Ascending From Entrepreneur To Leader

Aaron Hoos

For years I wanted to be an entrepreneur. To me, that meant owning my own business and doing my own thing; not having to commute to a company and work for “the man”. (Truth be told, I’m just not wired to thrive in that kind of environment).

But building a business was hard. I struggled, failed, then tried again and figured it out…

… to a point.

Problem was, years down the road, I found myself in a different place: I was successful by some measures but also struggling by other measures: I began to discover that I was the bottleneck in my own business. I was hitting a ceiling because I was trying to do it all.

So I specialized, starting more focused companies like Real Estate Investing Copywriter.

Later, I built systems to help me create better content and serve more clients faster.

Later, I started building replicatable, duplicatable products and commoditized services that allowed me to shorten the timeline between client acquisition and deliverable.

Later, I started building a team—first an assistant and then writers, even going so far as to create what might be considered an agency.

Although my goal has always been to be a business owner and entrepreneur, I realize that I’m ultimately becoming a leader:

  • A leader in the industries I serve: by being a thought leader and influencing brand
  • A leader for my clients: by helping clients elevate their knowledge, make decisions, and see results
  • A leader of people: by building a team and providing them with an income while having an impact
  • A leader of innovation: by leveraging what I know and do to create new opportunities for my clients and team
  • A leader of the future: I lead my industry, my clients, and team, toward a bolder, brighter future

It’s a journey for me. If you’d asked me years ago if I thought I would be a leader, the answer would be a resounding no… simply because the only thing I wanted was to be a self-employed writer.

But I realize now: that “self-employed writer” was just step 1. And since that realization, I’ve been on a path of ascension and am constantly learning to embrace my new role as leader.

Want to make the same ascension yourself? Make this simple change to your thinking to get you moving in this direction: Find more people to rely on you. Whether it’s the industry at large, your clients, or your team; build a business that compels other people need to rely on you for your expertise, skills, compensation, etc. It’s weird; there’s not a “thing” you need first before becoming a leader, just build a business that gets people to rely on you.

SUMMARY

When I was “just” a self-employed writer, my job was to wake up each day, sit down at my computer, and writer. Today, as a leader of my industry, clients, people, innovation, and the future, my job is much different: I must constantly build; growing my knowledge, authority, and business to fulfill my role as a leader.

It’s a higher level and a bigger challenge but if I want to take part in a bigger and more opportunitistic future, being a leader is the only way.

The Manifesto Of Hard (6/31) — Break It Into Simple Steps

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

Why do people avoid hard things? I think there are 2 reasons:

First, the risks seem too high.
Second, the achievement of whatever the hard thing is seems too daunting.

Given those two challenges, people avoid hardship and default to the easier path.

But the hard thing is often the better thing.

I’ve already talked about how to deal with the risks when facing hardship. But what about the second aspect—achieving the daunting hardship?

The simple solution is also the most profound (yet most people make it more complicated than it needs to be). Simply put: break the hardship down into specific parts, and keep breaking it down into you end up with the simplest steps.

I’m not a football fan but I’m inspired a football coach who coached his team to victory by turning the chaos of sport into discrete and controllable steps. What the coach’s and team’s success revealed was: You can’t control everything but you should identify what you can control and control it.

This valuable strategy works day-in and day-out, regardless of the depth or complexity of the challenge that faces us.

When you’re faced with hardship, what can you control?

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)

The Manifesto Of Hard (5/31) — Embrace Calculated Risks

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

When you look at opportunities, challenges, or situations that seem hard, it’s natural to view only the costs, problems, and challenges. The problem is, the weak person and ineffective entrepreneur gets overwhelmed by those risks and can’t move forward.

But stepping up to tough challenges means accepting that there will be risks. You can’t get away from those.

The smart entrepreneur steps up anyway and embraces the risks—in a calculated way—to do the hard thing anyway.

When you face risks, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are all the possible risks?
  2. What is the likelihood of each happening?
  3. How do I turn as many of those risks as possible into advantages?
  4. How do I eliminate as many of those risks as possible?
  5. How do I prepare for any of the risks that may remain?

By asking these questions, you proactively face risks while meeting any hardship head-on.

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)

The Manifesto Of Hard (4/31) — Embrace Change

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

I’m fascinated by change: it’s a constant in life yet so many people work so hard (consciously and unconsciously) to resist change under the notion that change is hard. I used to feel that way too. I thought the ultimate life was one of stasis and I was frustrated by the amount of change in my life and the losses of relationships and opportunities that resulted.

Fortunately, at some point, I realized that change is a constant in life, and it’s good. I also realized that if I could embrace change, it would help me meet new people and get new opportunities that others wouldn’t get because they were afraid of change. It’s a trade-off, for sure, but I feel like I’ve come out ahead because of it.

If you want to create a richer life of more memorable experiences and a greater variety of people and opportunities, embrace change. Discover the power and beauty of newness even when you struggle with the discomfort of unpredictability.

Want to get really practical? Go a different route to work tomorrow. Order something different at a restaurant. Spend the evening doing something you’ve never done. Go for a weekend getaway to a small town you’ve never been to before.

… Start small and introduce little opportunities for change in your life and see where it takes you.

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)

The Manifesto Of Hard (3/31) — Learn

This post is part of a series of posts based on my Manifesto Of Hard. If you want to create change in your life, embrace hardship and thrive in it. That’s what I’m studying this month, and this post shares some of those findings with you…

This is probably my favorite aspect of hardship: learning.

I’m insatiably curious and always want to learn something new. But, over the years, that learning has moved from a passion for theoretical information to practical/applicable/experiential learning. In other words, I don’t want to just read something in a book, I want to be wrestle it to the ground.

Hardship has a lot to teach us… about ourselves. I think that’s why I love it. It’s easy when things are easy but when things are hard, that’s when you learn the truth about someone—about how they think, how they act, how they react. I haven’t always liked how I’ve thought, acted, or reacted when things have been challenging so I intentionally create more challenges now, in controlled circumstances, to perfect my thought processes, actions, and reactions.

I think back to times like: when I’ve been robbed and assaulted, when I bought a house in a different country, when I was stranded in a snowstorm on a mountain road. These and other circumstances have revealed the best and worst aspects about myself and I try to reflect on them afterward to become a better person.

The most practical advice I can give you is: do something challenging then reflect on it afterward. Pick something that is possible but challenging and try it. Maybe ramp up your workout or take a huge hike this weekend that pushes what you think you can achieve. See what happens. Do you get bored? Do you give up easily? Do you push through and discover inner reserves?

(See the original Manifesto Of Hard and check out all related posts about the Manifesto Of Hard.)