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Twelve elements of entrepreneur mindset

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

The mindset is what makes the mind work much better. You may have a great mind as good as Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, but you need to acquire the mindset of theirs. The mindset is not something any books teach. In fact, the mindset can only be taught in practice.

Think of your knowledge and skill as software - the mindset is the operating system.

Here are the top twelve elements of entrepreneur mindset. Get them by practicing selling, somehow and some where. Every great entrepreneur got their mindset early, independent of schools.

Ready?! here are the top ten lists of entrepreneur mindset.

  1. Most business dies.

  2. #1 in any business niche gets money.

  3. To sell, go to market. Let customers find you.

  4. Every plan needs adjustment.

  5. Every great idea needs to be validated.

  6. Good things don't sell. Every great products needs you to sell effortlessly.

  7. Quality equals price. Quality equals time. Time equals money. Therefore quality equals money.

  8. Don't try to provide a solution. Provide benefits.

  9. Schools only teach ignorance.

  10. Social media is only a funnel - it is not where you sell things.

  11. in 2021, build big funnels and thin margin.

  12. Website sells nothing. It is just an empty store no where near people.

Now let me explain some of the points to the best of my ability. Again, great entrepreneurs "get it". If you don't "get it", then you need to practice and learn in practice.

Most business dies.

The vast majority of ideas, projects and products do not rise to the level of a sustainable business. They become a hobby or a hang up business that never grows. If you want to build one, it is not enough just to have a good idea.

Most entrepreneurial efforts born out of "I am smart" or "I want to solve problems" becomes miserably unfit for the people and market, or there are not enough customers to support your startup organization financially.

We rarely hears about businesses that don't make it. But they are the vast majority. You never see the zero view channels on Youtube - because they are not visible. Healthy entrepreneurs are paranoid and humble. They know their success is a reward for their pursuit - called luck, not chance.

#1 in any business niche gets money

Ever wonder why only the Gold medalist in Olympic events gets to earn sponsorship money? this is like everything else. Your number one pizza shop in town makes a ton of money. The number two? not much. Every niche has a winner. Be that winner.

In business number one gets money
Business mindset: number one of niche gets money

There is plenty of money, but there is no easy buck. You see many people get money but it is still hard for everyone. It is like there are many fish in the ocean, but there is no easy catch. Every catch requires capital scaling, experience, and team.

Business is grabbed from someone else.

Business is rare - like a rich Gold mine is rare. Once people find a business, they all converge on it. There is no such curtesy such as "don't steal Johnny's ideas". People in business don't steal ideas. They steal business.

Business is a game, or a war. "Good business" is rare.

Microsoft grabbed business from IBM and many others. Apple grabbed business from Xerox Parc. Amazon grabbed business from many book sellers. Walmart grabbed business from many local grocery stores.

There is nothing others have not thought about.

There is no opening to chance upon. The more time you spend in business, the more you agree with this statement. Unfortunately, this is one valuable thing that no one can or dare to teach or preach.

To sell, go to the market

Don't just "find the customer", don't believe the customers would care enough do so pages of google search to find you. To sell, go to the market and sell to the people coming into your store.

Why the market? because people only go to the market to shop, compare, and buy.

Entrepreneur mindset: to sell go to market.
Don't wait for customers. Go to the market and then wait.
Every plan needs adjustment

Many people want to conceive a great business plan, write a pitch deck, bring to investors and wow them! that never happens. Investors know that every plan needs fine tuning and adjustment to work. They want to see what you have done the fine tuning. They don't want to pay for your "learning curve".

Every idea needs validation.

You are smart? great. You have a wonderful one of a kind once in a century kind of idea? great. Prove it. Validate it with your money and time. The investors and customers can all wait.

Good things don't sell. Every great products needs you to sell.

I get it. Selling is low. Selling is like begging. But you have to do it, especially for good things you believe in.

Nothing will be sold without you personally selling.

No products can sell itself. No one will sell it for you. If you try to bring a product to find a customer, everyone will shy away. Good things needs greater selling.

No matter how smart you are, you are not the savior and the problem is not as big as you imagined. People can wait - for you to be humble enough to sell.

Quality is expensive to achieve.

Let me prove it for you mathematically. Quality is built with time. Time is money, no one can work for you for free. Hence, quality is built with money. We see great Apple products that sell for a high price, that is because Steve Job's company has spent a lot of money.

Quality is money.
Quality is not just skill. Quality is time.

Here is an equation linking price and time to quality and value.

Quality = time.

Time = money.

Quality = money.

Quality = pricing power.

Steve jobs spent time and money to build quality.
Business mindset: quality and pricing power is time.

Steve Jobs at a news conference "Apple does not ship junk". Apple knows it is not the cool factor that matters, but the quality, and further more, the consistency of high quality.

Don't provide a solution. Provide benefits.

Some people naively think that people will buy a solution. That is wrong. People will buy a solution if they can not solve the problem themselves (since they know themselves the best). People want the lowest dirt cheap price and the promised benefits that won't fail. We all see great business providing solutions, but we don't realize they provide solutions at extremely high trustworthiness (quality) and low price (through industrial scaling). People only buy benefits.

Benefit = solution with a promise.

Schools teach ignorance.

This point is the hardest for me to make. As I was a university professor for many decades.

Why do I say that? Isn't graduates of Harvard and Caltech smart and knowledgable? how dare you say that schools teach ignorance?

Most college graduates are no longer hungry for knowledge. They think they have been to the very top. For that, they are ignorant.

There are three things that well schooled folks should consider:

  1. The schools teach what is needed to get a good job.

  2. Much of knowledge is deep knowledge (say, organic egg retail in Farmer City, MI) and experiential knowledge (knowledge you only discover when you are there).

  3. Millions of books can only cover broad knowledge.

When schools openly imply they are the pinnacle of knowledge, they are lying. They want you to think it is because they want you to pay top tuition dollars. School knowledge is beginning. Hence graduation is called commencement. Commencement of real learning.

Many people who do not understand these three keep asking "Should I quit school to open a business?", "Which engineering major should I take to startup?", and "Do I need to go to MBA to start a business".

Our great engineering schools teach you on aspect of building something but does not teach you how to sell. Our great MBA school teaches you how to manage a business, but not how to start one.

Schools don't help building business. Skipping schools don't matter either.

The great soldiers and athletes might be trained in schools, but they experience so much more outside. Same for entrepreneurs, innovators, and business people.

Patton and Eisenhower during war.
Mindset: school learning is broad knowledge. Go deep.

Schools don't teach business building. Business schools teach business administration. Technical schools teach a bit of product building skills. However, to build a business requires many skills and knowledge. In comparison, schools and scholars really just know book basics.

Great entrepreneurs some times skip school. Elon Musk was admitted to Stanford graduate school but he stayed only for three days. However, Musk was a good student. He majored in Physics and Business in undergraduate and has already started companies before going to college.

In fact, skipping school is not necessary. However, going to school does not help with business.

Schools teach skills for surviving and living in the social establishment zone, the comfort zone. Business is to leave that zone and learn to survive on your own.

Business mindset: Schools teach nothing.
Business mindset: school knowledge is starter

Business is like a game, or a war. School graduates have a long way to go and much to learn from experience on the battle field to become effective leaders. Same for entrepreneurship.

You can not make money on social media.

Many people would argue other wise. Here is what I mean. Social media is only a funnel. People don't come to social medial to buy things - they come to social medial to relax. If you spend all your efforts on social media and expect it to create an income that you can live on, you will be very disappointed after a couple of years.

The social media is the light. The website and product is the business end (the teeth). If you only have the light, or only have the teeth, nothing works.

Big funnel, thin margin

What works for business in 2021 and beyond is big funnel and thin margin. You use big funnel on social network to collect 1-3% of conversion customers and show them a bargain they cannot refuse NOW.

Profit margin is thin for all successful business. The rich ones just have a lot of customers.

A website is just a building

A website, whether it is built with word press, Shopify or other platforms, is just an url http address. No one comes to this automatically. A website itself is like a cottage in the wild - it may be nice but no one comes to see it, no one checks out what's in it, and no one buys what you put in there.

Don't just build a website - hook it with traffic funnels and products.

Your website has to be hitched to a market and you can funnel people in. That is why people always spend top dollars to put restaurants on restaurant row! because there are foot traffic streaming by.

Further reading

Here are some additional mindset elements.

Business is a life style choice. It is opposite to another style based on job, promotion, employment and skills.

Business is a realm parallel to our role as job holder and consumer. Ideas and innovations are found inside business.

Business success is your full responsibility. If you want to do it, no one will help. Being a seller, no on sympathizes with you. No one understand you or even try. No one will give you some money to try things.

Business is just business. Business is irrational. It is a game, an experience, and a competitive monopoly act. It is an alpha competition outside of published rules and books. People don't buy things good for them, and people are easily fooled. People want dirt cheap price and care nothing about the seller's cost.

Business is built and grown. You don't conceive one. You don't "open a company" or "open a business".

No consumers needs or want to buy anything - yet business competes to win their attention and favor.

No one cares about your business before you succeed, except when it is to steal one or surpass. In business, the only thing steady is competition and learning.

Business is hit and miss, high and low. It is a statistics show. To win, just hit a lot. Luck will be on your side once.


Thanks for watching. I know newbies would not care or believe everything I said. But this is the "truth" someone wanted to have. The truth is uglier than you think but it will make you free to really do great things. What I discussed is rarely seen in media, but it is the fact that successful entrepreneurs like Musk and Jobs and your local Pizza restaurant owners all know.

The truth shall make your entrepreneurial spirit fly.
Entrepreneur mindset: what schools don't teach.

A final thought and a bonus mindset:

Success is easy. It is just six year of focused work.

Good luck. Business is a great mindset to have, even if you don't do business.

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