This morning I received an email newsletter with the subject line, “You’re not an entrepreneur.” Since I think we all know that I am definitely an entrepreneur, I was curious about what nonsense might be inside. So I opened it.

Inside that email was an article about how one of the “Shark Tank” judges told a woman that she isn’t an entrepreneur because she had this great product idea, but no funding to pursue it, therefore, even though she’d gotten orders for the product, she had never even written up the orders, because she couldn’t fulfill them.

The article went on to say that the Shark Tank judge was right, that this woman wasn’t an entrepreneur, and listed all the reasons why she wasn’t and listed the characteristics of what a “real” entrepreneur is.

This article made me angry.

You are an entrepreneur.

See this guy? He has an idea and he’s an entrepreneur. So are you.

You ARE An Entrepreneur.

I admit it: I didn’t see the show. I don’t watch Shark Tank, for a long list of reasons. But hearing about this episode reinforced that I’ve made the right decision all along not to watch this show.

For a successful person—a woman, at that— to tell a woman with a good idea that she’s not an entrepreneur simply because she doesn’t know what steps to take…that’s degrading and unfair.

It’s Okay If You Don’t Have All The Answers.

Nobody knows all the answers in business. Not Barbara Corcoran, not the guy who claims to make millions online working from home, and not even me (hee!) No successful entrepreneur has all the answers now, and I guarantee you that none of them had the answers when they were starting out.

Plenty of entrepreneurs flounder at the beginning. Success isn’t about whether you have questions, self-doubt, or wonder how the heck to do it all. It’s about whether you are able to find the right resources and figure out where to get the answers you need.

Not knowing which steps to take doesn’t mean you’re not an entrepreneur.

You Can Learn What Comes Next.

Holy smokes, guess what? You can learn how things work. You can learn what steps to take. So just because you might not be “in the know” right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to craft a marketing plan and leverage that marketing plan to seek financing for your business. Yes, that’s right, you can figure it out.

What I Wish Had Happened on Shark Tank

Like I said, I didn’t watch the show and this is all entirely third-hand. But what I wish happened on Shark Tank (and maybe this did happen—again, I didn’t see it) was that the woman “shark” had taken the woman entrepreneur under her wing and helped her, told her what the steps were, etc. and then shown her how to do it all. Unfortunately, Shark Tank is an interesting show, but not a show that seems to lend itself well to mentorship.

What If You Don’t Know What to Do?

So, what if you’re an entrepreneur (or wannabe entrepreneur) who has a great idea, but you have no idea or you’re afraid to pursue that idea? What do you do?

Hire a Coach

I know, I know. A coach. Let’s say…hire a coach/consultant, because there is a difference. A flat-out coach may be great at helping motivate you, but may not know the business fundamentals necessary to create a successful business. Look for someone who is at the top of his or her game who has been successful in business to help you. And note that a mentor and a coach are very different people who offer different, but equally valuable, things.

Read the Right Stuff

Start reading business and marketing books. I’d be silly not to mention that Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style is also an excellent resource and a great place to start, but there are many wonderful books that can help you to start and/or grow your business. If you’re not a big reader, then listen to audiobooks.

But be careful about the resources you choose. The fact is, the evolution of the publishing industry has made it possible for literally anyone to write and publish a book, which is great for opening up the possibilities for people who have always wanted to write a book, when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a book contract. However, the changes mean that…anyone can write a book, which means as a reader and entrepreneur, you must become more discriminating with respect to which books you read and which authors you trust.

Instead of just jumping in and picking books, willy nilly, you can always ask respected resources and successful people, “What are the top five books you would recommend to someone in my situation?” We always have an opinion about which books you should read.

Ask, Ask, Ask

Asking questions of successful people is one of the ways I learned about business when I was first starting out. However, you should not assume that you can simply ask someone successful out for coffee in order to “pick their brain.” I do advocate for having informal mentors (people you email very sporadically to ask questions), but don’t insult someone by suggesting that a cup of coffee or a lunch is the equivalent of the years they’ve spent educating themselves and gaining experience. Be willing to pay someone for their time if you’re going to ask for their expertise, even if it’s for just a few minutes. (Secret Pro Tip: Most often, if you ask someone for 5 minutes of their time and ask how much they would charge you, they’ll laugh and not charge you but give you the time anyway.)

Get In There, Entrepreneur, And DO.

At some point, you’re going to have to jump off the ledge and do. That moment will be scary. As an entrepreneur, you will have to get used to the risk and fear (though there are ways to mitigate risk). But eventually, you’ll have to take action and do the big things needed to become a success. You’ll be scared. Do them anyway.

I started out this blog post talking about how a successful businesswoman told a budding female entrepreneur that she wasn’t an entrepreneur at all, and how I had received an email newsletter this morning from yet another female entrepreneur saying, “Yeah, she’s right! You’re not an entrepreneur, either!” The topic of what we, as women, are doing to one another with this kind of nonsense is a topic for another day, but for today, I just wanted to say, “To heck with what those people said. You are an entrepreneur. You just need a little help.”

Now go out and be the entrepreneur you want to be.