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How To Be An Entrepreneur: Become Your Own Boss

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: March 18, 2021

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: March 18, 2021


Many people are attracted by the prospect of becoming an entrepreneur. You get to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and call all the shots. What’s not to love?

In actuality, being an entrepreneur can be very demanding, but still a highly rewarding career option. There are a lot of things that go into entrepreneurship, so make sure you have tons of passion, drive, and patience before you jump headfirst into building your own business.

If this career path sounds exciting to you, then you might be wondering how to be an entrepreneur. While it can be a long journey with a lot of different surprises along the way, there are still some basic steps you should follow. Keep on reading to find out more about how to be an entrepreneur.

woman holding a mug that says “like a boss"
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

What is an Entrepreneur?

The word entrepreneur seems to be getting thrown around a lot lately, but what is it really? Is every business owner, freelancer, or self-employed worker an entrepreneur? Well, not necessarily.

The term “entrepreneur” comes from the French word meaning “to undertake.” This implies that there must be some sort of challenge or risk that a person undertakes in order to become an entrepreneur.

In other words, entrepreneurs take risks having the ultimate goal of turning a profit. Of course, profit isn’t the only goal or even an entrepreneur’s main motivation, but it does mean that they’re often searching for financial investments.

An entrepreneur is also interested in making a long-lasting business that will still generate income even when it’s not actively being worked on. For example, a website that still makes money even if the owner takes a vacation. The paycheck is still coming in even though the entrepreneur isn’t spending any time on their business.

Is Being an Entrepreneur Right for You?

While it may seem like an attractive lifestyle, becoming an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. Entrepreneurship requires certain character traits, for example, the ability to be patient and to take risks.

Aside from that, entrepreneurs also enjoy being independent. This doesn’t mean just being your own boss or taking time off whenever you want, but also means you’re the main person making all the big decisions and that any risk you take is solely your own. You have to be ready to take the responsibility that comes with your employment independence.

When it comes to money matters, entrepreneurs are usually very good at managing their finances. They’ve learned how to be frugal and spend their hard-earned paycheck on things that really matter and that will propel them forward in the creation of their business. They prefer saving money over spending it. Managing your personal finances is a key first step in managing a business’s finances, so this is an important habit to get into early on in your life.

man on the phone walking by a wall that says “productivity
Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash

How to Be an Entrepreneur: Step-by-Step Guide

There’s no one all-encompassing guide that can teach you exactly how to become an entrepreneur. Your path might differ significantly based on your industry, experience, and many other factors.

Still, there are a few steps that you can take that are a part of almost everyone’s entrepreneurship journey.

Here are seven steps to help you become an entrepreneur:

1. Find the right idea

Almost anyone can become an entrepreneur with an idea, but to become successful, you need an absolutely killer idea.

How do you come up with a unique and marketable idea to base your business on?

For starters, talk to people and understand where they struggle. By understanding common pain points between a group of people, like other businesses, students, parents, or any other group, you can start to think of solutions in the form of a business idea. You can also look to other startups to inspire your ideas and guide your decisions.

2. Get the right education

Before going any further, you need to be sure you have the right education to be able to work on your business. A great idea is a good beginning, but how will you put it into action without the tools to do so?

Look at taking a few business-related courses, or even an entire degree if you think it’s necessary. That being said, you don’t absolutely need a degree or a high level of education to become an entrepreneur. There are many successful entrepreneurs who dropped out of school or didn’t get a higher education and still struck it big. Still, investing in your education can never hurt.

If you’re already working, you might want to consider doing a degree online so that it can be done more at your own pace. University of the People offers an online business administration degree that can help you on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur. The university also offers a potential certificate program in entrepreneurship.

3. Identify an unsolved problem

As we mentioned earlier, part of your ideation stage is identifying a solution to a problem that people have. There’s a lot more to it than just creating a simple solution. You want to find an underserved niche where there’s enough demand, but not enough supply.

A good entrepreneur can see gaps in the market and fill them with their own business ventures. This is why networking is so important. Not only is it ideal to have a vast network of people to reach out to in order to grow your business, but you can use this network to pick up on gaps and understand what solutions would be helpful to a wide group of people.

4. Do your market research

As with any business, you need to do some research before you put anything in motion. Start with researching your selected niche to see what’s already been done, look into any potential competitors, and conduct surveys to see if the product or service you plan on developing has enough interest.

Part of your market research should also be creating a buyer persona. A buyer persona will help you understand your ideal customer base. You’ll create a fictional customer that you can use when making business decisions or planning marketing strategies.

5. Make a business plan

One crucial step to becoming an entrepreneur is creating a business plan. Here, you’ll outline your ultimate goals so that you always keep them in mind when moving through different stages of growing your business.

You should also include your company’s vision, mission, and long-term goals. Additionally, you can also plan your budget, marketing strategy, set milestones, identify what resources you’ll need, and set a timeline for each stage of developing your business.

6. Raise money

Armed with a good idea, strong research, and a solid business plan, you’re ready to walk into a room of investors and pitch your idea. Most entrepreneurs don’t have the money to fund their own ventures, so you’ll likely need to look for outside funding to bring your vision to life.

Ideally, you’ll probably secure different rounds of funding based on large milestones or what level your company is at. Startups will often go through multiple rounds of funding whenever they want to grow their business, start a new project, or onboard more employees.

7. Grow your business

Your journey as an entrepreneur is never over. You’ll always want to focus on ways to improve and grow your business. At the start, you’ll want to scale up your business to increase the number of employees you have so that you can accomplish more.

Eventually, you might have your eye on bigger prizes, like expanding into new markets, acquiring other companies, or perhaps even getting bought out by a larger corporation.

To Wrap Up

By now, you should have a better idea of how to be an entrepreneur. As you can see, it’s not a quick “get rich quick” route, but one that requires a lot of dedication and effort.

At University of the People, we encourage our students to pursue entrepreneurship and think outside the box.

Our business administration degrees offer the right tools and education you’ll need to start your journey as an entrepreneur. The best part is that all of our degrees are tuition-free and entirely online, so you can even continue working towards your business while earning a degree!

At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.