You feel like you’re going to be successful (someday). You feel powerful (almost). You’re going to make it big (very soon). You’re worth a million bucks (in your mind). You’re famous (just about). All you need is a little bit more time...and it’s all going to come together.
Does this sound like you? Good. This is exactly the kind of attitude that characterizes a successful entrepreneur.
You expect it. You want it. You’re hungry. You’re driven. It’s all there, except for the reality.
The reality will come. But in the meantime, you need to keep up the actions and attitudes that will produce that level of success. How do you look like a successful entrepreneur even if you haven’t quite yet arrived?
Here are seven principles that I’ve learned and seen other aspiring entrepreneurs practice with success.
1. Fake it. You’ll make it.
The popular expression, “Fake it till you make it” works. Why? Because it’s built on real science.
Psychologists have long recognized the correlation between the mind and the body. When we feel a certain way, we act in corresponding ways. The reverse is true. When we act in a certain way, we feel a corresponding emotion.
The same principle is at play in “fake it till you make it.” If you act in a certain way, your feelings, emotions, confidence levels, and overall attitude will gravitate in that direction. The result? Eventually, you make it.
2. Act confident. No matter what.
One of your greatest assets is your confidence. The problem is, it’s hard to project confidence from a mind filled with fear and doubt. Many entrepreneurs and soon-to-be-successful people suffer from a condition known as the imposter syndrome -- a feeling of inferiority and personal misgivings about one’s status or achievement.
In the flighty and fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, the imposter syndrome runs rampant. Even the most successful people experience the impact of self-doubt.
You either can give in to the lying voices in your head that you’re an imposter, or you can project confidence in spite of those naysaying voices.
I suggest confidence. Confidence will cover for you. If you’re still driving a beater car, wearing a cheap suit, or don’t even have your own office space, be confident.
3. Ask people for help.
Smart people know how not smart they are. That’s why the smartest people are often the ones asking for help.
The only reason why I know a thing or two about online marketing is not because I’m smart. It’s because I asked for help.
4. Be selective about who you spend time with.
Entrepreneurs know the value of time. They understand that “spending time” is the equivalent of spending money, except that money is a renewable resource, while time is not.
For this reason, you should be spending time with people who make you better. You shouldn’t be spending your leisure time in places where you’re the smartest guy in the room. You should be spending your time in places where you’re challenged, sharpened, and cultivated.
Successful people spend their time around other successful people. When it comes to investing your time, make smart decisions.
5. Dress the part.
Like it or not, people judge you based on how you’re dressed.
I used to dress like a bum. When I made a few strategic and low-budget changes to my wardrobe, everything changed. My consulting rate more than doubled, I gained valuable new clients, and my business exploded.
Was it all due to my wardrobe? There was obviously luck involved, but the wardrobe did make an impact. I now spend a lot of money on nice clothes, but it doesn’t take an enormous amount to make a difference in how you dress.
It’s not just nice clothes that make an impact. It’s the right clothes. Sylvia Hewlett, one of the leaders in the workplace power and influence niche, explains, “You have to look like you belong to the group, [and] you have to look a little better than the group.”
Being a cut above is about looking a cut above.
6. Take risks.
Good entrepreneurs take risks well. The secret to being a great risk taker is simply to start taking risks. Sounds simple, but it’s true.
Start with smaller risks that don’t have a large downside. Eventually you learn how to calculate how risky a decision may be and from there you can slowly increase the amount of risk you take on.
Take risks with confidence. It looks good on you.
7. Write your own online biography.
If someone wants to know more about you, what are they going to do? They’re going to Google your name. They’re not stalking. They just want to know who you are, what you do and what you’re all about.
You get to shape what they see online and the impact it makes. By intentionally creating and curating your online presence, you can develop an identity that matches who you want to be.
Your profiles on all the major social media sites should be cohesive and compelling. This is your autobiography, and it affects your future. Give it the time and attention it deserves.
Everyone who is successful has faced a time in their when they weren’t so successful. Success is preceded by growth and development.
Now is your time to prepare, to work hard and to give it all you’ve got. To become what you’re destined to be, you’ve got to act in corresponding ways.
How do you project success as an entrepreneur?