Just a century ago, entrepreneurship was a strange idea. Nobody even dreamt of being an entrepreneur, except the few crazy ones who didn’t want to be entrepreneurs but just wanted to build stuff and accidentally ended up building great businesses. Even 50 years ago, entrepreneurship was not mainstream, the job was.
Today, everyone wants to be an entrepreneur and something is wrong with that. As for me, the world needs more entrepreneurs but at the same time, everyone who really wants to be an entrepreneur should think twice because you’re far more likely to fail in business than to succeed and this video contains some of the reasons why most people fail.
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Stephen Covey makes a good case in his famous book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when he preached that neither dependence none independence is a good idea but interdependence. The number one attribute of most people who want to be entrepreneurs is confidence and high self-esteem. Somehow many of these people believe so much in themselves that they overdo it by going it alone.
Truly successful businesses are those who depend not on the owner of the business but on other people to make progress. Seeking help, partnership, collaboration, building a team – these are the things that make businesses successful.
As an entrepreneur, you have to believe so much in your ability. At the same time, you have to know that you’re extremely limited. There are things you don’t know and there are things you won’t ever know. You have just 24hours in a day and God won’t give you a minute after that. What can you do with such limited resources you have? Nothing much, except you learn how to work with other people.
There’s an entire book Michael Gerber wrote on this subject. It’s titled; The E-Myth Revisited. This book teaches that businesses that succeed are those that were built in such a way that other people can run it. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs are so important to their business that they have to be in their business for their business to work. Your goal is to build a business that can run itself. Your goal is to build a team that can come up with ideas and insights you can never come up with. Your goal is to do the works of a thousand humans and you can only do that if you’re not extremely self-reliant. Instead of depending on yourself, seek help, look for partnership, and depend on others.
- Eating your cake too early
History books are filled with entrepreneurs who go broke after some success. It’s often because these people eat their cake too early. I read about a young man who used his first major profit to buy an iPhone, saying “I deserve it”. Well, you don’t deserve anything. As an entrepreneur, the greatest joy you can ever have is the joy of seeing your fruit growing and contributing to the world.
The greatest joy you can ever have is seeing people love what you create. The greatest joy you can ever have is seeing your businesses employing tens, hundreds, and thousands of people and serving the world. That’s what you deserve; the joy that comes from seeing your deed growing, not the Rolex watches you cannot afford.
Study the lives of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time and see how they live. Warren Buffett can buy some automobile companies but he still drives used cars. Bill Gates at some point saved up so much money that if his business had a problem he could still pay his employees for the entire year. Steve Job was a minimalist. Yes, Elon Musk once bought a lot of luxurious cars and homes but here is the same guy who made over $160 million from Paypal and re-invested every dollar in new businesses (SpaceX, Tesla, and Boring Company).
The message here is simple; entrepreneurship isn’t a 100-meter race. It’s a marathon. You don’t win after five months, you might not even win in five years. You win and can lavish your money after a long period.
- Starting a business you have no passion for
I know, “follow your passion” has become a cliché but it’s still a good message for three reasons;
First, people who do what they love are happy to get to work. These people sleep less and wake up energized because they can’t wait to conquer their days. I don’t use an alarm and yet, waking up 4am isn’t a big deal for me. In fact, last night, I felt the night should be short because I couldn’t wait to sit at my desk.
Now if you think this doesn’t mean anything, listen to the next point;
Happy people win. There’s a book titled, “The Happiness Advantage”. It was written by Shawn Achor. This book is about a study that shows that people are not happy because they succeed. The opposite is the truth; people succeed because they are happy. A happy salesman sells more. A happy doctor has more clients. Happy researchers invest all their brainpower into what they are doing. People who are happy about what they are doing do it far better than people who aren’t and that should be a simple thing to understand. Because you can never be happy with your business if you’re not passionate about it, it is just simple math that you may not be successful doing things you’re not passionate about.
The third important thing here is this; people who derive joy from their labor don’t need much entertainment or material things. If you derive great joy in your work or business, all your life will be about that work and its progress. Nothing much would be important to you. You’ll only buy things you need and even if you want to waste some money on luxuries, you will have less temptation to do it when your business is small.
Now let me make something clear here; you can still do what you hate for money, temporarily. For example, I had a job I hated for about 17 months. I knew I hated it even before I started it but that was the only option I had. In fact, my first successful business wasn’t what I was passionate about, so there’s no crime in doing what you don’t like temporarily. However, you must be on the lookout for your real calling.
If today you are into a business you don’t honestly like, you’re not committing a crime as long as you see it as a stepping stone. Don’t expect that business to give you true success because it won’t. Expect that business or job to give you money and probably the leverage to be able to do what you truly love because your true and lasting success will come only from what keeps you awake while others are sleeping, what makes you high and what makes you feel like you’re fulfilling your destiny.