Success begets success. It has a snowball effect. There is a quote by Samuel Goldwyn, a Polish-American film producer from the 60s, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”.
According to an MIT study, success can change your mind. It can rewire the brain in a neuroplasticity phenomenon. When you get a reward, your brain remembers it and strives for more.
Listening to The Recursive podcast, the “How to multiply success with Vassil Terziev from Eleven Ventures” episode, I mapped a list of success steps for first-time entrepreneurs.
Vassil Terziev is one of the founding fathers of the Bulgarian tech ecosystem. He is one of the founders of one of the most successful IT companies in the country to this date – Telerik. But for the past decade, he has been an active investor – both as a Managing Partner at Eleven Ventures and as an angel investor. Vassil is also a Founding Board Member of Endeavor Bulgaria and has been supporting Bulgaria’s first unicorn – Payhawk from the beginning.
The entrepreneur says that throughout his journey his understanding of success has changed. In the beginning, he envisioned himself retired and “living the good life” in his 40s.
Now, he has the means and is interested in validating the next generation of entrepreneurs to do better and achieve success faster. He works with a bigger purpose and focus.
These are the 10 lessons I drew from his conversation with Irina Obushtarova, the co-founder and CEO of The Recursive.
The first step in Vassil Terziev’s success map, and anything you want to pursue, is education. To become a successful entrepreneur, you have to invest in your studies. No matter your background, gender, or age.
The second step is to allow controlled failure as part of the journey. Keep an open mind; use what resources you have around; test things and yourself. The essence of success is to dream, apply, fail, and learn.
Put aside the victim card – “I didn’t have the resources growing up”, or “I do not know how to do it”. The problem and the solution begin with you. Entrepreneurs are the drivers of change. You have to acknowledge that you control the surroundings. The path to impact is to build confidence in yourself, and others’ trust will follow.
How do you want people to remember you? Keep the answer as a motivator. Remember you have the responsibility to create value. Be diligent about reaching your goals and measuring progress.
#5 “Little wins”
It takes a couple of years for newborns to learn to walk. Give yourself the same timeframe to set the groundwork as well. Go for the “little successes” to reach the big ones.
The success of a company is the sum of its people. Surround yourself with like-minded team members and ask yourself during heated conversations: “Do you want to be right or do you want to do right?”.
“It’s all about working on yourself to expose your strengths and mitigate the weaknesses and doing the same in a team environment where you collectively help each other to make the most out of your talents”, Vassil Terziev shares in the podcast episode.
As an entrepreneur, if you want to be successful, time is of the essence. Ego is the enemy, as the American author Ryan Holiday puts it. You need a competitive angle to foster “the dream big” mentality and confidence, but don’t let it turn into an obstacle. Although the author does have another book titled “The obstacle is the way”, which presents stoic practices, like focusing on what is in your control. Holiday gives examples from Amelia Earhart to Steve Jobs about how a shift in mentality can turn a challenge into an answer.
#9 Enjoy the ride
Tap into technology and build scalable solutions that can impact many. But do it with joy, otherwise, you will not make it in the long run. Entrepreneurship isn’t a destination. It is a journey that will take you through meditative periods interrupted by trying sprints or marathons.
#10 Pass the baton
Vassil Terziev emphasizes the importance of not sitting on your laurels. Rejoice in your successes while moving forward, looking for the next challenge, the follow-up innovation story.
In conclusion, successful entrepreneurs keep a humble card in their rolled-up sleeves. As they are looking toward their next endeavor, they ask themselves: “Where am I going?”, “How can I fix what is not right?”, “Who should I share my knowledge with to make the ecosystem grow?”.