How to Become a CEO: 10 Secrets From a Million-Dollar Entrepreneur
There are approximately 200,480 people occupying CEO positions in the United States. While this number sounds high, in the past ten years, it has dropped by an average of around 50,000.
So how do you rise to the top in an increasingly competitive market?
It takes more than just the right qualifications to be a successful leader of a company. Read on as we give ten essential tips on how to become a CEO.
1. Get Educated
It is hard to find a CEO in a modern business that does not have a bachelor’s degree. Of course, it helps if this is in a field related to the industry you are working in, though it is not always essential dependent on your experience and previous occupations.
Many successful company leaders will also have a master’s in business administration or some other secondary degree from a business school. If you don’t have a master’s degree in business, there’s no need to worry. Degree courses are more flexible than ever and can be done part-time or online if you want to conduct one alongside your working day.
It’s also good to note that even though formal education is important, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Skillset and work experience are significant indicators of high-level success. In addition, CEOs usually strive to educate themselves in business. So make sure you read and be willing to absorb new information.
2. Gain Experience
A degree from a prestigious university alone won’t get you a CEO job. After all, several individuals with only a high school degree run some of today’s most successful startups.
Experience is the key to progression and will involve work ethic and determination. Don’t be afraid to put time into further developing your industry skillset. Gain certifications related to your field and diligently complete each task given to you.
Try volunteering to help senior leaders complete tasks. The knowledge board members and executives are invaluable. In addition, participating in projects gives you a chance to shine. It also shows your determination and commitment to the company.
Quality experience will let you practice all the above skills until the ideal position presents itself.
3. Build Strong Communication Skills
Some people have natural communication skills. However, their excellent communication often comes from a persona allowing them to communicate their vision and ideas easily. As a result, they often make it to the top of the corporate ladder.
For others, communication skills take hard work. If you are one of these people, you must master your socialization abilities like any other aspect of your portfolio. While you won’t get a certificate or degree upon completion, you will become a better leader and probably level up a position.
4. Work on Leadership Skills
Just like communication, CEOs must develop leadership skills. So set your growth track long before you start applying to jobs.
Educate yourself on what makes strong leaders. First, read up on what makes successful CEOs and how this manifests in the workplace. Then, put what you learn into practice with more minor roles, increasing and improving your skills as you move up the company hierarchy.
One excellent tip for any prospective leader is to become a servant first. When you go above and beyond for those working around you, they will view you as someone they want to follow.
5. Learn How to Overcome Self Doubt
Self-doubt can seriously impair your decision-making abilities. For example, before Taylor Conroy was a 4x TEDx speaker and the President of Thought-Leader, he was a firefighter riddled with self-doubt. In addition, his student loan debt and a lower income left him feeling hopeless.
One of the biggest fears holding Taylor back from reaching his public speaking goal was that he wasn’t sure if he had the credibility to share his message with others. Taylor thought, “Who would want to listen to a firefighter?”
That talk had an actionable impact on those who saw it. Soon, others were partnering with him to build schools for underprivileged children worldwide. Taylor’s perseverance even lent to him establishing a foundation dedicated to helping poor communities.
It all started by overcoming self-doubt.
6. Chase a Vision, Not Money
Customers and consumers are becoming more socially conscious. They want to know what the day-to-day mission of a company is, how they operate and where your business sits in the wider picture.
As the CEO, you will embody everything your company claims they stand for.
Look beyond money and uncover what you are passionate about. Find companies that align with your personal and socioeconomic goals and work towards a career path in those organizations. Be patient and flexible, and once you find success, the money will follow.
7. Build a Public Persona
There are more ways than ever to build a public persona and market your skills. LinkedIn is one place you could start. Make sure you build a network, post regularly, and create content for the platform.
Giving a TEDx talk or speaking at events are fantastic avenues to build your brand. Not only do they improve your communication skills, but they can position you as an expert in your industry. In addition, you become an authority figure on that topic when you give a talk. Therefore, people will want to hire you or work with you.
8. Leverage Yourself to a Willing Audience
To maximize your impact, make sure you work to leverage yourself to a willing audience.
One way Taylor Conroy managed to find a wider audience was by working with individuals all over the globe. His humanitarian projects gave way to networks and support systems that allowed him to share his message with people who cared to listen.
From there, Taylor started coaching individuals on how to get TEDx talks. His success led to keynote speeches at Disney, the United Nations, Harvard, and Yale. Now, Taylor has thousands of individuals willing to listen to his messages.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Don’t be afraid to fail, as it is essential to the learning experience. Every overnight success is usually years in the making. You may have jobs that don’t work out or projects that go wrong, but each failure leads you to your final goal.
10. Get With the Right Company
While there is some fluidity in companies you work for, many organizations build their vice presidents, board of directors, and highest ranking officers from the bottom up. If you know the type of company and organization you want to work for, it may help to secure a position early.
People who watch you grow in their company will have more of a vested interest in you as a future CEO.
Learning How to Become a CEO
Learning to become a CEO is more than just qualifications, education, and experience. It’s a multi-step process that involves years of work, determination, and diligence. While the journey can be cumbersome, with the right ambition, your goal is achievable
Do you have a message you want to get out to the world? We are a leading entrepreneurship organization that works with individuals across various aspects of life. If you are an entrepreneur or aspiring CEO with a message, contact us and let us help you gain an audience by becoming a TEDx speaker or access the training tools needed to leverage your business forward.