Entrepreneur is a sexy word in our American society today. For many young dreamers, it creates an image of freedom, fulfillment, excitement, success, fame, and financial prosperity. But for some of those in the throws of entrepreneurship, it has come to mean stress, debt, overtime, deadlines, margins, sleepless nights, and trying to find trustworthy people to work with.
I still believe in the dream of entrepreneurship. I feel that our economy benefits from entrepreneurial endeavors. The corporation is dead or at least, in the process of dying. People are drawn to the passion, excitement, and intimacy that comes with being a part of a new startup; a new dream with a new vision, writing a new story.
Unfortunately, according to Bloomberg, a whopping 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within their first 18 months. That’s eighty percent! Now, keep in mind that many famously successful entrepreneurs today, had their fair share of failures before hitting it big. In my opinion, a true entrepreneur is a permanent entrepreneur and will never give up no matter how many times failure hits. With persistence and purpose, failure is just a stepping stone towards success.
There are many who naively approach entrepreneurship and receive a rude awakening. Even if they manage to survive their first year, it is very likely that they are not experiencing the freedom and financial prosperity that they envisioned.
Their business consumes their time, their mind, and their money. This happens for various reasons; the main one being that they have to juggle different hats and roles that come with running a business, and the catch is that most of those roles are not aligned with their personal strengths. They end up spending the majority of their time working “in” their business instead of “on” their business.
As I said earlier, I am all for the entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, if someone hates their corporate job working for “the man”, I am the first one to ask about their dreams, gifts, and passions to see if I can point them to a more life giving path. Life is too short to waste it building someone else’s dream, a dream that doesn’t inspire you at all. At least go find someone to follow (or work with) whose dream aligns with yours!
I am also quick to advise people to think critically about what it takes to be profitable with their new endeavor. I am all for entrepreneurship, but I think that too many people jump into something without fully understanding the bigger picture. A conversation with another owner in a similar business would quickly enlighten anyone to some of the realities that come with “making it” in that niche.
If you have entrepreneurial dreams, I advise you to think through a few different things before you chart out your course. Before we choose the business vehicle or model, let’s consider some of the ideal traits for a new business… 1) Low start up cost. 2) Portable. 3) Highly Profitable. 4) Leveraged Income, which is income not based on your time. 5) Fun! 6) Plays to your strengths. Decide which of these are most important to you. Now, you can choose your vehicle! This could be a traditional brick and mortal store, a franchise, eCommerce, network marketing, affiliate marketing, consulting, real estate, or information business. I personally am a supporter of network marketing, affiliate marketing, and information business because these three all have low start up costs, are extremely portable, easily have leveraged income, and if you do it right, can be highly profitable.
Again, the goal is to create your own dream, build your own value, and enjoy the fruits of it. Don’t think the only way to make a living is to push buttons for someone else!