When I was young, I always held the belief I would work for myself. Anything less would be a failure. I looked at those working for corporations and thought to myself, “what kind of way is that to live?”
I remember talking to my friends about the future — after we graduated college and catapulted into the real world — and many said they were happy to progress in whatever they were doing. I thought they were lunatics. How could you possibly want to work for someone? Is that not slavery?
That was a long time ago, and I’ve had many jobs since then. Some great. Most shit. I’ve also dabbled in a few small ventures with varying degrees of success and A LOT of failures. It’s safe to say I won’t be selling consulting services on entrepreneurship anytime soon.
It’s also safe to say I never approached anything intelligently. By that, I mean conducting market research and enlisting the services of someone that’s gone before me.
Fortunately, we’re not here to talk about my screw-ups. We’re here to discuss your potential screw-ups should you decide to claim the esteemed identity of “entrepreneur.”
There seems to be a trend amongst young people today where everybody wants — or feels the need — to become an entrepreneur. An accolade often bestowed upon themselves long before a dime is made from their chosen venture.
I’d bet my left nut this trend is perpetuated through social media and driven by the human need for significance. If Maslow made a career hierarchy, the “entrepreneur” title would sit right at the top looking down on CEO’s, Managing Directors and all other peasants below them.
Ironically, it’s far more difficult to become an appointed CEO (emphasis on appointed), managing director, director, etc. than it is to become an entrepreneur.
So, why not leapfrog that shit? Fuck, anyone can become an entrepreneur. It’s harder to find gainful employment. Period. Most people on Tinder are entrepreneurs. The challenge is making a success of it.
Martin Luther King had a dream. You have a dream. I have a dream. We all have dreams…
The king is dead, and racism rages on.
What are you on about Nicky?
I’m glad you asked. If you have this crazy desire to create something, I’d be the first person to tell you to go for it — assuming I liked you — because the vast majority of people close to you will shit on your ambitions if they perceive them to be too grand, or worse, if they fear they will experience a serving of envy should you succeed. But — and it’s a bigger BUTT than Kim K’s— if you are only attracted to the results, the title, the accolades, the money, etc. And you’re blinded by the process, the stress, the sweat, and the tears. The reality. I’m simply suggesting you think long and hard about it…
Depression, anxiety and suicide numbers are all skyrocketing, especially amongst millennials and the iGeneration. These figures are even more terrifying for entrepreneurs. One study suggests entrepreneurs are four times more likely to suffer depression than everyone else — and it appears everyone else is fucked so that statistic alone should at raise an alarm.
Is this something you’re willing to die for? Because a lot of those successful motherfuckers will tell you they are! Metaphorically speaking of course.
I think what I’m trying to say is — you can’t half-ass this shit. Sure — many people can, will, and do. But that’s not the reality. It’s the exception. You can half-ass pretty much any other job on the planet and still make a living, but if you’re going to take on full responsibility for your well-being and potentially the well-being of others, you’ll find yourself slowly suffocating if you’re not prepared to give it everything you’ve got. And then some.
What do you value more — lifestyle or wealth? Either is fine. You have the right to value or go after whatever you want. Many young people nowadays value lifestyle over money which is contradictory to the start-up life.
We could talk about values all day. Knowing yours is a good place to start when working on your master plan. I’m not suggesting for a second chaining yourself to a desk and working a job that makes you miserable for the rest of your life. That’s nuts!
I would suggest you exercise caution when being sold on the pursuit of your passion or purpose. That passion and purpose stuff is bollox when it comes to reasons for setting up your own enterprise. It’s all fluff so you can speak enthusiastically about what you do unbeknownst to the fact that most people couldn’t care less about your passion or purpose. Can your product and service help them? That’s what they care about. Can you communicate that effectively to them? And can you get it to market? You need to care about it all.
It’s kind of a crazy notion that we believe strangers when they tell us it’s easy to follow our passion and turn it into a business. Of course, we want to believe it. But creating a successful business is extremely challenging. Why do you think 90% or something fails? Everybody would have their own business if it was easy. The internet is your greatest ally, yet it can make the world your enemy — or competitor.
That’s A LOT of pressure!
If I were to let you in on a little secret, I’d tell you that being an entrepreneur is not a pre-requisite for living a life you love. Your opportunities are endless. So, if you’re thinking about this and enrolling in courses to find your purpose and reading every book under the sun on how to become an entrepreneur, then maybe you want to stop and consider becoming a specialist in something you enjoy. If only for now?
If you enjoy it, you can become an expert in it. You can get paid quite a lot of money for it too if you’re willing to apply yourself and you’ll have far more freedom as a result. Then when you know you’re really good at something, you can shoot for the moon without having to bet your life on it.
There is no timeline on this stuff. If you’re talking time, the only time that matters is yours, and that you’re ready.
And if you’re ready now and everything inside you is agonizing to give it a go, then give it a go. I wish you all the luck in the world!
Thanks for reading!