The other night I was watching an amazing show (if you haven’t had the chance to check out “The Handmaid’s Tale”, do it!), and one particular line about being brave got me thinking. Don’t worry, I don’t do spoilers so you can read on if you haven’t yet watched the show (but seriously, add it to your Hulu watchlist asap!)
During the episode I was watching, one character referred to a group of people who takes risks as brave or stupid. This got me thinking (as this show so often does).
The BS Factor
As entrepreneurs we are often looked at as brave, stupid, or even both. This is because we are constantly taking risks. And, whether you’re an entrepreneurial Maven, or newer to the self-employed scene, it’s really important to ask yourself if you are being brave or stupid. And you should ask yourself every single time you are about to take a risk.
We like to call this “The BS Factor.” Any time you are taking a risk in your biz, you can cut through the BS and get to the point by simply asking “am I being brave or stupid?” But what exactly is the difference between being brave and being stupid?
You are Brave
You are brave when you do your research before jumping in head first. Before you enter into a new business venture or launch a new product, you’ve really narrowed in on your target audience. You’ve taken the time to consider their pain points. You understand the important balance between risk and reward. Sure, sometimes you have to take big risks to get big rewards, but they are calculated risks. You have a game plan. You have a plan B (because plan A almost never goes perfectly).
You are always seeking to learn and grow. You are flexible. You are clear on your goals. You are intentional.
You are Stupid
As entrepreneurs we often mistake risk taking with bravery. But sometimes, taking a risk is just plain stupid. This is the case when you impulsively take a risk based on your “gut” or what the universe is telling you and you fail to do proper planning and research. You are being stupid when you decide to launch a new biz venture or product without researching your target customer. And you are being stupid when you jump blindly into something that’s “too good to be true” because it usually is.
You Can Be Brave
The truth is that big rewards take hard work. They take forethought. They take planning. And yes, they take risk. But if you make sure that you are being brave, and not just stupid, you can greatly increase your chance of success.
Here are some tips to make sure you’re being brave when you take your next risk:
- Do your homework. You would not believe how many people have an idea, and they run with it. And they don’t take the time to do their research. And their ideas almost always fail. For example, if you are considering becoming a dog walker, you would want to ensure you are located in a market with many people who own a dog and have a career that takes them out of the house for long hours on a regular basis. The need for a dog walker would not be as strong in a market with a lot of work-at-home folks. You can be offering the absolute most amazing product or service in the world. But if you aren’t offering it to the people who need it, it won’t sell. So it’s really important to do your homework before you take a risk.
- Consult a mentor. It is always good to have a mentor. This may come in the form of a business coach, or it may come in the form as a colleague or friend. But this should always be someone that you respect, and someone who already is where you would like to be. That’s worth saying again. When you choose a mentor, choose someone who already is where you would like to be. That means they have already achieved success, they don’t just talk about it. They have tangible advice and are honest. And they don’t tip toe around your feelings at the risk of your growth. They can help you determine if you’re being brave or just stupid.
- Have a plan. Entrepreneurs are, by far, the most impulsive people I’ve ever met. (And I have a son with ADHD). They are also the most creative, amazing, geniuses too. It’s so heart-breaking to see an amazing idea implemented impulsively with little to no planning. Because these amazing ideas, rarely come to fruition. But, with just a little planning (and flexibility) these ideas could have HUGE success. For example, we’ve seen far too many clients say “I want to launch this product in 2 weeks.” They launch without doing the proper prep and their launch fails. Every time. If they would just make a plan with a more realistic time line including all of the vital components of a launch, they would succeed.
Are you brave, or are you stupid?
If you’d like help cutting through the BS and getting brave, schedule a free consultation call today: www.intentionalfate.com/calendar