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By Chris Shei
Entrepreneurship is the act of creating value, and as we often look to create value in our lives, it’s interesting to consider whether entrepreneurial principles can be relevant when applied to our personal lives. In my experience, surprisingly, I’ve found quite an overlap. Here are some takeaways that anyone–entrepreneur or not–can use to take a fresh approach to life.
Build a strong team
As a CEO, the team you build is crucial to your startup’s success. Similarly, the people who surround you day to day are crucial to your personal success. Just as you would be meticulous about the employees you hire, so you should be particular about those you spend time with socially.
A common adage says that you’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. Surrounding yourself with intelligent and ambitious individuals will challenge you to be more, do more, and share more. It would be extremely inadvisable to onboard an employee who is caustic to your team culture, so in your personal life, don’t surround yourself with cynics and doubters. It’s important to have critics around, but it’s impossible to live a positive life if you surround yourself with overtly negative people.
Take an agile approach
When creating a startup, entrepreneurs build an MVP (minimally viable product) and then iterate on it until they find product-market fit. It would be unthinkable for a startup to build something for four years without ever taking it to market.
Interestingly enough, this waterfall approach is how most people go into their careers. We go to college for four years to pursue a career in a field we may not ultimately enjoy. Once we’re embedded in a certain career path, it can also be quite difficult to deviate.
Take an agile approach to finding the product market fit in your life. For instance, if at some point in your life you begin considering graphic design as a better alternative to your current career path, take the time to find out whether it would be a good fit for you. You may not be able to take a year off to do graphic design school, but you can take some small classes on your side, do some freelance work, and ease yourself into the role. Continuously test and iterate on your beliefs to see if a specific direction is truly the one you want to pursue.
Always be innovating
Startups do things that haven’t been done before, or find new ways to do things that are more resource-efficient. Apply an innovative mindset to your daily routine, develop new skills, and test new technologies to make your life more resource-efficient. Doing so leads to new opportunities, broadens your perspective, and ensures you remain relevant. The earliest content creators on YouTube literally ushered in an entirely new era of entertainment, though they couldn’t have predicted it at the time. Try new things, and even if they don’t necessarily lead to anything at the time, you never know how your past experience might apply to your future endeavors.
Finally, dream big
A startup differentiates itself from a lifestyle business by hustling and grinding toward the goal of becoming a billion dollar company. Startups inherently dream big. Apply that same approach to your life and aim high. Doing so creates more excitement and anticipation, helps you overcome any limiting beliefs, and helps you realize that the word impossible just doesn’t need to apply anymore.
About the Author
Chris is an entrepreneur who enjoys hacking projects, and exploring new technologies and their real world applications. Chris is well-versed in blockchain and AI/ML. Chris held roles at Two Sigma Ventures, Jet.com, and Near Protocol.