Entrepreneur what does that even mean?

Entrepreneur is a title used widely and with aspirational notions but when you live it what’s involved.  It isn’t all pretty!

If you have an idea that you want to make happen then this article is for you, no matter how big or how small the idea.

Most people associate entrepreneurship with getting rich.  Yes, if it works.  However like anything it requires effort and more than anything psychological commitment.

This article focuses on the initial big questions on entrepreneurial approaches What, Why and How from my experience.

Still interested?  Then let’s get started.

  • Start Here – Your What!
  • Finish what you start – Your Why!
  • Motivation – Your How!
  • You the Entrepreneur


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Start Here – Your What!

The dream

If you ask Google to define entrepreneur you get “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”

I disagree with the definition and I’ll explain that disagreement.

Let’s break this up :

  • “the activity of setting up a business or businesses”
  • “taking on financial risk”
  • “in the hope of profit”

Lawyers set up companies, so that is not an entrepreneur.

You don’t have to take on financial risk, which I can demonstrate

The hope of profit would never see a charity set up.

So we have some work to do to understand what an entrepreneur means to us.

From the early 19th century (denoting the director of a musical institution): from French, from entreprendre‘ means undertake.

So you are someone who is undertaking a challenge!  What is your undertaking?  A goal?  Your what!

In my mind, a sports person and a business person are an entrepreneur.  They have an undertaking and make it happen.


The Idea

Consequently, step one before you make your decision is to have an idea of what you want and how best you think you can get there.

Stuck for an idea, well start here.

Ideas change from day to day so write it down.  If tomorrow the idea has changed you didn’t put enough homework in.

Before you start, you’re really going to have to want this!

The human brain has about 70,000 thoughts a day!  About one per second!  Which one of these thoughts is going to make it?

The process is more important than the product.  How do you make sure you don’t forget it?

Hence WRITE IT DOWN!  Do that now!  Start now!



The first key word is risk.  Just because you have an idea, it may or may not work out.


Peter O’Mahony is captain of Munster and one of the greatest servants to the game of rugby that has ever lived.

He has spent countless hours of his life in training and playing matches.  Countless more hours in recovery, eating right and dedicating himself to his craft.

Yet in sports for all the preparation, skill and ability it often comes down to a decisions, an idea and belief in yourself.

The “kick for the corner” is an insight into the mental approach of a professional sports persona and an entrepreneur.   Get it right, you’re a hero.  Get it wrong, you’re a villain.  Irish Independent article here.

In a microcosm, Peter had something he wanted, in this case a win.  He had lots of support in his team mates and opportunity in that he was in the game.  You don’t have to make your choices in the space of seconds but the same principles are applied.

Yet for an equally talented hero such as Johnny Sexton, similar choice yet the results live in infamy.  The difference? Johnny’s kick gave a desired result for Johnny.  The risk was trying.


Every morning you go out your front door, you risk accident.  You do it anyway.  So you already accept there’s risk in life!


The key ingredients of a Project

For any project to work, ask any project manager you need three things, Time, Resources and Scope.

If you have more money, you may need less time and have a greater scope.

So if you have time then you can actually compensate for the other two.

Not having money is not an excuse, it’ll just take longer.


As we’ve written down what we’re going to achieve, we have the scope.

Next decide over what time frame you’re going to get this done.

Now all you have to do is figure out the resources.

So like a baker baking a cake, you have ingredients, instructions and an idea.  Yet not every cake works!

What does your idea need?  Write it down!

Financial Risk

Looking at that entrepreneur definition again, let’s dispel the financial requirement concept.

As I have mentioned before what people really need to succeed in business or life is resourcefulness.

Tony Robbins describes resourcefulness very well. (give it till 7:43).

If you prefer seeing resourcefulness in action there is a book “One red paperclip” by Kyle McDonald.

He started with a paperclip and traded it for two-story farmhouse in Canada over the course of a year!

You don’t need money, you need resourcefulness.

Also, he didn’t start a business or anything like to have gain.  Yet I would say Kyle McDonald is an entrepreneur.

Finish what you start – Your Why!


Once you have your idea, entrepreneurship is about obsession.

Only you can turn your dream into a reality.

Now we can begin the graft!

This is where hearing about “the work done when others aren’t watching” becomes important.  Your idea needs your all for it to happen.


Where is do you find your resolve, your grit?  How do you want to be remembered?

You need to find the power you can draw on to get this done. Your why?

So your idea is your what.  Now underneath all your whats write down your why!



“Entrepreneurship is sacrificing your today for a better tomorrow. It is living a few years of your life like others won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like others can’t.”

Not every idea you have will be a good one.  Also not every idea you have will actually be worth the resources it will take.  So how do you choose?

Education and experience are the answers.


Education means you can learn from others mistakes.  Reading and learning save you from making mistakes yourself.  It doesn’t stop all your mistakes.  You can know something and forget to use it.

Experience means failing and which includes failing badly.  That isn’t a failure, it’s a lesson.  I’m either succeeding or I’m learning.

Failing sucks and will be exhausting.  So you need to put mechanisms in place to push yourself when you hit the bottom.



Often you’ll hear about sports in terms of success.  Sports have very immediate decisions and results.  Business requires the same mindset but often takes so much longer.

The only person who believes in this idea is you.

When it works everyone will see it and go “ahh yes, knew that was going to work”.  If it doesn’t work, you’ll get told “I told you so.”

The biggest challenge you’ll face is not money or resources, it’s people.

Specifically people who don’t want you to succeed for a variety of reasons.

People who will actively work to stop you are called trolls.  Trolls appear from the most unlikely of places.

If you can manage them, it will take less from you, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Here’s some ideas on handling trolls.


Risk, fear and shame

Being paralyzed by fear is usually from a sense of risk.  What if it goes wrong?!

Risk is good, it’s practical but if it stops you acting altogether, then it is bad.

Identify the risk, mitigate it and suddenly it’s not a stopping force.


From a feeling point of view, in my experience, it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.

I am not ashamed by my failures, they were lessons.


So if it goes wrong, then there is the fear, right?!  No, there is the fear of shame.

If you can conquer that fear of what others think of you and what you’re doing… then you will know fear and be courageous.

Courage, is being afraid and doing it anyway.

Being an entrepreneur requires courage.  Accept the challenge, the shame, the fear, be courageous because when it works, none of these negatives will matter.


Visualise it working and stay focused on that.  Focus on your why!


Motivation – Your How!


“Is not the end of your story, it’s the start of your comeback story!”

In small or in big you’re going to fail at something.  Accept it now.

It’s part of the game and the better you learn to handle it, the more successful you will become.

So if you know you need failures to learn from, then they’re not failures they’re helpful.


Gratitude and mindset

Picking yourself up off the floor is so hard.

It’s actually like exercise.  It needs constant work.  So what sets or workouts can you add to your life to help?


If you’re not religious, don’t worry, say grace before meals.  “I am grateful for….”

Use the Fast and Furious version of grace around your situation which is not necessarily religious but it does something.


When you wake in the morning perform a checklist of all things you can be grateful for.

  • I can see… uh huh.
  • Hearing … yep.
  • Walking to the bathroom, result

So you’ve had 3 wins already this morning!  How many more are there?


Because when everything goes to hell in a handbasket, you’ll need to remind yourself you have many things going for you.

We so often focus on the negatives rather than the positives and this reinforcement is a double hit.

The sting of a failure and then the negative reinforcement of everything around us.


When you fail, review your grace list and mentally everything won’t be as bad.  I promise you!  I do it daily.

It doesn’t have to be religious in nature as demonstrated above.  If you are religious use it!


The daily grind

This is what I use.

A constant stream of audio reminders to push, grow, develop and keep going.  Since I found this playlist it gets listened to a lot.

Any time I’m down or feel myself slipping back to tiredness… on goes the list.

When I find I’m in full flow, I swap to the backing tracks to those speeches and I work on my own narrative.

Find what works for you, but don’t underestimate the audio effect in your ears.



Not everyone’s motivations work the same.  It’s not always being top of the leaderboard.  You do need to understand yourself.

The theory of gamification can help you identify and then maximise your preferred motivational approach.

Know yourself, how to push yourself, how to motivate yourself and then put a plan in place for when you’re not feeling motivated.

If you like competition to drive you, know that, you can only lose if you give up!


You the Entrepreneur

Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or think you cant, you’re right.”

This later became attributed to Confucius as “The Man who says he can, and the man who says he can not, are both correct”

If you believe it will work, its up to you to do it and prove it.

Giving up or stopping means you will prove everyone else right.

They’re not you, it’s not their life.  You need to believe in you where no one else will.



If I can help in any way, ask.

If there’s anything in this article you’d like to chat to me about you can contact me here or on social media.


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