You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to act like one

Is being an entrepreneur all that it’s cracked up to be? People always say to me at the end of my speeches that they want to be an entrepreneur just like me. In those moments, I often think, “Are you sure?” I’ve been a fulltime entrepreneur for twenty years and I like to believe that I’m pretty good at it. I’ve won some awards and I’ve been able to reach some pretty special milestones.

In the past twenty years I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter whether you choose to become an entrepreneur, but instead whether you choose to THINK like an entrepreneur. It’s the difference between getting acceptable results and reaching exhilarating goals.

Let’s face it, running a business is not for everyone, but thinking like a person who does run a business is mandatory for anyone wanting to be a success. Below are five lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur and they are lessons that I encourage you to apply to your life if you want to excel at what you do.

1. Find a Mentor: Choose someone that exemplifies the kind of person you want to become. Ask them to have a one-hour phone call with you once a month. Have ten questions prepared for every phone meeting you have with your mentor. Every successful person on the planet has a coach. Will you be the exception to that rule?

2. Take Risk: Make a daring phone call once a week. Throw some money behind an idea. Ask for something you deserve. Move to a new city or town. I went 250k in debt before the age of 30 to build my company. Today those loans are paid off and I’ve never looked back. Take a risk and trust me when I say you can handle more than you think.

3. Be Creative: When I wrote my first musical, I couldn’t find a theatre in Toronto that would take me on. Instead of giving up on my idea, I rented a big loft and built a theatre and invited sold out crowds to join me in my living room each week for four years. Get creative in finding solutions. There’s always a solution. Can you find it?

4. Think Big: How many stories do you have to hear of ordinary people doing extraordinary things before you start believing it? Start anywhere, because “anywhere” is still somewhere and it will lead you everywhere.

5. Avoid Excuses: For every excuse you can think of as to why you can’t do something, I can find fifty people who could have used the same excuse and didn’t. Excuses are the things people use when they are too afraid of doing something. You’re better than that.

In order for a person to be a successful entrepreneur they have to follow these five lessons. However, it doesn’t matter whether you want to run your own business, be the best mother in the world or the greatest broker in the city. Apply the mindset of an entrepreneur to any component of your life and you will always be your own boss no matter who you work for.

Stuart Knight is an acclaimed author and speaker and each year helps companies reach new levels of success by teaching them how to create powerful conversations with their customers, colleagues and clients. Learn more at

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