Almost 14% of all adult Americans are in the process of launching a business, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). It is good to see that the American Dream is very much alive, but everyone who wants to set sail for entrepreneurial waters must be prepared for the challenges.

The journey of entrepreneurship is full of enlightening lessons. You can take your business to the next level if you pay attention to them.

Luckily, those who want to succeed in business don’t have to learn these lessons the hard way. Many great entrepreneurs have walked in your footsteps before, and here is what they recommend doing.

Put a Price Tag on Your Time

As an entrepreneur, the greatest resource you have is your time. If you waste it, you won’t be able to get it back. You need to understand the full gravity of time if you want to execute at the top level.

Your business and your life are your top priorities, but they also need to be in line with what you value the most. To look to the future, you need to hustle and grind, true, but you also need to get clear on what your time is worth and what gives life value.

While working with the Shopping Channel, Kevin Harrington, the infomercial pioneer, started applying what he learned from TV to his own personal and business life.

If you can, start monetizing every minute of your day, at least hypothetically, for now. This will help you see how segments of your time are run and it can give you a concrete understanding of how you should value, log, and charge each minute. You will be able to bring the most value to the present moment by making every minute count.

Forget Your Fears

When you come across obstacles and problems, do you dig deeper for a solution or do you give up? Each day, an entrepreneur can be faced with many difficult decisions.

Whether we are talking about insurance, customer service, suppliers, finances—these can all be daunting tasks to deal with.

When we are faced with hiccups, many of us instinctively just want to get up and walk away. It may not seem that obvious, but those are our fears playing tricks on us. To overcome them, you must work on developing a winning mindset and building grit.

Your talents are valuable, but they won’t make you a successful entrepreneur. Your grit will. So, work on your grit instead of your talent. If you rely on your talents too much, you won’t know how to overcome obstacles when you enter new, uncharted waters.

Take the time to deal with the things you have been avoiding. Take a disciplined and systematic approach to battling your fears and weaknesses.

And, to develop a winning mindset that will enable you to overcome everything life throws your way, you can use affirmations and suggestiveness. Simple, positive thoughts can go a long way. Positive breed positivity.

Take it as literally as you can. For instance, you can grab a lucky charm, such as a good-luck feng shui plant or a lucky four-leaf clover, and have it by your side at all times. Little things like that may help you nurture positive thinking.

Find a Mentor

No matter how good a business owner you are, there is always room for improvement. A good entrepreneur has a constant desire for learning. And the best entrepreneurs learn from those who came before them.

Many successful business owners recommend finding a mentor. If you have a supportive and honest critic by your side, going forward is much easier.

However, finding the right mentor takes time. For starters, you can research leading names in your field and learn from them.

Founder of Redpepper, Tim McMullen, did exactly this. He found 10 of the smarter leaders in his industry and studied them closely.

As a result, he made growth and creative coaching an integral part of his business. Later, he went on to win contracts with big names such as Claire’s and Coca-Cola.

Improve the Market

You don’t need to start a one-of-a-kind venture to make a difference. Providing unique services and entering niche markets can help you gain a competitive edge, but they are not the only ways to draw attention to your business.

Instead, look at companies you have a lot in common with. There’s nothing wrong with offering the same services as the competition. But, make sure to compare factors like reliability and quality.

Study them to find better ways of carrying out services or manufacturing products. For instance, you can build upon their methods of delivery, and make it more efficient.

This way, you will improve your business and the market as a whole. If you are certain you can do the job matter, make sure the consumers know that. If you are on to something, your work will speak for itself.

Takeaway

When you make it big, don’t forget to give back. Many leaders speak at seminars or write books to make money. But, you can use your actions for a much greater purpose.

Teach others what you have learned. Every time someone asks you to share your story, use it as an opportunity to enlighten others about the joys and trials of being an entrepreneur.