses less on an authoritative leader lecturing to explain subject matter, but more the subject matter being taught from that figure and your peers as a whole, through the sharing of different views, skill-sets, and experiences. Through this method, you learn the power and importance of collaborating to get a task completed, taking a little from each person’s skill set to accomplish a goal. I found this a vital resource when put into an entrepreneurial context as it shows going straight to the source for information can save time, money, and resources. I’ve learned so much, at a quicker rate, from asking a simple question to a peer, than I may have learned purely being self-reliant or relying solely on the professor. According to Forbes’ article “Top Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs”,  “Only by learning to leverage employees, vendors and other resources will an entrepreneur build a scalable company. They need to learn to network to meet the right people.”

For more information on the learning community style, take a peek at Dr. Lohm’s article “Creating Learning Communities: An Important Tool for Effective Entrepreneurship Education” also found in the “Tools and Resources” portion of the blog.


Ability to Relieve Stress

With everything we have going on in our daily lives stress can be an unavoidable foe that is almost impossible to free ourselves from. Although tips in time management and utilizing resources that can help you get things done more efficiently help, it doesn’t completely solve the problem. I for one need a reset from time to time to clear my head so I can be better prepared to accomplish the goals and tasks I have set for myself. As Sujan Patel, contributor to entrepreneur.com, states, “Stress is no laughing matter. If you allow yourself to get frustrated and upset by setbacks, you’ll struggle as an entrepreneur”.  That’s why it’s necessary to find those things and places in life that bring you a little rest and relaxation. For me I like to listen to music, get active, and see what my friends have going on to allow my mind to be freed from the reign of school or work.

If stress levels are still at an all-time high, try playing nice with stress, taking Kelly McGonigal’s advice on “How to Make Stress Your Friend” from her 2013 Ted Talk.


In the coming weeks, I plan to fully utilize the advice and tips I’ve shared to better manage my time, resources and stress, to be a better student, individual and entrepreneur. Are the skills necessary to be an entrepreneur shared accurate for you? If not,  what are the skills important to you that I’ve failed to mention?


Til next time,

The Empresario



Aileron. (2013, November 26). The Top Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/aileron/2013/11/26/the-top-skills-every-entrepreneur-needs/#16d5a7145669

Chua, C. (n.d.). 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/20-quick-tips-for-better-time-management.html

Chua, C. (n.d.). 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/13-strategies-to-jumpstart-your-productivity.html

Lahm, R. J., Jr. (2012). Creating Learning Communities: An Important Tool for Effective Entrepreneurship Education [PDF].

McGonigal, K. (2013, June). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en

Patel, S. (n.d.). The 17 Skills Required to Succeed as an Entrepreneur. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242327


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