In 1975, Bill Gates read an article that changed everything. It was an article on the Altair 8800 mini-computer made by MITS. That article led Gates and Paul Allen to see a bigger opportunity in the personal computer industry than anything they had previously imagine. That encounter led them to work with MITS and within one year start Microsoft, the company that would take Bill Gates to global domination in the technology industry.
The story is not so different for the likes of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and many other successful entrepreneurs who didn’t just build successful companies but revolutionized and disrupted industries. The common thread is that they all saw the future and took the step to participate in creating that future.
In this video, I’m going to share with you 7 things future entrepreneurs are doing today that you may not be doing. Before we get to it, I’ll like to invite you to subscribe to this channel and click the notification bell for more insightful videos like this.
1. They are looking into the future
Successful entrepreneurs don’t just happen from thin air. They saw something ahead of time. Take, for example, the most successful personal blogger in Africa – Linda Ikeji. If you read through or listen to interviews with Linda, you will recognize that she is not particularly extraordinary. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way. She is – without a doubt – a hard-working and smart lady. But you can find people that are as smart and hard-working as she is.
Linda’s number one advantage is that she foresaw the future and took the lead. When 99.9 percent of people in Africa had never heard the word ‘Blog’ before, she saw an opportunity in blogging and gave it all her effort and energy. By the time, everyone else discovered blogging; she was already light years ahead.
Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Mark Zuckerberg and other people like them dropped out of school because they saw the future and didn’t want to lose out from it. They looked long enough to be convinced that what awaits them ahead was more important and more valuable than whatever they can get out of school.
To prepare yourself to be part of the future entrepreneurs that will make a lasting impact, you have to start looking ahead. A lot of technology innovation is going on today. Industries are getting disrupted. Look into the future. And don’t be afraid to go all out to exploit the opportunities you see.
2. They are conscious about the present
In addition to thinking about and gazing into the future, future entrepreneurs are equally thinking about the present. They are not removed from the present and living in a time that is yet to come. In fact, they are more present than most people. This is because it takes conscious awareness to notice problems that need to be solved today. It takes conscious awareness to notice when a conventional approach is due for innovation.
While people are complaining about the problems of today, future entrepreneurs are taking notice of the potential opportunities these problems present. Also while people are getting comfortable about the way things work, future entrepreneurs are noticing bugs that need to be fixed. It takes being fully present to take note of these subtle opportunities for innovation.
The best entrepreneurs are not necessarily those who create a new path and disrupt entire industries. They could also be people who notice that someone could work better and go ahead to make it better.
3. They are failing or about to fail at a venture
When Gates was 17, he went into business with Paul Allen developing “Traf-o-Data”; a computer program that monitored traffic patterns in Seattle. The business failed, but according to Paul Allen, it prepared them with the knowledge that made Microsoft successful.
Almost every successful entrepreneur has had series of failed ventures or failed hustles. The few that succeed in their first business would have experienced a series of internal failures before they got it right. You can’t wake up one day and build a successful enterprise. You will experience failures. So the earlier you start venturing, the faster you fail, learn and move on to the next challenge. The important thing about is what you learn from failed ventures.
4. They are building their network
Bill Gates met Paul Allen, who would help co-found Microsoft 7 years later, in School, at the age of 13. They bonded over their shared interest in computers and stayed good friends. Also while at Harvard, Gates met Steve Ballmer who later became the CEO of Microsoft for 14 years.
A key determinant of success or failure is who you surround yourself with. The type of people you keep as friends and allies are more important to your future than you may think. The future entrepreneurs are cultivating their network. They are going to places where they can meet like minds. They are attending events of their interest; following people of like minds on social media. Future entrepreneurs are building their networks.
5. They are getting bored with the current school system
Until today, I’m yet to pick up my graduation certificate from the university. I have never used my academic qualification to earn a penny. Everything I have been involved in since I graduated from school was purely based on what I can do and what I had to offer. The simple reason is that I got bored of the current school system. I still believe there are people school is suited for. I believe the school system does serve some important purpose, but the present school system needs some serious disruption and innovation to catch up with a world that is constantly in motion. The present school system has to bore you if you are a creative and critically thinking person. And this is not just about the school system. It’s about the entire system. You have to see that something is wrong, and need fixing before you can set out to find an alternative or to fix it.
That is why I believe the future entrepreneurs are not just getting bored of the current school system, they are seeking alternative options. Some are already ahead pursuing a path that requires little academic requirement. Very few, if any, highly successful entrepreneurs today have good things to say about the present school system. I say ‘very few’ just to leave a benefit of the doubt that there could be some successful entrepreneurs out there that hold the school in high regard when it comes to being an entrepreneur or building a business. Many companies are already giving less emphasis on academic qualification in their recruitment process, and more focus on what the individual has to offer.
6. They are modeling mentors
One great thing about the world is that no matter what you want to do, someone out there has already done it–or at least part of it. If you can find out who they are and how they did it, it will give you an incredible advantage. It’s an even bigger advantage if you can get them to advise you–and maybe see a part of themselves in you too.
Almost every successful entrepreneur today had someone or a group of people that influenced them. They read about these people, studied how they came to where they are and are modeling after them. Mark Zuckerberg was influenced by Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page – founders of Google – who were influenced by Steve Jobs. Some of my biggest influences through my entrepreneurial journey were Robert Kiyosaki through his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, and Sir Richard Branson from his book Screw it, let’s do it. When I started blogging, Darren Rowse of Problogger and Steve Pavlina were some people I modeled after. Future entrepreneurs are modeling mentors. They read about them, follow them on social media, and when possible reach out to them.
7. They are investing in education, to satisfy their curiosity
Don’t misunderstand this: investing in education doesn’t mean pursuing an advanced degree unless you’re sure it makes financial sense, and you’re confident you really want to pursue the career your degree prepares you for. Instead, it means simply becoming a lifelong learner, and not paying more than you have to for your education. It’s about wondering about something that seems like a mystery to you and then going ahead to learn about it to satisfy your curiosity.
We can be pretty sure that before Bill Gates read that article about the Altair 8800 that gave him clarity about the direction of the personal computer revolution, he had been reading widely on the industry to educate and satisfy his curiosity.
My perception about blogging changed from just something people do as a hobby to a potential opportunity to create wealth when I read about blogging from a Celtel magazine I read in 2008. Before then I had been reading a lot of business-related magazines. Future entrepreneurs are actively exploring knowledge resources to satisfy their curiosity. If you see yourself as an entrepreneur who will make an impact in the near future, you want to start doing what future entrepreneurs are already doing. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!