As I was reading through the manuscript of A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide on my last solo-writing retreat it dawned on me that there was a skill I assumed everyone possesses. It is critical to being a successful Misfit Entrepreneur. The majority of us develop this skill in childhood, which is why it is easy to take for granted! But about 14% of the adult population in the US cannot do it. And 29% of adults only possess a rudimentary skill set. That’s over 40% of American adults who’s skills are inadequate!
That skill is literacy.
Henry Truman once said, “every leader is a reader.” The corollaries between leadership and entrepreneurship are strong, which suggests that entrepreneurs are readers too. In case you’re still questioning the association, let me give you four reasons why entrepreneurs are readers:
A Journey of Mastery
Entrepreneurship is a journey of mastery. One never arrives at being an all knowing entrepreneur. It is a continuous process of living and learning. The best way to tackle any journey of mastery is to work at it daily. Day in and day out, you have to do things that deepen your understanding of yourself, and business like reading self-help books or business blogs. And applying that knew found knowledge to your efforts.
Entrepreneurs need to stay current or they’ll fall behind the 21st century marketplace. You need to be in the know about industry trends, economic outlooks, new technologies and so much more. You need to be able to educate yourself about these things. To gather input from reputable sources, read it, assimilate it and apply it to your future business plans.
Entrepreneurs need to be able to articulate an inspiring vision that other people connect with and feel called to act on. This means Entrepreneurs must seek out diverse perspectives. Reading is one way to obtain such insights. You can always read books, blogs and articles. But the best reading material here are the remarks you noted from your Customer Discovery process. You must go back, re-read those notes, looks for patterns and apply those insights to your marketing and business development activities.
Engaging in Self-Reflection
Entrepreneurs need to be all in to succeed on their journey. That means being aware of your own thought process so that you may see the patterns you’re stuck in. Doing so enables you to re-adjust and transcend the pattern. Being all in also requires you to think deeply about your goals and aspirations. You need to process and document your ideas. Writing in a journal enables you to think deeply in a safe space. Then, by revisiting your journal musings at a later date, you’re able to assimilate those ideas into real tangibles improvements. The key here is to not only write but to also read your journaling reflections so that you may make progress on this journey of mastery! In other words, there’s a plot twist, one of the most important things entrepreneurs need to read are their own thoughts.
So, there you have it! Literacy is clearly a necessary skill for entrepreneurship, but that doesn’t mean you will always enjoy it. I didn’t. In fact, I was in a remedial reading program in elementary school, an experience that was quite painful as a child. But I have found the benefits of reading outweigh the pain so I have persevered and you can too!
While it might not be easy, it’s never too late to improve your reading skills. So pick up a book that interests you. Starting writing in and re-reading your journal. Find an accountability buddy that you can talk with about what you’re reading and processing. Simply put, dig-in! You’ll be amazed at all the possibilities a good book (possibly your own journal) can reveal for you and your entrepreneurial endeavor.
Let’s do something about the problem, join me to promote entrepreneurship and literacy with the release of A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Business Your Way.