Anik Singhal is the Founder and CEO of Lurn, Inc. and VSS Mind. He is a hugely successful digital publishing marketer and has won numerous awards and accolades as the best entrepreneur under 25, company of the year and entrepreneur of the year. I initially saw his ad for a free book on Facebook and I being a huge lover of books in general, could not pass it up.

The free book that I received was eSCAPe which outlines the 4 stages of being an entrepreneur – here is what I learned from Anik.

Everyone is born an entrepreneur

If you have ever watched a baby or a toddler, you’ll see what Anik means – toddlers when they try to walk get up, fall, get up and fall, and then try again until they manage to get it. This way of thinking and acting is how entrepreneurs act. But what happens as we grow up? We get told by authoritative figures that there are rules that we have to follow and we have to act and behave in certain ways. The entrepreneurial ‘being’ inside all of us when we are born gets beaten out of us.

There are a number of core differences between entrepreneurs and employees

Employees see time in two different categories: their time (work) and my time (personal). At work, employees spend time working and trading time for money. At home, employees watch TV, shop, go out for drinks with friends – this is ‘my’ time or me time. Employees, as Anik says, typically like to maximize their enjoyment during my time.

Entrepreneurs see time as an investment. In fact, entrepreneurs actually work more hours than employed people but despite working more hours, entrepreneurs are actually happier and feel more fulfilled than the average employee. Entrepreneurs love what they do so much that they choose to do work in their free time.

Time is an opportunity – you need to use it wisely and look at it as an investment so that you can get closer to making your dreams come true.

In fact, employees and entrepreneurs see money, problems, dreams, and their ‘why’ differently.

SCAP – the 4 stages going from employee to entrepreneur

S stands for Self
C stands for Catapult
A stands for Authority
P stands for People

The two e’s are Employee and Entrepreneur (clever right?).

You have to first start with your self when going from an employee to an entrepreneur. You have to understand your current beliefs, mindsets and paradigms. Do you see problems as problems that are insurmountable? Or do you see them as opportunities?

Next, you have to create the foundational skills and take the first steps in order to catapult yourself into entrepreneurship. You have to be accountable (to yourself which is something difficult as anyone trying to keep to a diet or on a fitness plan can attest to). You have to tackle things in small chunks (how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time). You also have to change your relationship and perspective of failure. Failure is not always a bad thing and can help steer you in the right direction if you are in the wrong direction.

In the third stage, Authority, you will start to develop your expertise, authority and leadership skills. Leadership is a skill that everyone, but especially entrepreneurs, have to learn and master. What are the different characteristics of a leader? Confidence, selflessness, duplicating yourself, delegating and communication. An interesting section here is on decision making which ties in with your relationship with risk. We make a lot of decisions on a daily basis and it is quite valuable to improve your decision making and your ‘gut’ as Anik calls it, so that you make better and faster decisions without a tremendous amount of analysis. In addition, risk is not as bad as everyone thinks it is. You can often take calculated risks that do not end up as bad as you think. For example, he talked about the idea of purchasing a building for his new headquarters and after adding up the cost of renting out venues for his events, being able to borrow money, being able to not spend money on a co-working space, the risk of purchasing a building is actually mitigated.

In the last stage, People, Anik says that you need to find the right people to work with to build your business. He refers to Jim Rohn’s you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most and it’s something I believe in too – heck, I think I’m turning into more of a vegan but I haven’t got into gin quite yet from the people that I hang out with the most. What this means is that to get more money, influence and authority, you can work on expanding your network. While he does not give you specifics on how to expand your network, I like the way James Altucher did it in the past – he would write down 10 ideas and send them, for free, to the people and organizations that he respected the most. He would not expect anything in return but he would keep sending these ideas and out of maybe the 10 people that he sent the ideas to, 2 people may respond. He would then cultivate that relationship and use those people to expand his network even further.

I read this book in a few days – it’s an easy read with some fairly actionable advice. I like that it broke down what is needed to become a successful entrepreneur but I can’t say that I learned anything completely mindblowing that I haven’t learned before (though I’m not the right person to talk given that I’m not an entrepreneur…yet). The free book is an interesting marketing strategy though to get you into the sales funnel so that Anik can upsell you into his courses and his lurn website.

What do you think about these stages? Do you think anything’s missing? What is stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur?