Almost anything in life is really all about attitude and that certainly holds true with respect to starting a business. The absolute key mental attribute that anyone, particularly someone transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, must have is “all in”. Let me clarify a bit what that means...
“All in” is definitely NOT about risking everything on a single roll of the dice; far from it. “All in” is pragmatic risk taking. Be very deliberate and thoughtful when you start your business. What can you afford to lose and what do you hold dear and would not risk? Understanding what sacrifices you are prepared to make financially, personally and physically while being prepared to make them.
“All in” is all about your commitment to the startup and the proper allocation of time and resources to achieve success. “All in” is really more about being committed to the project to persist through the difficult times. If you don't have that commitment it is too easy to walk away when things get tough and you can be certain there will be difficult times.
The two bookends that bound your decision to transition from employee to entrepreneur are:
1) “Don't give up your day job too soon”.
2) To make it work you are going to have to leap and go “all in”.
The former I first heard at a lunch and learn by Rick Segal, then of JLA Ventures, and his advice to all attendees was “don’t give up your day job too soon”. Point number 2 is from personal observation of entrepreneurs in the last decade. To be successful, IMHO, you must be “ALL IN”.
“All in” means sometimes you have to “burn your boat” to succeed. My two favorite stories on “All in” mentality come from:
Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich –Chapter 2 Desire – The Spur That Drives to Riches”
Robert Herjavec’s book “Driven – Chapter 21 – When Necessary, Burn the Ships”.
Burning your boat isn't the same as burning bridges. Remember, “don't give up your day job too soon”, but to be successful you will need to be “All IN”.
- Ian Graham