What Lies Beneath…Our Entrepreneurial Inkling

by Scott - No Comments

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I had a really interesting conversation about why we want to be entrepreneurs a few weeks back that made me take a good hard look in the mirror.

I think a lot of people say they want to be entrepreneurs without ever really taking a good hard look their core motivations, myself included. A few reasons why someone would opt for the entrepreneurial path:

  • Freedom that comes with being your own boss
  • The chance to create something people love
  • The challenge and creativity it takes to execute on a vision
  • A chance to make a lot of money, FAST
  • Some people just hate working for someone else or in a corporate environment

The friend I spoke with said that his main motivation to take the entrepreneurial leap, among others, was to swing for the fences with the chance that he’d never have to worry about money again. It’s not that he wanted to be filthy rich, its that he wanted to lead a life where money did not factor into how he chose to spend his time. I’d be lieing to myself, if I didn’t have the same motivation (among others).

This friend of mine choose to take a job that would better prepare himself to become an entrepreneur than get in early on a later stage startup. He knew the later stage startup would be a huge success, but his ultimate goal was to build his own successful companies. He opted to turn down the promising opportunity for one that he thought would better prepare him to become a successful entrepreneur. Fast forward to the present, he is now a successful entrepreneur with multiple startups under his belt…mission accomplished?

Ironically, if he would have taken that job with the late stage startup, his stock would now be worth enough to never have to worry about money again. The startups he’d built have done well in their own right, but he still works to pay the bills. This would not have been the case if he took the more corporate role.

I think the lesson learned here for aspiring/young entrepreneurs is to take a good look at your motivations to become an entrepreneur before you rush out to prove yourself as one. In this case, my friend would have been closer to the life position he ultimately wanted to be in by not going after the more entrepreneurial path. That’s not to say his experience has not been incredibly fulfilling and valuable, but he can’t fly to Aruba tomorrow to go lie on a hammock for a month.

I think one smell test of whether you’re really in this game for the right reasons comes to down how you’re interest in product. If you don’t care about the product you’re working on why are you there? To be underpaid with the small chance that you’ll hit it big? In my opinion, that’s a recipe for failure. If you truly care about what you’re building you’ll pull the 16 hour days, you’ll forgo the expensive nights out, you’ll ask people for things you never thought you’d have the balls to do to make your vision a reality. If you’re there to try and make a quick buck all those sacrifices will get old real quick…just like playing excel like a piano at JPMorgan. Tis all this time

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