From the moment I graduated from school I knew that I didn’t want to work for anyone. I was a political science grad, who then went to law school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do or be. Both of my parents had been business owners and I can point to that as proof that I was born to be an entrepreneur. But both of my brothers went the 9 to 5 route and they had the same upbringing I did, so it’s not so cut and dry.
As my brothers watched me struggle with my various businesses, they couldn’t understand why I would make such a decision. As I saw them clock in and out, and follow other people’s directives and orders, I couldn’t understand the decision they made. Now, with 20 years of experience, I understand why someone would choose to work 9 to 5. Not worrying so much 24/7. Enjoying the weekend with family and friends instead of thinking about facts and figures. But would I change anything? No.
I’ve had successes and failures. There is no greater feeling when your business is taking off and everything is working. It is a culmination of all your hard work and sacrifice. And the reverse is true too. When that same business starts to fail, and everything you worked for disappears, it’s a gut punch, and it’s hard to recover.
Are entrepreneurs born? No, I don’t think so. I think some people are born with more of a tolerance for risk, and let’s be clear, starting a business is risky, when 90% fail within 5 years. If you want to make money, startups are not that. In the beginning you will make more money working for minimum wage. The promise of a startup is in the illusion of the future. You look to a day and time when everything is running well, you are profitable and money is plentiful. It’s a powerful siren’s song, and one I am still susceptible to.
I chose to be an entrepreneur because I wanted to live life on my own terms, even if that life was hard and stressful. It was still my choice. Other people are not willing to take that gamble and that’s fine. Sometimes I envy them. Sometimes I wonder why I am how I am. It would be easy to work for someone else, do your job and clock out. At least I think so, I really don’t know. I never did it.
If you want to try to be an entrepreneur, I would say study it. Read books. Talk to people who own businesses. Really know what you are getting into. The hardest thing to do in this life is to overcome stagnation. That feeling of just being stuck. We need to go from being stuck to being free, and that first movement, that first step, that initial zero to one, per Peter Thiel, is absolutely EVERYTHING.
The most important thing is to choose. Indecisiveness costs time and, more importantly, it costs a piece of who we are, and who we can be. So choose and act.
Once you are moving, it’s a lot easier to change direction.
Let’s get moving.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. It wouldn’t be the same without you.