Gus Dahleh Shares 6 Steps to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

Gus Dahleh is an entrepreneur from Chicago who is making an impact. From keeping a local Walmart in Rolling Meadows, IL open for 5 more years to helping solve the housing crisis in Southern California, Gus has always been at the forefront of community improvement and giving back. As an entrepreneur for over 20 years, Gus Dahleh has faced his fair share of challenges in the business world. In a time like today, 15% of all US taxpayers are entrepreneurs. As working from home becomes more prevalent in our lives, even more individuals are taking the leap from employee to solopreneur and entrepreneur. 

Entrepreneurs face some of the most difficult challenges in the marketplace, so if you’re just starting out, or need a refresher on solid fundamental principles to help you along your journey, Gus has 6 steps to share with you for becoming a top 1% entrepreneur.

1. Research carefully and thoroughly

Everything in entrepreneurship is based on risk to some degree. You may or may not have what it takes, and if you do, you will need a good product/service that stands out from the rest of the pack. Gus Dahleh advises that when you start developing your product or service, research should be your first step.

2. Work for an employer while you build up capital

If you are a new entrepreneur with limited capital, it is a wise idea to work for an employer while you test your business idea. This gives you money to put back into your business as well as valuable experience working within a company structure. Even better if the person who hired you sees potential in what you are doing and helps mentor growth along the way! Also working for someone else gets rid of day-to-day distractions and the stress of managing a business. According to Gus Dahleh, this will help you manage your time better and more efficiently in order to get the most out of your efforts for your business in the near term future.

3. Get enough capital before quitting your job

Gus Dahleh believes you should have a substantial amount saved up to make sure you can get through the lean times while your business is in its infancy. This capital will help give you that cushion that allows you to focus on building your brand without having to worry about paying the bills each month. Following these steps is how many successful entrepreneurs safely start out with their businesses and minimize their risk.

4. Don’t take chances with borrowed money

Borrowed money has a way of making failure seem much worse than it actually is because now there are other people who are affected by the outcome, not just you. If at all possible, don’t borrow money for your business. If you do, make sure it is from someone who understands the risks involved and is willing to help you succeed to recoup their investment.

5. Always have a Plan B

Life happens, and sometimes growing your business isn’t in the cards no matter how hard you work or how much you want it. Be prepared to walk away with whatever capital you have left over if things don’t go according to plan. This will help keep emotions in check throughout the process of building your company that can add extra pressure when you least need them too. There are many great entrepreneurs who failed more than once before they succeeded in their businesses! 

What entrepreneurs/solopreneurs should expect when starting out in entrepreneurship?

1. Career discomfort – Solopreneurship can be lonely and feel dangerous because you are the only one who has skin in the game.

2. Continuous learning curve – Entirely new domain knowledge to gain e.g., legal compliance, how to run an office, managing people, accounting and budgeting.

3. Biggest job insecurity – You will often have to wear many different hats; companies don’t pay for more than one pair of hands.

4. Influences your life balance more intensely – Many entrepreneurs treat solopreneurship as a way to work more but end up working much harder than they did as employees with such intense work demands that quality time with family suffers.

5. Fewer breaks and benefits – Solopreneurship means you don’t get the Gold watch at retirement or insurance coverage for you and your kids like you do if employed by an organization (although some employers offer flexible benefit plans.)

6. More support needed – Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs need to cultivate a support network (of family and friends) and take advantage of workshops, seminars, conferences.

7. Longer hours expected – It is commonly believed that entrepreneurs work more than 40 hours per week; however, it has been shown that Solopreneurs actually end up working about twice as many hours (80+) compared to the average full-time employee (40).

8. Reimbursement for expenses even if they were paid out of pocket – You’ll find yourself paying for business related expenses before you can write them off your taxes at the end of the year.

9. High risk – Being an entrepreneur means not knowing where your next paycheck will come from and having little in the way of a safety net when things go wrong.

10. Worry about paying the bills each month – Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs need to take two important steps in this regard: creating a contingency fund in case business is slow, and making sure that your lines of credit are not tied to your business. 

It is important to know that entrepreneurship is not an easy feat, says Gus Dahleh, however, this is the most rewarding path to financial freedom and generational wealth for those that are not willing to give up on their dreams. Everyone has it in them to become a successful entrepreneur, so, go put in the work to be great and achieve your success!

About Gus Dahleh

Gus Dahleh is a real estate entrepreneur who specializes in commercial real estate development with a primary focus on distressed assets. Since 2010, Dahleh has acquired over $50 million of commercial real estate assets and entered into long term leases with JP Morgan Chase Bank, AT&T, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and CubeSmart. Gus Dahleh has also developed a niche in the cell antenna industry by selling lease revenue to publicly traded REITS which include American Tower and SBA Communications Corp. Gus Dahleh began his financial markets career as an equity options trader at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. Gus Dahleh has developed proven option strategies for the U.S. 30 Year Treasury Bond and Gold Futures based on seasonal and technical patterns. Gus Dahleh has a proven track record for providing direction on how to maximize the value of the commercial real estate and financial market investments. For more information, visit or follow Gus on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook.


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