scorecardA career coach shares 3 keys to setting yourself up for success as an entrepreneur
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A career coach shares 3 keys to setting yourself up for success as an entrepreneur

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert   

A career coach shares 3 keys to setting yourself up for success as an entrepreneur
Careers3 min read
  • Career coach Marlo Lyons told BI that a big part of being a successful entrepreneur is in your mindset.
  • But there are also concrete steps to take to improve the odds of your bet on yourself.

Since the pandemic overhauled our needs and expectations for work, more and more people are choosing to open their small businesses — but entrepreneurship isn't for everyone.

According to statistics from the Center for American Progress, rates of new likely employer business applications shot up 34% between 2021 and 2023 compared to the three years prior. Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 20% of small businesses will fail within the first two years, successful entrepreneurs often say they made it by sheer grit.

Career coach Marlo Lyons told Business Insider that mindset is huge when betting on yourself, but it isn't everything. You can have all the positivity in the world, but if you aren't actively working toward success, you're not likely to stumble into it.

Here are Lyons' top three tips for coaching clients gearing up to try entrepreneurship.

Start with a side hustle — one you're an expert in

OK, maybe you don't have to be an expert now, but pick a field you can reasonably develop expertise in by yourself. You can't really start an innovative bioengineering company without any background knowledge, and you don't need to go back to school to become an entrepreneur.

But there are tons of platforms to develop and showcase your expertise, Lyons noted, like Upwork and Fiverr — which she said are great ways to build a ramp-up to launch your own small business.

"When I was first coaching, when I was getting certified, I would charge people five bucks an hour. I needed the hours for certification more than the money because I was working full-time but then, even for years, I was supercheap," Lyons said. "While you're getting started, you don't have to charge a lot of money to get the experience, build up your clientele to show that you're capable — and then you'll get referrals."

Set concrete goals and become obsessive about meeting them

Once you've dipped your toe in the water and decided the entrepreneurial road is for you, don't expect success to come to you without effort.

That's when the rubber meets the road, Lyons said, and you must start defining what you want your business to look like and what you'll have to do to get there.

"I am super huge on a planner. I mean, like, I'm obsessive about my planner. When getting your business going, set your yearly and quarterly goals for yourself," Lyons said. "Every quarter, what are you going to accomplish that quarter? Break it down week by week —what will you accomplish to hit your goals? Reflect upon that week, and look and see what you accomplished. What didn't you accomplish? What's been held over to the following week? How can you do better?"

Get comfortable with ambiguity

"When I was writing my first book, I was stuck every single step of the way," Lyons said. "I needed to find an editor, which probably took me three months. Then I realized, OK, now I need a book designer. How am I going to do that? I don't know how to do that. Then, oh wait, I need an ISBN number."

You don't know what you don't know along the path of building a business, so get comfortable admitting you don't have all the answers and even more comfortable finding out who to ask. This is really where the importance of your mindset sets in, Lyons said.

"You have to believe that if you have the ambition and keep moving one step forward every step of the way, you will get there."




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