"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." – Walt Disney, Disney founder
Academic business programs across the country do a good job teaching business theory. But theory gets you only so far. You need many skills for success as an entrepreneur, and the only problem is that exactly NONE of those are taught in schools. Any schools. Anywhere. Zero.
Why? Because these are skills that entrepreneurs develop only through on-the-job experience.
Yes, you can learn what it takes to be a good leader in a classroom setting. But, learning what it takes and "being" a good leader are two very different things. Anyone can learn to lead, and being a leader does not require a "CEO," a "Director" title, or a distinct designation after your name. The only way you can truly master leadership is actually to lead. You are the leader!
There's more. Even in settings where leadership is "taught," it is most often taught from the perspective of corporate leadership, which is hierarchical. This is not especially helpful to a new entrepreneur because the structure of a startup is quite different from that of a more established firm, and there is no hierarchy to rely on.
As a new real estate agent, you will wind up wearing multiple hats and having a much greater responsibility than you'll ever find in an established business. The startup environment is much more fluid and dynamic, and it is an entirely different environment.
You've heard it before: "It's not what you know; it's who you know." That is an oversimplification, and that's not something you can put a hard value on. But the fact remains that a big part of the success of any business venture you undertake will partly depend on the power of your social and professional network.
Contacts aren't everything in business, but they play an undeniably significant role. Networking is a skill we all need to build and nurture throughout our professional careers.
There's a practical reason why grit isn't taught in school, and it would be virtually impossible to do. Nonetheless, this characteristic separates the true entrepreneurs from the wannabes.
Let's face it, as an entrepreneur, you're going to fail. You will suffer setbacks. Projects and ideas that seem great at first blush will implode. Connections you were relying on will fail at the worst times. You're going to spend a lot of time feeling defeated.
How you respond to those setbacks will be critical. Will you give up? Throw up your hands in frustration and complain that it's too hard? The entrepreneurs with staying power are the ones who decide to get up, dust themselves off and get back in the game.
You're probably not going to see the level of success you like on your first try and probably not on your second or third either. And that's okay.
"You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over." – Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder
Failure is a prerequisite to greatness. You learn a lot when you fail, and how you respond to failure matters.
The Long Game
There is plenty of uncertainty. When will it be the right time to expand or scale back? What will the decision be based on? Should you rely solely on the spreadsheets with fancy graphs and flowcharts, or your gut feeling and the relationships you have built with your clients over the years?
No doubt, there is value to solid business education. But, the reality is that some of our most successful entrepreneurs have been dropouts. Why? The skills that are the most pivotal to entrepreneurial success aren't taught in the classroom.
"Don't be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities, and don't let the bastards get you down."--Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P.