In this blog post, Epidemic Sound CEO Oscar Höglund gives his five best tips to anyone trying to make it as an entrepreneur. Are you one of them? Then this one's for you!
It's been a tough and humbling year. For me personally, it has given me the opportunity to think about my learnings over the years, in general, but in particular about being an entrepreneur. Today I will share my top five tips with you when it comes to being an entrepreneur.
Tip #1: Own your happiness
Own your endorphins. And more specifically: own your happiness. Figure out what makes you happy and optimize for that. It might be big things; it might be small things. When I have a tough problem that I need to crack, I always put on my running gear. Why? Because I know that when I go for a run, that's when I find my happy place. That's when my endorphins start to kick in, when my blood starts to pump, and then there's almost like a moment when I can feel myself getting smarter. Well, at least more inspired.
I always keep a pen and paper with me, and I can stop midway, sweating and panting, and just scribble ideas down. That's how I crack my problems. You can do this structurally as well. For me, I know I'm bad at mornings, so I schedule my meetings for the afternoon. And the longer the week goes by, the better I get. Everyone has their own individual ways to work (or not work!) – lean into that and optimize how you function.
Tip #2: Stand out
Be different! Be very different. Put yourself in a context where who you are and what you do is different from everyone else. I found myself in a position where I was very similar to the rest around me. And not only was the output less but my contribution was also less valued. That made me feel less happy about my work.
However, when I brought myself out of that context and into a new situation where I stood out and could add more value to the table – that's when the magic happened. Not only was the outcome way better, but what was even more important was how I felt. I felt so much more appreciated, and I worked harder since I knew I could add something that none of the others could.
Tip #3: Never be the smartest person in the room
Surround yourself with people who are way smarter than yourself. There's this great expression that I've really come to love, and it goes something like this: "if you ever find yourself in the room where you're the smartest person, you're probably in the wrong room."
I've always made it my number one mission to make sure to hire people who are smarter than I am myself. There are surprisingly few things which I'm quite good at, and then there are remarkably many things which I'm terrible at. To find people who excel in different areas and hire people who can tell me what to do, as opposed to the opposite, it is by far one of the most important decisions that I've ever made for myself. Hopefully, you’ll do the same.
Tip #4: Protect your mojo
That brings us to tip number four, which is: protect your mojo. And look, everyone has a superpower. I'm not the smartest guy in the room, I'm never the fittest guy in the room, but odds are I'm the most optimistic person in the room. Heck, I even have a nickname is Swedish, which means 'the optimist.' That has always been my superpower, but it's not always the case that my superpower is doing well. I have to cherish my superpower and look after it with a vengeance. I take care of it, feed it, and make sure that I put myself in situations where I get to be optimistic or see the optimism of a certain situation and reflect on it.
I know the power of bringing that to a meeting, to a decision, to a challenging period of time – I mean, take the last few months, for example… Everyone has a superpower, and they're all different, but you need to find it and hone in on it. Don't spend time on the stuff that you suck at. There are probably tons of things that you will never be a superstar at, so just let someone else handle them.
Find that one thing that you do really well and supercharge it. Really focus on it. It's going to have a more important impact on your company, your career, and again: on your happiness. Find your mojo and protect it.
Tip #5: Don’t take yourself too seriously
Here we are, tip number five – and it goes like this: take your work seriously but don't take yourself seriously. There's a huge difference. Everyone should feel proud of what they do but yourself as an individual? You've got to make sure you laugh! As an entrepreneur, the hours are going to be long, and the obstacles are going to be huge.
You have to make sure it's fun; for yourself but also for your environment. When we started Epidemic almost twelve years ago, the co-founders had as a specific goal to laugh really hard at least once a day. We would crack jokes at our own expense and on each other's expenses. So take it from me; it's going to be a long, long run, so make sure you laugh along the way. Don't take yourself too seriously. Me? I never do, so I’ll probably go start a fitness vlog or pursue some other crazy idea that perhaps isn't great, but I'm going to try anyway.
Want to join Oscar's journey towards becoming a vlogger? Check out his YouTube channel: Building Epidemic.