4 unconventional strategies to start a business

There is something encouraging about becoming an entrepreneur. Many achieved success by taking unconventional paths.

The road to entrepreneurial success is often long and winding. The problem is that, for many entrepreneurs in their early stages, it can feel like they don't know which steps to take first… or in which direction. Without authoritative guidance or clear instructions, any endeavor – business, personal, relational – feels uncertain at best.

But there is one encouraging thing about becoming an entrepreneur. Many people have achieved success by taking an unconventional route.

If you are in the early stages of entrepreneurship, you may encounter obstacles or adversities on your path to success. This is normal. Don't let it stop you.

Advertising entrepreneur Alan Sussman is an example of someone who took a challenging and unconventional path to success. Listed below are four of the strategies that led him to achieve this. As you embark on your unconventional path, adopt these strategies and know you're in good company.

Sussman fled an abusive home at age 14. As expected, she lived in fear. However, she chose to take advantage of his fears. Instead of giving in, he used fear as fuel to build resilience, determination, and independence from it.

Sussman is in good company when it comes to channeling fear as a success motivator. Popular author JK Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, is known for her story of overcoming adversity. Today she is one of the most successful authors in history. Rowling is an enterprising writer, considering that her books have launched a film franchise and numerous products.

However, when Rowling began writing her world-famous books, she was between jobs and living off government funding. In her speech at Harvard, Rowling told listeners that she owed her success as a writer to the fact that she had realized her worst fears and had built her life on what she called a “solid base” of hitting rock bottom.

Fear is often the best fuel for creativity. Once you recognize that your fears have no power, you free yourself to drive greater creativity and innovation.

Sussman is also one of the surprising number of entrepreneurs who dropped out of college. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and David Geffen of Geffen Records and DreamWorks Studios are in the same boat. Both highly successful entrepreneurs also chose to drop out of college and give up on finishing a degree. Instead, they used their personal experiences, intellect, and creativity to create highly successful companies.

For some, formal education is a wonderful tool and leads to success. However, if you're not sure that education is the right decision for you, don't worry about giving up a degree.

Take time to discover your interests and your passions. Use them as a starting point. Modern technology has made it possible to learn a trade without having to sit in a classroom or spend thousands of dollars on a college degree. Take advantage of opportunities that seem interesting to you and make connections along the way.

Long before Sussman found his way into the advertising industry, he took time to discover his talents and the things that really interested him. After dropping out of college, Sussman even tried skydiving and working in the music industry. It was while he was working writing commercial jingles that he finally realized his passion for marketing. Self-discovery is an important and necessary part of every entrepreneur's development. Too often, we dive into a field or move forward with an idea that doesn't perfectly fit our skills or passions. Thinking critically about what you like to do and the specific aspects in which you excel can help you guide your career. That said, it depends on you having enough self-awareness and flexibility to recognize when something doesn't fit perfectly and be willing to adjust it.

Most of us are familiar with the iconic rounded corners of Apple products. But did you know that this design tweak was one of Steve Jobs' many specific, smart, and innovative preferences? He pushed for rounded corners and today that design has become synonymous with the Apple brand. It's hard to find a more iconic technological design. And Jobs also dropped out of university. Of course, Jobs was known for being pushy… to put it mildly.

When it comes down to it, at least one of the priorities of every entrepreneur should be to push the limits. This means that they will invariably encounter opposition. Whenever you embark on a new path or generate a new idea, know in advance that you will have to be bold to achieve success. Passivity will get you nowhere.

Creativity is at the base of any successful business and is also at the base of overcoming challenges. If you encounter difficulties in your life, be it in your career or personal life, face the problems creatively.

Once you've decided to take the unconventional path, keep in mind that opposition is inevitable, but creativity is integral. Take note of the leaders in your field, follow what works for you, and remember that no two paths are the same.