Its a Jungle in There book cover

It’s a Jungle in There: Inspiring Lessons, Hard-won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring

Book Author: Steven Schussler

I read this book twice. It’s a Jungle in There truly the book for aspiring entrepreneurs who just started or midway in their journey of entrepreneurship. Although I don’t agree with some ideas in the book, particularly about risking everything (you can start lean) and multitasking (use partnership and outsourcing), I still find it packed with inspiring lessons and hard-won wisdom of the author, that would be very useful to many of us.

My Reading Notes

  • The five Ps of successful entrepreneurship: Personality, Product, Persistence, People, and Philanthropy.
  • Every day in the business world is a new opportunity to grow and learn.
  • Give credit to where credit is due—the fact is, people may work for money, but they live for acknowledgment.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”—T.S. Eliot

  • If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be a risk-taker. You can’t worry about falling. There’s no room for the faint of heart, for the risk-averse player, in the entrepreneurial game. When it comes to your career, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some bumps and bruises along the way, even some ego-crushing and wallet-flattening descents from high places. But there is great reward and satisfaction awaiting the entrepreneur who can handle risk, walk the wire between failure and success, and come out a winner on the other side.
  • The business of hospitality is centered on one’s passions for pleasing people. Passion is the fuel for tenacity, perseverance, and attention to detail that results in this end. It energizes the body and mind to overcome fatigue, fear, and failure. It is the fuel that allows individuals to cope with compelling conditions.
  • One can argue that passion alone is not enough, but to lack passion is to lack a vital ingredient for obtaining compliance and team building and, thus, success.
  • Don’t be deterred by the frequent urge of your peers to “Get a life” or “Take it easy or you’re going to kill yourself “. Life’s great fulfillment exists in the pursuit of achieving… and the endless pursuit is fueled by passion.
  • Being born wealthy hardly hurts a person’s chances of succeeding in today’s competitive world, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient to guarantee success. If you are short on cash but long on ambition, limited in funds but unlimited in your commitment to get ahead and make a name for yourself, you can achieve greatness. Desire beats dollars every day of the week.
  • Being hungry, feeling economically pinched, can actually stimulate the creative juices and fired up a person to achieve more than someone who is financially comfortable and just doesn’t have the same level of need to produce something of significant.
  • Successful entrepreneurship requires both the creation of a valued product or service and its introduction into the marketplace.

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”—Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens

  • An important talent entrepreneurs need to possess is the ability to dream—to see things that others have not yet envisioned. Entrepreneurs must be willing to dream. They must be constantly looking for new ideas, new services, new products, and new angles.
  • Successful entrepreneurs tend to be optimists; they have the kind of “positive thinking” attitude that allows them to dream and not get bogged down by naysayers and doubters who would challenge their inspirations. Entrepreneurs are, in many ways, futurists. That is, they love to live in the future, dream about the future, talk about the future—and they are always urging people around them to do the same.
  • An entrepreneur without something to sell is like a consumer with no money to buy.
  • Many potentially successful entrepreneurs fail because they lack the necessary belief in themselves to push forward with their products or discoveries.

“If you think you can, or you think you can’t… either way, you’re right.”—Henry Ford

  • Creating something that will rock the marketplace is only half the battle; getting the marketplace to take note of what you have achieved is the other half.
  • It’s all about excellence and giving your best, even if you might get away with doing less. Is getting away with less really worth it? Your work is a reflection of yourself, so why would you want to mirror of mediocrity?
  • Always be on the lookout for products or services that people need, and then be prepared to provide those needs in exchange for adequate compensation.
  • Observing your surroundings to see what you can do to make thing better (the enhancement gaps) is a surefire formula for turning a profit.
  • Great ideas, like great wines, need proper aging: time to bring out their full flavor and quality. Rushing the creative process can lead to results that are viable bit below the standard of excellence that could have been achieved had the entrepreneur taken additional time to let her ideas fully ripen.
  • Whether it involves making improvements before and/or after you market your product or service, you should never stop assessing, enhancing, and learning all you can about your creations. It is this knowledge that can help you get ahead and stay ahead: You learn, and you learn, and you learn, and then you die… and when you stop learning, you start dying. So, if you ever think you know it all, you’re on your way out.
  • In the real world where most of us entrepreneurs and independent contractors do our work, taking a personal role in marketing your product effectively is sometimes as important as creating the product itself.
  • If the customer can’t come to you, you go to the customer.
  • The best way to handle budget problems is to keep them from happening in the first place. This feat is best accomplished when both the investor and the entrepreneur are on the same page when it comes to understanding what a project will cost and how the money should be allocated. Have those important conversations about cost and vision early, and make sure you have them often.
  • For projects big or small, what an entrepreneur should avoid doing is reinventing the wheel. Create a win-win business situation where two companies from a strategic partnership that avoids duplication of effort, saves time, enhances marketing potential, and makes money for all concerned.
  • There are many venture capitalists and investors don’t want to go on with the show unless it’s with the specific entrepreneur in whom they have invested. In other words, the person committing his money to a project is as concerned (or more concerned) with who is heading up the project as he is with the project itself.
  • Success in convincing investors to back your project will always be based on two things: (1) their perceived viability of your idea and (2) their impression of you.
  • When someone shows true passion and enthusiasm for an idea, it makes people want to be a part of the vision and makes them more convinced the idea will succeed.
  • The first impressions are often lasting impressions and color any interactions that follow.
  • Many of us dream, yet few of us achieve our dreams. Why? Sadly, it is often because we give up too easily. We accept one setback as a total defeat, break off our pursuit of a goal because we lack the mental toughness to keep going.
  • The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.
  • Life isn’t always scripted. You have to play with what you have, go with the flow. At the end of the day, those who succeed are those who are flexible and can adapt to unanticipated circumstances, and even turn unexpected situations to their advantages. What’s most important is that they are capable of persisting in the face of adversity.
  • Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
  • “No” (rejection) is the contemporary entrepreneur’s constant companion, one has to learn how to deal with it and what steps to take to change no to yes.
  • You can’t be shocked or crushed when you hear the word “no” because you will hear it, no matter how good you are. Coming to an agreement is a process of give-and-take, and “no” is part of that process on the way to “yes”.
  • A first “no” is only a final “no” if you stop asking.
  • Show me an entrepreneur who has never experienced failure and I’ll show you a liar. This is because true entrepreneurship is about taking risks, trying new things, going to places where no one else has ever been—and that entails the opportunity for great rewards, but also the very real possibility of disappointment and failure.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Failure should act as a stimulus, not a paralysis.
  • Giving others the sense you care about them is one of the most important elements when it comes to making a positive impression on them.
  • There are two things people want more than sex and money… recognition and praise.
  • Perception management is about getting people to see you and what you do in a positive light. What you don’t want to do is say things and/or act in a manner that will create negative impressions and the unwanted consequences that are certain to follow.
  • When you’re doing well, keep quiet and don’t reveal the degree of your success to others. Be particularly careful not to boast or brag about how much money you make.

“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”—Zig Ziglar

  • Honesty truly is the best policy. Truth is the gateway to trust. An honest, trustworthy entrepreneur is not always the easiest person to be, particularly in trying times, but is the best kind of person we should all strive to become.
  • People change. Time change. Conditions change. Individuals who hurt you in the past might be able to help you in the future, so don’t be so quick to dismiss them out of hand. Just be a lot more cautious in dealing with them the second time around.
  • Sometimes the desire to burn bridges has to do with ego issues. Don’t fall victim to this danger. Many entrepreneurs have big egos that get in the way of good business decisions.
  • As an entrepreneur, you have an opportunity (even an obligation) to give something back in proportion to what you have received—to be philanthropic as well as profitable.

“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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