7 secrets of being an entrepreneur

There is no such thing as a part-time entrepreneur. Yes, it sounds like so much fun to start a business. Some people will say it means that you are free and the world is your oyster. But it is all about hard work. Sure, it can be exciting, and often there are some amazing moments, but don’t expect to get much sleep. Sleeping late is fun. Being an entrepreneur is not constant fun. It is a full-time journey. Passion is the word you always hear when people talk of start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures. But it is not enough. Just like talent is not enough. It is all about your attitude. Selling is also a fundamental part of an entrepreneur’s journey. We are all selling, all the time. Internally and externally. Inspiring, motivating, sharing … we love what we do, and we do what we love. It doesn’t always love us back though. And this is where character comes into it. Being an entrepreneur requires strength, and grace.

As long as I can remember I loved to tell stories. And also, I am always captivated by a good tale. I make notes of all the compelling and colourful adventures that people share with me. I have found that entrepreneurs accumulate many many stories. Each chapter is another story: the chance taken, the moments of tension, the celebration that never ended, the pain that never lets go, the lessons learned, the ground covered, the mistakes we made, the people that we got close to, and the folk that are no longer there. Entrepreneurs are natural storytellers. Yes, not every entrepreneur is going to stand-up and make a speech to rival Barak Obama (that man sure can talk) but they all have loads of stories to share.

I have been working since I was 16 years old. At the big Hyperama in Sandton, representing Frank & Hirsch, punting Atari computers, during my last couple of high school years. Every Friday afternoon and every Saturday morning. To my 7 years of being a waiter, and the adventure of selling ties, caps and t-shirts, at the flea market on the weekends, when I got a driver’s license and realized that a car can be filled with stuff that one could take to the market and sell. Then there was contract software development when I was a Masters student at university, and of course, at the end of it all, was the start of IS. I was still waitering and working in the flea market when IS began, but stopped shortly afterwards. And through it all, the one thing remains constant: sell, sell sell, That and storytelling. All underpinned by hard work.