Frankly, it’s not that difficult to become an “entrepreneur” nowadays. Get a website, make a product, buy some advertisements, get a couple of customers.
But if you want to become a wildly successful entrepreneur – the kind who makes six figures, who lives life fully on your terms, who helps millions with your message – you’re going to have to do things differently. As best-selling author Darren Hardy once wrote, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.”
If you want to become this kind of entrepreneur, you have to treat yourself differently. There’s no other way. You can’t have the same mindset as an amateur if you want the benefits of being a professional.
The key moment that shifted my entire career (and life) was when I started treating myself like a professional.
Let me paint you a picture. I was an amateur blogger with no real business goals, and I treated myself as such for years. I never bought any tools or books or trainings to help me grow. I never invested in myself or my work. As a result, I’d been writing for nearly five years with virtually nothing – no readers, no income – to show for it.
Finally, I got sick and tired of all the frustration and failure. I asked myself some simple questions: “What do the top online writers do? What do they read? What do their days look like? What do they spend their money on?”
So I researched and found out. I studied them. I made notes. Then I started doing everything they did – bought online courses, wrote consistently, practiced, learned, experimented, and worked on my craft.
Less than six months later, I was an actual entrepreneur making real money. I had gained nearly 50,000 subscribers. I was getting hundreds of thousands of views each month. I signed a book deal. I was making thousands of dollars a month from my work.
Looking back, the #1 reason I was able to accomplish all this was because of my shift in mindset. To be more specific, here are the four key mindset shifts aspiring entrepreneurs need to go from amateur to professional and become wildly successful.
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A Wealth Mentality (Not a Poverty Mindset)
One afternoon when I was just a kid, my mom had me open my palm.
She placed a $5 bill inside. “When your hand is open, God can give you money,” she told me.
Then she had me make a fist, trapping the bill inside. She tried taking it away, but couldn’t reach it. The money was safe in my tight grip.
Then she tried to place another $5 bill in my hand, but couldn’t. My hand was closed, and I couldn’t receive anything more.
“If your hand is closed,” she said, “You can’t get any more money.”
Nearly every unsuccessful entrepreneur I’ve met has their own $5 bill gripped tightly in their hand. They don’t want to lose what they have, so they keep it in a tight fist. They might not lose it, but they certainly won’t be gaining any more.
This is called a poverty mindset, and most people have it. Most people believe once their money is gone, that’s it – there’s no getting it back. In their eyes, there’s an extreme shortage of money in the world, and they live their life afraid of losing what they have. So they rarely spend their money, but never really gain anything.
The richest, most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met live their lives with the opposite mindset – a wealth mindset.
Best-selling author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki once wrote, “I have never met a rich person who has never lost any money. But I have met a lot of poor people who have never lost a dime.” Think about that.
The more you spend (on personal investment, not new gadgets and trinkets), the more you get back. A wealth mindset lets you transform every dollar you spend into ten dollars you get back.
One of my biggest game-changing moments came when one of my favorite online writers was offering an online writing course for $500.
$500! I thought at the time. That’s so much money! I’d never spent more than about $20 on tools for my writing.
But after studying the top writers on the Internet, I knew this was the kind of thing they’d do. They bought courses to help them grow. They invested in coaching and training. They purchased bigger and better tools to reach more people. In short, they took themselves seriously.
I remember mulling it over all weekend before the sale ended on Sunday at midnight. Part of me knew how big of a moment that was – I knew I was making the leap from amateur to professional. I knew I could never go back to the way things were.
An amateur writer would never have made that kind of investment. But a professional would be unafraid. They weren’t afraid of losing what little they had – a professional was entirely focused on gaining more than ever before.
Sunday evening came. With trembling fingers, I input my credit card information, took a big gulp, and bought the course.
Out of over 100 students, I was the most successful writer by the end of the 90-day course. A few months after that, I was seeing 100x, even 1000x my usual number of readers and income.
Don’t have a poverty mindset and close your fist. Open your hand. Invest in yourself. If you want to become a wildly successful entrepreneur, you need to treat yourself (and invest in yourself) like a professional.
Fixed to Growth Mindset
Years ago, I was just some guy who worked behind a desk in corporate America with a dream to become a writer. Even though I’d been blogging for years, I hadn’t really seen any progress.
Until I read Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck.
There’s a chapter in that book about a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. After reading that chapter, my life dramatically changed. A big, wide, shocking world of possibilities opened up to me like when Neo first saw the matrix.
Someone with a fixed mindset believes their traits are permanent and cannot change. Their talent and skill are set in stone, and whether they are good or bad is already decided.
That was me. I’d be writing and blogging for years, and I’d hit my ceiling pretty quickly. Deep down, I truly believed I was probably as good as I could get.
But when Dr. Dweck explained what a growth mindset was – a belief that you could improve in anything, that nothing was permanent, that you could become as good as you wanted – I mean, it was one of the most important moments of my career and my life.
If you’re going to become a wildly successful entrepreneur, you need a growth mindset. There is no way you’re going to succeed with a fixed mindset. Period.
That’s because you’re going to need to go through a lot of trial-and-error and failed experiments before you finally start to get it right.
Here’s a personal example. Early on in my entrepreneurial success, I decided to make my own $500 online course. I spent months creating it, learning how to code my website, write sales letters, and record videos for the training.
Launch day came. I remember telling my wife I was expecting to make at least $10,000, hopefully even $20,000.
Zero people bought it.
I have to admit, it was a crushing blow. It almost broke me. I seriously considered quitting the entrepreneur dream for good.
An entrepreneur with a fixed mindset would see that failed launch and think, “Well, that’s it. I’m no good at sales. Better find something else to do.”
But I decided to have a growth mindset. After spending a few gloomy days in self-pity, I decided to try again.
I changed my strategy. Learned more about sales. Studied more. Made a better product. Created a better sales pitch.
A few months later, I tried again.
This time, I had eight sales.
The time after, I had 17 sales.
Most people have a fixed mindset. Some entrepreneurs even do. They’re always going to hit a quick ceiling in their work.
But if you want to become a wildly successful six-figure entrepreneur, you need a growth mindset.
Entertainment to Education Mindset
Ordinary entrepreneurs seek entertainment. But extraordinary entrepreneurs seek learning and education.
Best-selling author and entrepreneur Hal Elrod once said, “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.” The quality of your learning determines the quality of your success.
That’s why you must focus on education and learning if you want to see extraordinary success as an entrepreneur.
See, there’s so much you need to learn in order to achieve massive success. A world-champion soccer player needs to know more than just how to kick a ball well – they need to learn public speaking, contract negotiations, nutrition, strengths-building and conditioning, team leadership, brand management, and a dozen other non-soccer skills.
The same is true for you. When you first start out, you’re going to wear a lot of hats for your business – writer, salesperson, coder, marketer, advertiser, email list builder, etc. If you’re not able to learn new skills, you’ll either have to A): pay someone a lot of money to do it for you, or B): learn it yourself until someone else can do it for you.
That was me. Turns out, you need to know a lot more than “how to write well” if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. Some of the non-writing skills I’ve had to learn:
- Sales videos
- Video editing
- Email list-building
- Facebook/Google advertising
- Website coding
- Payment gateways
- PDF/graphics creation
- Business licensing
- Business taxes
You get the point.
Fortunately, the more you learn, the more you earn, and you can eventually pay others to do these things for you. (You also don’t have to “master” these skills, just learn enough to make it to the next step.)
But if you’re more focused on entertainment and distractions than you are on learning and education, you’re not going to become a successful entrepreneur.
Praise-Seeking to Criticism-Seeking Mindset
Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? – Dr. Carol S. Dweck
Years ago, I remember publishing some silly little blog post, like I’d been doing for years.
The next day, I got a notification telling me someone had left a comment.
A comment! I thought excitedly. No one ever left comments!
But when I read the comment, my heart was dunked into a bucket of ice water:
“This is the worst article I have ever read.”
To this day, I can still feel the visceral dread and discouragement I felt on that dark day.
Sadly, I let the troll win – I decided that from then on, I’d never write anything that could ever get that kind of comment again.
I changed my whole writing style, and only published things I was sure no one would criticize.
The good news? I never got another mean comment like that.
The bad news? I never got any comments because nobody wanted to read my boring content!
A lot of entrepreneurs and creators are praise-seeking, not criticism-seeking.
But unless you shift from praise-seeking to criticism-seeking, you’re never going to make real progress.
Eventually, I figured this out and started to actually seek criticism, instead of running from it. And I started learning how to write 10x better than before.
Sure, it hurt a bit. I got a lot more mean comments. It was hard.
But I knew it was the only way forward. Professionals weren’t afraid of criticism, they actually sought it out to become better. As the great philosopher Epictetus remarked thousands of years ago:
“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”
Stop wasting time justifying your current abilities are good enough. They’re not.
But if you want to learn how to make six figures every year (or month), if you want to live life on your terms, if you want to quit your job and become a wildly successful entrepreneur, you must stop seeking praise and start seeking criticism. Then, apply it to yourself and your business and get better.