Embarking on the road of entrepreneurship can be frightening, uncertain and turbulent — especially at the start. On your journey, it's helpful to have a mental roadmap and to know what to expect from yourself along the way. Nobody is 100% clear and consistent from the onset and you'll naturally have fluctuating states of mind about the whole thing. Author and entrepreneur, Farshad Asl, provides such a roadmap called the "Five Levels of Entrepreneurship" which we will summarize for you here.
Level One: Encouragement
At this stage of your entrepreneurial journey, you're just slightly over the fence and have convinced yourself to leave regular job safety behind. You're feeling a combination of fear and anticipation for what lies ahead and sometimes worry about financial security and whether your plans will work out or not. During this stage, it's important to clarify to yourself why you're doing this.
Develop a clear business plan, start researching and developing marketing strategies, and put the first pieces of the puzzle together. Ask yourself, "Why should consumers be interested in my product?" and "What value can I bring to them?"
Level Two: Engagement
During the engagement stage, you're off the fence and are fully invested in your new entrepreneurial life. However, that doesn't mean that you don't have moments of compromised confidence. Just remember at this stage that a journey is full of highs and lows; rarely does it continue upward in a straight line all the way to the top. But as long as you're continuously striving to reach your future vision and foster a growth-positive mindset, you'll eventually reach your goal. You're making developments every day and are gaining a clearer vision of the task at hand.
Level Three: Established
This is the middle stage of your entrepreneurial journey and you're about to cross the bridge between conceptual and practical. You're experiencing a lot of mental clarity and you're focusing on expanding your network and vision. The more time you spend with a mentor at this stage to soak up any valuable lessons you can, the better.
The next stage awaits you, but passing from level three to level four is the biggest transition on the whole journey. You're already making money at this stage, which is why many entrepreneurs get too comfortable at this level. Don't let your progress stop here.
Level Four: Expert
This is a hard-won level to achieve and it's also the most transformative. At this stage, you're realizing the value of delegating authority to others to free up your own time. You're helping others step into leadership roles and have developed a zest for bringing out the best in people you work with. You're focused on creating new opportunities and can easily catch the attention of investors.
Fully settled into your new life as an entrepreneur, you're helping and encouraging others to do the same. It took a great deal of maturity and flexibility to reach this stage and you're enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Level Five: Entrepreneur
This is the highest level of your entrepreneurial journey and you've broken free from an array of limitations. You're no longer bound by financial difficulties and you'll never doubt your own abilities again. The years of hard work, late nights and the stress of uncertainty have paid off and you're life is everything you dreamed it could be.
The road to entrepreneurial actualization is long and arduous, but with enough confidence, intelligence and perseverance, you'll make it.