Has the hectic pace of the 9 to 5 and working in a corporate job become a drudgery?
Do you desire to pursue your dreams and fully develop your God-given potential through a life of entrepreneurship?
If so, welcome!
With entrepreneurship in today’s modern world, people like you can diversify their income streams, produce instead of consume, and ultimately reduce their dependence upon the modern economy—an economy that isn’t getting better, despite what government numbers say.
Today, I’m going to help you start your own journey to entrepreneurship. Specifically, I’m going to cover two major areas:
- How to Acquire Business Skills
- How to Evaluate Opportunities
How to Acquire Business Skills
As an entrepreneur, you need business skills—lots of them. Thanks to the internet and other resources, however, obtaining these important, practical skills isn’t hard. (Note that some of these opportunities may be more appropriate for you than others, depending on your personality, situation constraints, and investment availability.)
Opportunities for Study
When many people think of learning, they think of more formal, academic paths. While formal opportunities do have their place, they aren’t always the most effective or efficient way for you to gain skills, unless you’re someone who learns best in a highly-structured environment.
Formal course/academic skill acquisition opportunities include
- MBA Programs
- Venture Academy (the MBA-like training available from Wade Myers)
Informal Courses/Self-Study Opportunities
A favorite of many entrepreneurs, informal courses and study opportunities also abound.
- Massive Online Courses (MOOCs)
- Free/paid online courses (for example, CreativeLive and Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula)
- White papers
- Video training
- Blog posts
- Email subscriptions
Opportunities for Working
Studying is great, but you also need practical experience, the most important educational opportunity available.
Generally, work experience comes in five different forms:
- Job Experience
- Industry Experience
- Role Experience
- Technical Experience
- Marketing/Writing Experience
Job experience is practical experience gained from your current job. (Some jobs are more practical than others.)
Industry experience is very important if you want to venture into a particular industry. If you don’t understand the industry, you may not understand the problems and solutions of the industry.
Role experience can also be helpful. For example, if you drive a truck, you might have some experience handling operational logistics, though you don’t have experience participating in an online business team.
Technical experience is very important if you’re looking into a technical industry, like the computer industry.
Marketing and writing experience might seem a little strange, but these skills are extremely important. Any small business owner or solopreneur must do marketing and copywriting—there’s just no way around it. You must be able to communicate and present your idea, and marketing and writing experience helps you do it.
This is another great way for you to gain skills, though the basic idea comes in several different packages.
Formal apprenticeships tend to be very encompassing and include working a full-time job, plus doing outside study assignments.
Informal/remote apprenticeships/internships are simply helping someone with a project.
Formal internships are the summer college student internship model.
Informal/remote internships are less formal, like Beyond Off Grid’s own intern program.
Angel investors typically invest money, but they also bring their background and advice.
Informal mentor relationships are started by finding an older, wiser businessperson who can discuss business concepts and ideas with you and advise and council you.
Formal peer groups gather regularly to talk about businesses, hold each other accountable, etc.
How to Get Started
- Research and plan your venture
- Act (launch it)
- Measure your results
- Finally, adjust and move forward. (Sometimes, adjusting means canceling the entire project because it just won’t work.)
How to Evaluate Opportunities
So, you have an idea. How do you evaluate that potential opportunity?
Step #1: Research the Market
An entrepreneur is constantly thinking of new business ideas. While you may think of a new solution, you don’t necessarily want to pursue all solutions as business ventures. Macro- and micro-level research is the only way you’ll know whether your market will understand (and purchase) your solution.
Step #2: Define Your Ideal Customer & Develop/Test Product Ideas
These tests can take months, and you don’t necessarily have that time. To be wise with your time, set constraints like time and deadlines on this process. If you need help with this step, check out Running Lean by Ash Maurya. (Ash is an entrepreneur that has been heavily involved in the lean startup movement.)
His book is so practical—he talks you through the process.
- Researching the market
- How do you define your customer?
- How do you define the problem and solution?
- How do you determine if your solution fits the problem and whether the market wants your solution?
Ash has come up with a tool called the “Lean Canvas”—a simple way of mapping out a business model and covering everything on a single piece of paper. This process and method is the best thing I’ve seen on this topic, and I highly recommend his book.
In this post, I’ve covered many ways that a new entrepreneur can acquire skills…but this is only the beginning!
Learn More in this Exclusive Webinar Training
Learn from my journey to entrepreneurship in a special webinar training session on this topic. You will learn:
- How to determine what kinds of businesses to focus on
- How to develop your business skills
- How to evaluate business opportunities
- Different models for home-based businesses
- How you can involve your children in your business
- The top lessons from my personal experience
Presenter Jason Matyas is a husband, father of seven, lifelong gardener, Air Force veteran, and visionary entrepreneur with a wide-ranging background. He is a marketing strategist and business consultant, and has been Founder or Co-Founder of six startups. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Beyond Off Grid, a documentary film and media project designed to inspire and equip people to live a life less dependent upon the modern economy.