How To Become An Entrepreneur Starts With This

My morning coffee epiphany!

characteristics of an entrepreneur

courtesy of sea turtle at

The idea behind this post came to me as I watched a travel show, slurping my morning coffee. The bubbly travel host interviewed the owner of Johannesburg’s Wandies Place, a famous pub where locals, tourist and celebrities alike go to eat.

The funny thing is this popular restaurant is not located in the usual trendy or posh end of town, but in the center of Soweto, the lower-class urban area of the city, where most of the anti-apartheid struggle took place.

So, of course the inquisitive host questioned chef and owner Wandi Ndala on how life has improved for the locals. His answer got my synapses firing as he explained the current condition of his community, which included the key element needed to achieve anything in life, whether it’s freedom or how to become an entrepreneur of a successful business.

So, what is that key element?

Mr. Ndala explained how the locals were taking responsibility to make things happen now that they were faced with more opportunities; a process and ideology that takes time to develop for a suppressed people.  More precisely, he stated that locals knew they had to empower themselves to better their lot in life – a very inspiring statement, considering their history.

The reason Ndala’s statement hit me harder than my coffee is because his words fitted not only his people, but my market and really, the world at large. When you think about it, self -empowerment is required to achieve any goal you want, no matter how big or small. Just like people in Soweto, you have to find it within yourself to achieve a better life. You have to empower yourself to succeed.

Very relevant to our current times when many are feeling the pinch. There seems to be two main reactions: some yell out, curse or crumble under the pressure while others  find a way to stay on top. They look for new opportunities and find creative ways to explore and benefit from them, such as starting an online business where they can be their own boss and create their own income. So what is the former group missing?

characteristics of an entrepreneur

By NASA, via Wikimedia Commons

Consider big names like Oprah (born into poverty), Richard Branson (suffers dyslexia and quit school at 16), or even Walt Disney ($4million company debt in 1930). Despite major set-backs, these mega achievers found creative and ingenious ways to attain success. Their stories teach us a lot about the business mindset, a positive attitude, and the stuff successful entrepreneurs are made of.

As you can imagine, as a nonwhite in South Africa, Wandie’s owner Ndala also had to overcome some significant obstacles before his pub could thrive. He operated for many years underground without a license because Blacks were prohibited from drinking alcohol. But, Ndala persevered.  In the end, he created a business renowned worldwide as well as provided a central gathering place for the Soweto community.

most successful small businesses

By Speedway at en.wikipedia, from Wikimedia Commons

Fortunately, many of us here in Canada and the U.S. have enjoyed a lot more luxuries and freedoms in comparison. But on the flip side, we’ve grown lazy and entitled and forget how to use our inner resources to get ahead in life. Many, used to cushy jobs and lifestyles, resent having to work harder or simply forget how to step-up and create for themselves.

I’m not pointing fingers here. I’ve been there and done that. I have felt sorry for myself, but I’m still here and I’m still typing…

So, when you consider the incredible success stories of the above icons or that of the nonwhite South African community, you can’t help but realize that the onus to be successful is on us.

Success does not depend on the right plugin or software, the top selling WSO or coaching program.  Of course, tools can help, but without the proper business mindset, without the commitment to succeed, without the belief in yourself, and without your active role in the whole production, they’re not very useful.

Sounds very logical, cliché, and maybe you think it doesn’t need saying. But, think of all those beginner Internet Marketers who have forgotten to empower themselves. These include those who:

  • Keep buying product after product that promise them fast money without any work;
  • Spend thousands of hard-earned dollars on learning products or classes and never get ahead;
  • Expect endless free help from successful online entrepreneurs.

I’m sure you can think of others. These beginner marketers are looking for success outside of themselves. They want it to come to them. They want someone else to give them the road map. They don’t get that they have to create their own success.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy some helpful products or to ask for assistance on occasion, but in the end, YOU have to do the work. You have to take what you have learned and use it in some way to move your business forward.

And how about these online marketers who:

  • Steal others’ content or copy others’ products or steal their affiliate links?
  • Buy products, download them, then ask for a refund with full intention of using the product?
  • Market unethically in any way?

I’m sure you can think of others.  These marketers are in the business of stealing rather than marketing. They take from others, because they don’t believe they can create something similar for themselves. As long as they continue this way, they will never become successful entrepreneurs.

Look again at the icons I mentioned above. They clearly did it their own way. They used tools and opportunities to get where they are, but they themselves are the key element – their commitment, strength, desires, courage, talent, determination, and all of those inner qualities characteristic of successful entrepreneurs, which by the way we all have.

business mindset Just like them, you are the main driver behind your success.  The tools and opportunities supply you with the bits and parts you use to build your business, but you are the energy that orchestrates everything together.  You are your business’s pulse or lifeline. You breathe air into its sails and determine where it’s going to go.

Like the Soweto people, we have to take responsibility for our lot in life.

So, how to become an entrepreneur starts with empowering ourselves. What does that mean?  It means to believe in our capabilities to achieve what we want no matter our background, to persevere when the going gets tough, and most importantly to understand we are responsible for our own lives, good or bad. By empowering ourselves, we’ll find our way to success.

So, there you have it…my morning coffee epiphany. As Henry Ford very fittingly said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

Well that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Feel free to leave a comment or an inspiring quote.



Love what you do!

sweet life

8 Responses to How To Become An Entrepreneur Starts With This

  1. […] more from the original source: How To Become An Entrepreneur Starts With This | Starting An … Comments […]

  2. Becoming an entrepreneur comes with many surprises. As this article points out the biggest surprise is the down right hard work attached to starting a business. The cousin of hard work is persistence. Many entrepreneurs have approached me to help them get started but upon finding out how hard they have to work they quickly give up and are on to the next idea. You are right there are no short cuts. Just plain hard work. So why do people become entrepreneurs if it is so hard? That is easy….its fun and very rewarding.

  3. Hi Brenda,
    Yes, hard work and persistence can be very rewarding, as long as it’s spent on doing something you’re passionate about.

    Thanks for the great comment!

  4. I think that the number one reason people don’t succeed is because they give up. They try once, and fail, and that’s it. They don’t try to figure out what they can do differently.

    This was a great article and I think it’s the number one thing Knowing what to do is one thing, it’s a whole other playing field to just DO IT! :)


  5. Thanks Lisha!
    Great points.

    Yes many give-up after one fail. I think maybe our school system and the media (especially TV dramas) teach us that to fail is horrible, it’s the end of us. You always have to get an A! When in reality a failure is only an indicator of what needs to be done. It’s certainly not fatal.

    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

    “No man is ever whipped, until he quits — in his own mind.” Napoleon Hill


  6. Its was interesting reading this page. And would like to start my own company very soon. I’d liked it if you guys could give me a pointers on how I can go about registering my business

  7. Hi Luke,
    Thanks for your comment & question.

    How you go about registering your business depends on which country you reside in, as each one has their own procedures & regulations. In Canada for example, where I am, you have to register with the country, the province and your municipality. And basically, whatever laws apply to an offline business, apply to an e-business.

    If by luck you are in Canada, please have a look at this Government Canada business site. It has all the links and explanations you need for Canada.

    If you are living somewhere else, I would suggest doing a search for a similar government run site.
    If you have an accountant, you could also call them and see if they can advise you.
    It’s a bit of research and paperwork at first, but once you’re set-up, you’re done.

    Great question…that not many ask, but should!

  8. […] Also, consider J.K. Rowlings, author of the Harry Potter books. It took over 80 rejections from publishers before her book finally made it on bookstore shelves. I wrote about more examples of icons who suffered failures and hardships here. […]