Being an entrepreneur can mean different things to different people. In broad terms, it is a person who runs their own business, usually taking reasonable risks in doing so – in terms of money, time, or effort. However, an entrepreneur is much more than this abbreviated definition, and real mastery of the business often requires a solid understanding of what is known as the “entrepreneurial mindset”.
To better understand this concept, we turned to the work of Jesse Willms, the well-known e-commerce entrepreneur who made a career in mastering this mindset. Investigating how he did it offers a great deal of wisdom to those who wish to follow in his footsteps.
Jesse Willms prioritizes learning
An important pillar of the entrepreneurial mindset is the pursuit of knowledge. Successful entrepreneurs are usually people who have fully internalized the value of learning at such a deep level that it is an integral part of their worldview. A person with this attitude will identify gaps in their knowledge base and actively seek to fill those gaps. This is in contrast to someone who sees such a void and believes that there is an overly difficult obstacle between them and the ability to educate in that space.
We don’t have to look closely at Jesse Willms’ life to vividly manifest this idea, as this was an important early part of getting him on his way into the business world. The beginning of this journey came when he was still a teenager looking for a direction for his life. He tried to deal with a few different disciplines before entering the business world, which was then instantly aligned with his goals and disposition.
With this initial interest as a starting point, the young entrepreneur threw himself into the field and began to focus on training in space. He read voraciously to accomplish this pursuit – it included piles of memoirs and business texts that would give him a solid foundation in his career. Drawing lessons from the examples of some of the world’s greatest businessmen, he began to wonder how he could apply those lessons to some of the problems facing modern society.
A knack for problem solving
The way in which the young entrepreneur aligned his knowledge base with the search for problems speaks for another key aspect of the entrepreneurial mindset. This part of the mindset focuses on the ability to solve problems, which is a core tenant of the business. In fact, in many ways it is primarily about identifying problems and finding compelling solutions to alleviate them. Often times, when one company is able to solve a problem better than others, consumers flock to the solution and become customers of the company. This allows effective problem solvers to rise in the business world, while executives lacking in this area may struggle to gain a foothold in space.
Embodiment of this aspect of the entrepreneurial mindset usually requires an innate curiosity that arises from the knowledge that an entrepreneur is constantly trying to gather. The more an entrepreneur learns about the world around them, the more aware they become of potential problems that may need to be resolved. This enables them to break new ground in their field, develop new solutions and better embody the core of what it means to be a successful entrepreneur.
Critical thinking according to Jesse Willms
Of course, there is a huge difference between identifying a problem and successfully solving it. The history of the business is littered with inventions that claimed to have solved a problem but were in some way missing. This brings us to another key component of the mindset that successful entrepreneurs typically display – critical thinking. Critical thinking is different from just being able to identify and solve problems. Instead, this style of thinking goes to the heart of a problem and focuses on the nature of the problem, the need for a solution, the solutions developed in the past, and much more. Basically, the pursuit of critical thinking is a question-based method of researching a topic. By asking questions and reviewing the answers, a business owner can get a better understanding of the task at hand.
The latest work by Jesse Willms provides a great example of how critical thinking can manifest itself in the real world. The entrepreneur recently set up a network of websites designed to provide free vehicle history reports to consumers looking to purchase a used vehicle. This quest grew out of an intense process of questioning existing practices in the market and seeking a better understanding of how consumers typically make vehicle purchases.
This mindset has enabled the business owner to understand some of the key issues that make buying a used vehicle difficult (lack of information) and some of the barriers that stand in the way of solving those issues (high cost of vehicle history reports). Out of this endeavor, the entrepreneur worked on creating a new offer that would solve the problem of expensive vehicle history reports by making them available free of charge and recouping income through sponsorship and advertising. This shows how a curious problem-solving process that focuses on critical thinking can fuel a range of entrepreneurial endeavors.
The power of perseverance
The example of the CEO’s recent endeavors also helps highlight another aspect of the entrepreneurial mindset – persistence. Although he’s already made a name for himself in the e-commerce space, starting a company with hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, he continues to innovate and solve problems to this day. This speaks for his innate endeavor to stick to one focus in the long term and to constantly develop new and creative ideas.
This initiative can be applied to entrepreneurs at any stage of their own journey – whether they’re just starting out or have a litany of successes to show for them. Perseverance not only allows entrepreneurs to work on an idea until it reaches its full potential, but it can also withstand failures and grow during its trials and difficulties.
An entrepreneurial mindset can be an integral part of a person’s journey into the business world. At a high level, it consists of a propensity to learn, problem solving, critical thinking, and perseverance. While these ideas can seem a bit abstract at times, the above examples from the work of Jesse Willms can help illustrate this mindset in action. While there are certainly other components that go into an entrepreneur’s job, cultivating this mindset can be a key factor for success in a wide range of business activities.