Are You Ready To Be An Entrepreneur?

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In 2007, I left my finance job as a VP and opted for an entrepreneurial career as a Business/Life Coach, Speaker, and author. This meant saying goodbye to a good salary, bi-monthly pay checks, a life in New York City and living 15 minutes away from my mom and brother. I moved to California in 2009, wrote a book, Living in YOUR Top 1%, and this past week spoke to over 400 people at three different companies ranging from real estate to a Fortune 500 company in healthcare to an investment company. I never regret my decision because I wake up the majority of mornings being excited about my work and the opportunity to make a difference.

As an entrepreneur and the CEO of my own business (like every entrepreneur), I am in charge and directly responsible for developing new coaching programs, marketing, business development, giving talks to various companies and every other area. Some days are great and other moments are frustrating but I know this is my path.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way both from my experiences and coaching other entrepreneurs and companies to help them excel. I hope these are helpful and feel free to share your takeaways so we can all improve:

1. Belief

We all have moments when we doubt ourself. But entrepreneurs are hopeful and optimistic and therefore understand that these moments are temporary rather than permanent. You will need a top 1% team but at the end of the day, every entrepreneur needs to be his/her own biggest fan. At first, others may laugh at your idea until it becomes the standard and a way of life. People laughed at Ted Turner when he started CNN –- it’s now the standard to have news 24 hours/7 days a week.

Do you have the determination and belief in yourself to succeed even on the most challenging days?

2. Resilience

Setbacks or dips are part of the process. The best and most consistent companies have products that are flops (ie, think about how many drinks Starbucks has tried and discontinued). There’s nothing surprising about having a product that doesn’t do well, being rejected, experiencing a setback, or having a client tell you “NO.” That’s all part of the process and is par for the course. The true entrepreneurs look beyond these temporarysetbacks and realize that each dip is an opportunity to grow. The good days are easy but you will be measured on how you deal with the difficult days.

What rituals do you need to practice to manage the most challenging parts of your business?

3. Vision

True entrepreneurs have a vision others don’t see – whether it’s for yourself or the company. Regardless of the industry, you must have a craziness about you and the ability to expand the world’s view of what’s possible. We have visionaries in every industry Oprah creating her own network, OWN, with uplifting programming (which is still in the early phases) to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, changing the way people communicate globally.

What’s your vision you want to share with the world?

4. It’s A Process

Success is a process and, by definition, a process has different phases. The media showcases people who are selling their business for lots of money so it’s tempting to think that success is overnight. But in the headline they never mention that these same people worked for upwards of 5-10+ years to make it happen and worked many late nights. That part of the story is rarely the focus. So if you just read the headlines you will believe a very different story.

The path to mastery is through practice. Too many people I meet and speak with want success overnight. They expect results without putting in the time and effort and then get disappointed when things take a while. Just like losing 20 pounds takes time and happens one pound at a time, building a successful business happens over time by writing one more blog, making one more presentation, coming up with one new advertising idea and getting one more client. And yes, after putting in the time and effort consistently over time, success will be overnight (over many late nights)!

What does success mean to you?

Photo by Chiara Cremaschi

Alissa Finerman

Alissa is a Professional Life Coach, motivational speaker, and author of “Living in Your Top 1%: Nine Essential Rituals to Achieve Your Ultimate Life Goals” available on She works with individuals and organizations to help them think bigger, redefine what’s possible, and get results. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. To learn more and to take the Living in Your Top 1% quiz, please visit or

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