As a young entrepreneur at eighteen, I made just about every mistake in the book. The thing was, at the time, by achieving early success I thought I had it all figured out.
Like so many entrepreneurs first starting out, I was hungry for success and eager to make my mark on the world being my own boss and starting my first venture. I had all the right intentions, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the perspective to stay grounded in what really mattered.
In some ways, I lost myself in the pursuit of success, working impossibly long hours, swept up in the “hustle and grind” mentality. I drilled my health into the ground, neglected relationships, and was unable to feel fulfilled when the time came to actually celebrate having “made it”.
78% of successful entrepreneurs today say that learning from previous failures is essential. Having the foresight to avoid costly mistakes can save you years of wasted time, life force, and energy, as well as help you to make informed decisions that result in maximum ROI.
That’s why I’ve consulted a fellow millennial entrepreneur with five successful companies under his belt to shed some light on what matters most as an entrepreneur, so you can find the right footing from the beginning.
Meet Zion Kim, the president of Maverick NEXT, a network for exceptional entrepreneurs age 25 and under. In addition to operating an impressive portfolio of ventures, he’s developed marketing strategies for namesake brands like Dell, and served as an advisor for tech startups to 7, 8, and 9-figure companies. Kim is also the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Rutgers University Entrepreneur Award.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Kim lends his perspective as a seasoned entrepreneur, sharing what he wish he had known when he got started and what he would have done differently on his way to the top if he could have had the foresight beforehand.
Below, see Kim’s five tips to keep in mind as you prepare to ascend the summit of entrepreneurial success.
1. Do What You Most Love Doing.
It’s a common misperception that in order to be doing work, or “getting something done,” the task needs to be hard. We have had it drilled into us that work is a “grind,” so we seek work from this place and measure our performance or output by the amount of hard exertion we have done.
Kim encourages us to embrace that work and achievement can be fun, playful, effortless, and the thing we love doing most, because this is where we can access our most valuable gifts and thus where we can provide the greatest contribution.
“We have those things that when we’re doing them they come with such ease. Being in flow. Time passes and you don’t even notice. Certain gifts you have are unlocked easier and pour out of you easier—this is where you are meant to work,” Kim says.
2. Don’t Do It For Validation.
Here’s a sobering dose of truth—if you’re looking to achieve success for your ego, or to feel like you’ve finally “made it,” no amount of external praise will satisfy you. Why? Because you are coming from a place of emptiness, a place of proving, as if your own worth is not self-stated.
Be honest with yourself about the place you are coming from in your pursuit of success. When you catch yourself seeking validation, remember to press pause and ground yourself in the truth of who you are.
3. Be Open To Trying New Things.
When you’re first starting out, knowing exactly what you’re meant to do or where you’re meant to serve can be unclear. Kim recommends to try as many new things as possible. You don’t know what you love until you try it, and you might be surprised by what arises when you give something a chance.
Eventually, Kim says, you’ll land on the thing that’s meant for you and you’ll be ready for it. The diverse skills you will have accumulated along the way will have prepared you for it perfectly. Each skill you develop is an asset and will serve you in unexpected ways.