ENTREPRENEURSHIP. What is it? I have been pondering on this question for the past few months and have come to this conclusion: entrepreneurship is a system of thinking.

Our challenge is that we have long since thought about entrepreneurship in the context of a profession. We think of it as something we do. So we idolise people that have done well in entrepreneurship and we demonise those that enjoyed support and benefit of the past – especially in South Africa.

We also find very good reasons for why we are not creating sustainable and high impact entrepreneurs: Education, lack of financial support, poor access to the ecosystem of finance, lack of skills. The list is endless.

The thing is this: for true entrepreneurs these are not hurdles but are the very reason for the opportunity.

With this in mind, these are three secrets to becoming an entrepreneur:

1. Think different

My family buried my uncle this past Saturday. After the funeral – as people engaged with each other after the tears – about four young boys all under the age of 10 approached me and asked me for some money to buy sweets. I agreed on one condition. I challenged them to raise R5 from another adult at the funeral and that I would meet them one-for-one on what they raised.

They approached several people and about an hour later returned with R5 in hand. They learnt an important lesson: think how to help yourself first and then seek assistance.

When you’re thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, you must first seek to prove that you are a worthwhile investment. You must first prove that you are resourceful.

2. Think practically

So I asked the boys, “what are you going to do with that money?” and when the answer was “sweets”, I set them another challenge. I told them to take the money, buy the sweets, go to their friends playing at the park and sell them the sweets. We agreed on a price per unit and the margin spread. They disappeared and came back two hours later with R25 in hand.

Honest. I was so proud I could have kissed them.

So they started with nothing, raised R5, received a snigger R5 investment, bought stock and traded to a net position of R25 in hand.

This is entrepreneurship. Without using fancy spreadsheets or power points, use systems of thought that can be applied for value creation.

You don’t need funding to start. You need to start now and then later raise funding for growth.

3. Think now

Maybe people ask the question, “when should I start trading?”

There is no such thing as the right time to start. Entrepreneurship is less about timing and more about will and discipline. Yes. Timing is important. But even more important than timing is action.

When should you start? Right now. Even if you do it part time, do it.

* Vusi Thembekwayo is a business speaker who runs a business to finance high-growth entrepreneurs with growth capital. “We insist that they must be trading, must be full time in their business and most have at least a single year financial track record,” he says. If you are that kind of entrepreneur, visit www.mygrowthfund.co.za