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The gritty guide to entrepreneurial success

Focus, study and learn to put up with pain

By Andrea ZanonPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Let's be real. In the stressful world of entrepreneurship, sustained success isn't about luck or following the latest fads. It's a courageous journey that demands commitment, resilience, and a whole lot of hustles and long-term focus.

First things first, figure out your "business obsession"—that one idea you can't stop obsessing over. Once you've nailed it, get ready for the long and stressful journey. Commit to this thing for at least ten years. Your business plan? Aim high, be as bold as you can. Go for a 100x growth in five years. Even if you only get 10x, that baldness will catch investors' eyes.

Speaking of investors, while you should talk to all, if you're thinking about venture capital, be prepared for the harsh truth: two out of three startups fail. To convince VCs to bet on you, show them how your ambitious plan can offset their losses elsewhere.

Now, let's talk about your team. Forget the stereotype of a bunch of tech guys in hoodies. You need a diverse crew with different skills. Sales, marketing, finance—it's all important. And diversity isn't just an ESG buzzword; it's about different perspectives that lead to better decisions. Women in leadership positions should be a priority as women are often better than men at managing teams, at building ethical products and at managing risks.

Optimism is your fuel for growth. Stay positive, even when things get tough, and you see no exit in the horizon. Surround yourself with positive people, read inspiring stuff such as the “Power of No” of and the “The Subtle Art of not Giving a F..k”, and don't forget to be grateful and practice meditation every chance you get. Learn to tolerate and ignore pain deriving from the ups and downs of your business, and as the great writer Mark Manson says “when you stop giving a f… about pain you become unstoppable”.

Listen up: Focus on what you're damn good at or what you can become good at. Should you jump on the AI bandwagon just because it's hot right now? Absolutely not. Unless AI is your core expertise, don't get distracted by the shiny trends such as blockchain, AI or machine learning. Become the best at what you do. That's where real value lies and where the 100x could come from.

Stop complaining and start solving problems. Every day, tackle challenges head-on. Take responsibility even when it is not your fault. This builds incremental momentum and shows the world you're a doer, not a talker. You want to be renowned for the person that always delivers.

Don't try to do everything yourself. Delegate, automate, outsource—whatever it takes to get things done efficiently. Use technology to your advantage and stop being a micromanager as this is poisonous and will get you to lose precious staff.

Remember what the legendary Warren Buffett said: “The best investment by far is anything that develops yourself, and it's not taxed at all".

--Warren Buffett

This means spending more time on your reading, studying and specializing. It also means avoiding time wasters and not attending unnecessary meetings. And in the words of Nvidia CEO, Jensen Huang, when asked about his daily tasks, “There’s only one, two, three activities that draw disproportionate value and the rest is just background noise.”

— Jensen Huang

So, there you have it. Sustained success is about focus, perseverance, and a whole lot of hard work. Stay focused, insert yourself where you can have the highest impact, and never stop learning. That are in my view the key actions and the real recipe for making it big.


About the Creator

Andrea Zanon

Andrea Zanon is an international sustainable development and empowerment specialist who has dedicated his life to reducing poverty, promoting sustainability and empowering ambitious people

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    Andrea ZanonWritten by Andrea Zanon

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