What skills do entrepreneurs need? “Networking” may well be your first answer. The ability to manage money and time. Strategic thinking. Unwavering curiosity. You’ll need a real mix of hard and soft skills. You don’t have to be born with entrepreneurial skills. You can learn them. For example, I’ve always thought that drive is instinctual. Though, when you break it down, drive–an essential entrepreneurial skill—comes from passion and discipline. You can discover a passion. And you can learn and build self-discipline.
What else can you do to enhance your entrepreneurial skills?
1. Refine your interpersonal skills
Be confident, friendly and approachable–consistently. Practice these things daily and they’ll become habitual. Of course, everyone has their “off” days. Yet, these interpersonal skills can help weather them.
2. Connect with other entrepreneurs
Twitter is a great place to start. As a real-time platform, it’s perfect for eyeballing what others are up to and discovering key people.
You can create lists that filter what you see, too. Create a list with hashtags on topics relevant to you. Create another with the top entrepreneurs you admire, or one focusing on competitors.
Next, join an entrepreneur organization. There are free ones and paid-for platforms for upskilling programs. This way, you can often connect with fellow entrepreneurs at the same stage in their work. They may even be trying to solve the same problems. A quick internet search is all it takes to get started.
3. Join communities in your industry
I heard about an online platform via Sara Zailskas Walsh, UX Writer & Content Strategist at Google (I discovered her by listening to a talk she gave in partnership with GatherContent).
Content Strategy is the name of the platform. So far, it appears to operate by asking the community questions. Members reply with personal insights and possible solutions. This kind of collaboration is gold if you’re a solo practitioner like Sara and I are. Hunt these communities down and introduce yourself.
If there isn’t a community yet you could always start one. Volunteering to lead it, whether that’s a monthly meetup, or an online thing, is a sure-fire way to learn quickly.
4. Make a book list
There are many great books people mention in passing conversation. Anything you hear about through colleagues, Ted Talks, conversations, and conferences can help enhance your entrepreneurial skills. Make a list. Then slowly work your way through reading–or listening to–them. Here’s one I personally recommend about busting out of your comfort zone.
5. Practice resilience
Learn from things that don’t work. Challenges happen, and if things don’t go to plan you need to work out why so you don’t fail at the same thing twice. Regular retros where you look at what went well, what didn’t go so well, and solutionize can help document and mitigate risks. There’s great nobleness in being able to stand up, dust yourself down, and try again.
6. Ringfence time to de-stress
Your learning rate as a proactive entrepreneur is going to rocket. With events to attend, talks to prep, and elevator pitches to perfect, your entrepreneurial skills are bound to improve. But work can easily take over. Sticking to that running club (or starting one for entrepreneurs) is important. Catch a film, or take time out to read a book that’s on your personal rather than professional list.
7. Keep your learning active
The need for continuous learning is high as an entrepreneur. Look for courses in your field (think about your strengths and weaknesses to spot gaps). Conferences and events, seminars, and meetups offer easy ways to upskill and make new connections at the same time.
Another thing you can try is a short Bootcamp–some of which are free. Have a look at Eventbrite for these, or ask in the communities you join, or on Twitter. The incredible thing about people is that help offered is often returned. All you have to do is reach out.
Custom experience/evaluation for your team: https://www.hult.edu/en/executive-education/programs/custom
10 ways to build your self discipline: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287005
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