• Alexis Snelling

Trainning 7 Core Entrepreneurial Muscles

How you train entrepreneurs makes a huge difference. Train smarter not harder.

  • Successful entrepreneurs often have an early career accomplishment in the late childhood or teenage years.

  • Young entrepreneurs can start acquiring one of seven core skills.

  • It's never too early or too late to start building your entrepreneurship muscle.

“When I was 12, I wanted to get ballet lessons. My parents could not afford it. However, my mom did not say no. She told me that if I made some money, I could do it. So I started my ’babysitting business’. I put around flyers and started being a hustler the way many immigrants are. I got my ballet classes and maybe one of my most important life lessons.” – Leila Janah, founder of SamaSource and LXMI

What makes successful entrepreneurs the way they are? Are they born or made? The answer seems to be closer to the latter, but that “making” may need to start early on in life.

A common point among pioneering entrepreneurs is a core formative experience of accomplishment that took place between the ages of 10 and 16. An age where inhibiting factors have not yet come into play provides a clean slate for future entrepreneurs to undergo a process comparable to the way athletes build muscle memory. Before the doubt and insecurities of adulthood settle in, most children believe their dreams are completely feasible. Some evidence of success during a person’s formative years plays an immensely important role throughout one’s life.

Experiencing success in the face of uncertainty helps mould the so-called entrepreneurial muscle. Continuing to overcome challenges throughout life builds entrepreneurial muscle memory, or one’s personal database of achievements. The process is stiff and slow at the beginning, but becomes progressively easier with every iteration. Eventually, activities linked to an entrepreneurial skill can be performed without significant conscious effort. That is why entrepreneurs do not even recognize that they have unique entrepreneurial skills; it feels very natural.

A tennis player needs strong shoulders and obliques to execute on a backhand swing. Similarly, an entrepreneur needs a certain set of entrepreneurial muscles that allow them to put their business knowledge and product insights into practice.

The seven core entrepreneurial skills that must continually be trained to optimize entrepreneurial health and performance are agency, awareness, communication, Networking,Problem solving, resilience, and resourcefulness

1. Agency: closely linked to self-efficacy; tendency to take action, initiate and execute. Abby Falik, Founder & CEO of Global Citizen Year, had important formative experiences that taught her about goal-setting and execution. At a very young age, she sold her father’s neckties door to door. Abby explains, “Once I experienced successfully going from idea to reality, I had the confidence that I can figure anything out. Once a young person knows their power, there is no going back.”

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

This is why our innovation platform creates an action oriented environment that reinforces taking action via tasks, initiate experimentation via safe collaboration circles, and report to the founder's .Live data vault. Seems obvious but to the rest of the startup world in Silicon Valley they are still teaching out of decade old "play books". Just do a quick start up playbook search and see how the ecosystem is not empowering their entrepreneurs with agency. They are actually empowering founders with "imposture syndrome" by dictating to founders what to do next or encouraging founders to copy the most recent unicorn in the press.

2. Awareness: the ability to spot opportunities worth pursuing, with a capacity to focus and eliminate the noise from the signal. Costa Michailidis, Co-Founder of Innovation Bound, grew up in a family construction company, doing renovations of luxury apartments in New York under his father's watchful gaze. His father made certain to turn every mistake into a learning opportunity. "Think!" he'd say sternly. "Why are you doing that, and what is supposed to happen next that you're forgetting?" Costa learned how to anticipate people's needs, and the complex relationships and dependencies of individual tasks in the larger context of a project.

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

We take a "founder's first" approach our innovation platform begins with where the founder currently is on their journey. By continuously updating their experimentations, and reporting into their private data vault the founder is only show the most relevant resources to help them in REAL TIME. We call this the user initiated beacon for help or information. It's even more advanced than just asking a question. Founders already know how to "google it". so we provide an extra layer of expert guided questions that are choreographed to ask the founder at critical moments on their journey to assist. Blinders are on but experts are also asking the questions that the founders may not know to ask yet. Our unique combination of blinders on and chose your own adventure with expert assists is way better than going down any youtube rabbit whole to figure out a solution solo.

3. Communication: the ability to get ideas out of one’s mind and into the minds of others with as little loss as possible. Nancy Lublin, CEO and Co-Founder of Crisis Text Line, experienced a sense of accomplishment through honing her communication skills growing up. She explains, “I did high school debates and developed the most important skill an entrepreneur can have. If you are too wordy and unclear, you cannot convince other people. Especially when it is a new idea.”

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

This is the end goal of communication but to get to this clear and concise point takes lost of failed attempts. Our safe and secure circles with fellow founders who are also improving on their communications, pitches, and sales processes are auto matched together based on their current start up needs. Chat circles provide these safe zones to practice, provide feedback, and help each other communicate. Trial and error of explaining what you are doing to someone outside of your industry who doesn't know as much as you is a highly valuable resource. Finding that circle of people can be difficult in large communities. Discussion topics are auto assigned to founders and naturally create rooms where these can organically and safely take place.

4. Networking: the ability to build and maintain authentic, mutually enabling relationships. John Harthorne, Founder of MassChallenge, finds his experience of running a school project to be the best skill-building exercise. As he puts it, “I had to learn how to motivate a team of 30 volunteers. I understood that people are not inherently transactional; we are all trying to believe in and create something. The experience helped me understand how to motivate a team through a mission rather than solely payment.”

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

Networking works in a variety of ways on our innovation platform. There's networking based on a specific need or task, event or resource, and also across other communities via our .Live flows. Most networking pre-COVID was 1-to-1 and in person, often limiting networks to those you know or had access to in the ecosystem. Now we have laid the infrastructure with our white label so that these same introductions and networks can connect in real time and max their network impact at scale. No longer do you have to wait for the next networking event or expo. to expand your reach and why would you when this is better.

5. Problem-solving: application of creative and analytical skills to address complex, multifaceted problems. Ohad Elhelo, Co-Founder of Delegate and Founder of Our Generation Speaks, had to overcome multiple roadblocks before reaching adulthood. “My formative experiences helped me understand that you cannot see the obstacle overshadowing a solution when you are so emotionally invested in it. I learnt how to create some distance and get to the root cause of what is really intimidating me when facing a complex issue. That helps objectively assess a situation and tackle the relevant factors causing the problem at hand.”

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

Throw back to the very first muscle of agency, accelerators telling founders how to solve it doesn't help founder's learn how to solve complex problems. By providing the founder with the tools in real time and additional data to empower their next move rapidly improves their trial and error problem solving skills. By connecting to better data, more aligned resources founders have increased opportunity to solve the world's most complex problems.

6. Resilience: the ability to delink rejection with failure. Tracey Durning, a systems entrepreneur and founder of numerous social enterprises including Aligned Intermediary, practiced resilience growing up. “I have always gone after things with a lot of conviction and passion. So early on, even though I did not know what I was doing or how I would accomplish something, I would get started, mess up, and just keep on trying. It taught me that for the 99 times I miss, I will eventually get it right.”

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

Our innovation platform helps eliminate unnecessary misalignments that are often the source of rejection. Founders are surrounded with the ongoing support system to build them up and be more resilient as they are no longer alone in growing their startups. Whether it's peer-to-peer feedback, expert guided questions or simply not feeling alone all activities are there to strengthen their awareness and resilience.

7. Resourcefulness: the capacity to breed imaginative solutions in an environment infused with constraints. Brenden Millstein, Founder of Carbon Lighthouse, started flexing his entrepreneurial muscle when he had to practice creativity arranging gigs for his jazz ensemble when 15. He continued using his resourcefulness muscle as he went into college: “I was breakdancing in college and wanted to open for a Busta Rhymes concert in Boston. Raphael, my co-founder at Carbon Lighthouse, helped me find the person managing the show, and I shared that I ran the best breakdancing crew in Boston. Jack, who was running the show gave us a 10-minute audition. Then I called the actual best breakdancers in Boston and told them they should join my crew since we had an audition with Busta Rhymes. They did join. And we opened the show.”

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

The world provides the limitations and we connect the founders with the tools available. We simply put the tools and resources in front of the founder to give them the opportunity to see all the possibilities, feel supported to experiment and try new things, and share learnings along the way that become more tools they can employ creatively. WeTransacts provides a secure, zen, supportive space to let the founder focus on the task at hand and get creative their entrepreneurial muscles get creative.

Your entrepreneurial muscle memory Star entrepreneurs experienced a personally important accomplishment early on. However, in the same way you do not need to be a star athlete to run your first 5K, even as an adult, you can start flexing your entrepreneurial muscles by starting small.

Get yourself out of your comfort zone and start building the muscle memory that will make it easier to take the leap when needed.

Share License and Republishing Written by Bozhanka Vitanova, Global Shaper, Boston Hub, Brandeis Innovation Center The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

How WeTransact's trains this muscle

Added 9/29/21, Written by

Alexis Snelling, CEO WeTransact.Live

The seven core entrepreneurial skills that must continually be trained to optimize entrepreneurial health and performance are agency, awareness, communication, Networking,Problem solving, resilience, and resourcefulness.

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All