The American Dream is the classic tale of rags to riches. From new generations of immigrants, to the many who feel they are condemned to forever work a dead end job in corporate America, scores of people seek the American Dream. They become entrepreneurs, self-sufficient men and women building themselves up from nothing to the heights of success. Yet, the game of becoming an entrepreneur often seems too lofty a goal, high and unobtainable for the average person.
How then can you achieve your goals? What is the secret to becoming a successful entrepreneur? Tim Knox, small business expert, entrepreneur, syndicated newspaper columnist, radio talk-show host, television commentator, and author says that there is no secret. "You've got to find out what you want...then you have to take action," Knox advises.
Being an entrepreneur is not a path for everyone. Before proceeding, you must first and foremost decide if this is the course of action you truly desire. Knox, who comes from a poor rural Alabama family, feels that the first step on the road to success is an honest and introspective self-assessment. "You've got to sit down, have a heart to heart with yourself and ask yourself hard questions like, 'Am I willing to put everything I have at risk to make this business work?'" shares Knox.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur is more than opening a corner shop and selling a product. Potential entrepreneurs may find themselves exiting their comfort zone. Can you handle customers? Are you comfortable managing people, and marketing your business?
Knox warns not to judge your own ability by the successes of others. "Don't look at people you know who are in business and say well it can't be that hard, because they're doing it," Knox cautions, "That 's not a good gauge of whether or not you can actually do it."
To succeed, you must build a credible reputation in whatever field you decide to enter. Name recognition is critical. Make yourself a brand name; the goal is to associate your name less with a person and more with the products and ideals of your business. "It 's all about building the brand and building your credibility," says Knox.
To accomplish this, start small by writing and submitting articles for publication. Submit articles to local newspapers and online. Even if they are only letters to the editor or opinion-editorial pieces, by placing your name into the field, you are building credibility and name recognition.
Knox, who started his own successful career with these humble beginnings, says that persistence is key. "If you're trying to get credibility in anything start writing articles. Go to your local paper offer to write a column," Knox advises, "The worst that can happen is they say no."
So the next question naturally is, what are you an expert in? Knox shares the story of a nurse who felt she had no expertise. While talking with her, Knox learned she possessed the ability to keep children behaved while traveling. That was her expertise; something she had never considered or felt was special. "She has become an expert on traveling with kids. She gets media requests all the time and that sort of thing," recalls Knox, "Think about things you can do."
"Get creative," says Knox. Creativity is pivotal to an entrepreneur. Think about the things you can do and what you know. Is there a product or service you can improve on? Do you know something that others find remarkable or uncommon? Work with these things, publish them, speak on them, and make them your expertise.
The worst thing you can do is nothing, and the best time to start is now. Knox warns that opportunity will not come to you, "Opportunity doesn't knock. Opportunity doesn't even know where you live. It 's not delivered like pizza; you're not going to hear a knock at the door, and there stands a box full of hot opportunity for you."
Ask yourself if you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. If you feel that it is right for you, start now; do not wait for opportunities that may never come. Determine what you can do, and make yourself an expert in the field. Start small by publishing articles online and in local newspapers, and get your name out there to build credibility. By doing these things, you are on your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur and claiming the American Dream.
Dr. Proactive Randy Gilbert enjoys producing "Inside Business Success," hosted by Jan Schleicher, who presents her interview with Tim Knox (TimKnox.com) based upon his book Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama. Listen for free by going to: http://www.insidesuccessradio.com/Guests/Tim-Knox