Yearning To Fulfill Your Entrepreneurial Dream
The entrepreneur stereotype drives people to take unnecessary risks
The dream of entrepreneurship drives aspiring businessmen to quit their jobs too soon in the hopes of reaping the great rewards.
Risk it all to take it all – that’s the ethos.
The Entrepreneur Stereotype
These qualities about entrepreneurs make them both exciting and inspiring
- risk takers
- hard workers
Do you want to succeed as an entrepreneur?
Quit your job and pursue your dreams with unwavering passion. Success awaits at the end of the finish line for those who dare take the bull of its horns.
All of the above sounds great, doesn’t it?
Romanticize and Embellish
Sleepless nights, working from the garage, the endless sacrifices and the one too many microwave dinners consumed are all part of being an entrepreneur – all the true grit in exchange for the elusive promise of glory.
People romanticize about things to embellish them. It helps to ignore the harsh real aspects of entrepreneurship.
Sounds like the tale of a blind man chasing after a dream with a vengeance.
The Norm Is NOT Always The Answer
There many other aspects of entrepreneurs that are often ignored and seldom mentioned.
Everyone wants an adventurous success story from rags to riches. It makes it more inspiring and it is great for a good news headline.
The Other Side Of The Coin
There is always another side to the coin. There are successful entrepreneurs out there who did not go for the stereotypical bravado of quitting their jobs at the drop of a hat to pursue their dreams.
These entrepreneurs are seldom mentioned, but they are just as successful if not more prone to success. These entrepreneurs DID NOT quit their jobs right away in order to achieve their business ventures.
The Other Side Of Entrepreneurship
A study was done that tracked 5000 American entrepreneurs for 14 years.
The research shows that aspiring entrepreneurs who did not quit their jobs to pursue their dream venture were 33% less likely to fail, in comparison to the people who DID quit their jobs to test the waters on a passion and a whim.
Entrepreneurial aspirations come with a high risk. Not quitting a job to increase the chances of success by 33% is a definite plus.
Don’t Fall For the Stereotype
Having the comfort of a job means you do not have to worry about introducing sudden instability in your life. You don’t need to expose yourself to more unnecessary risk. The confidence in knowing that you can support your dreams while you familiarize yourself with your new aspiration can only lower your chances of failure.
You want to pave your way to success, don’t you? Don’t set yourself up for more risk than you need.
Whatever one can do to lessen the odds is a good thing, don’t you think? Adam Grant, in his book, “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World”, put forth the notion that entrepreneurs are not necessarily the adventurous risk-takers that the public would like to believe.
This is a new way of thinking about entrepreneurship and a new philosophy to live by.
All of this makes some sense, doesn’t it? Think about it.
A Job To Back You Up
I currently have a full-time job. It is not a spectacularly high paying job, but it pays the bills. I can confidently say that I work on my blog every day knowing that it will not be the end of the world if my blogging efforts do not succeed.
If my blogging efforts do succeed, I will always be presented with the choice to quit or continue doing both. With choice comes opportunity, and with opportunity there is hope.
Know how much risk to take in any entrepreneurial endeavor. Take risks you can stomach. Take calculated risks.
The Mentality Behind “Quitting The Job”
Aspiring entrepreneurs are sometimes too eager for their own good. Why do some entrepreneurs quit their jobs so readily?
Mainly 3 reasons drive some entrepreneurs to quit their jobs in a flash to blindly embrace their ventures:
- Confident about the business they are about to embark on, they think they know what the customers want because they are consumers of the product they are about to sell. What could go wrong?
- Blinded by the infallible power of research, they believe they have learned all they need to learn about their audience and other competitors/companies in the niche/sector. Follow suit and find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
- They hire or work with an “expert” in the know-how who shows them the ropes and brings all the experience to fill the gap. With such an individual by your side, you basically got it made, right?
Under The Microscope
Assuming Your Customer Thinks Like You
Assumption A is a very gross overgeneralization from the entrepreneur’s part. You can only speak for yourself and never on behalf of your clients. There is little or no proof that you and your customers think alike. It might be a nice assumption, but that is where it ends.
Assuming Research Knows It All
Assumption B is a bad sign of overestimating the power of research. Research is ALWAYS great preparation for any enterprising effort, but as Neil Degrasse puts it concisely “we don’t know what we don’t know”.
What else did you miss that you didn’t know you were supposed to know? Research tells you a lot about WHAT OTHERS have been through, but these other people ARE NOT YOU, are they? You’ll have to test it. The risk could certainly be lessened if you had a job while you try things out.
Assuming Experts Got You Covered
Assumption C is the bad chemistry you get from combining assumptions A and B. The outside expert can probably speak for his previous customers, but this expert has yet to know your customers. His experiences dealing with SIMILAR situations make him more informed, but it is not guaranteed. The success of another company or person is never easily duplicated.
What worked for this expert in the past may not necessarily translate to your audience and the business that you are running. What worked for other clients in the past may not apply to you. The dynamics of your business could be very different.
Success Is NOT Straightforward
Success is not a straight road. Some companies or individuals don’t always fully understand how they achieved success. They might have a vague notion about it that is often far less clear than what they would like to admit. There will be specific turns and forks YOU will have to take in order to reach your success.
What You Think, What It Is, And Ignorance
If any of the scenarios above actually worked, I would not even bother writing this blog. We would all be rich beyond our wildest dreams if it were that easy.
There is a big chasm between what ACTUALLY is and what you THINK you know.
The greatest challenge, often overlooked, is to ask the following 2 questions:
What are OTHER things you still don’t know?
What are things you DON’T KNOW TO ASK because YOU DON’T KNOW?
To put it more succinctly, Neil Degrasse, a well-known astrophysicist, said during “The Late Night Show With Stephen Colbert”:
“We don’t know what we don’t know.”
Watch the scientist’s interview with Stephen Colbert as he eloquently explained his greatest fear on YOUTUBE titled
“The Mystery That Keeps Neil DeGrasse Tyson Up At Night”
It makes perfect sense, considering the risks, that your current job will give you the perfect support while you tread into uncharted territory – your new business venture.
Constellations moving away from our horizon keeps Mr. Tyson awake at night.
What keeps you awake at night as an entrepreneur? Quitting your job and putting yourself at more risk will certainly keep you awake at night.
Put Your Venture To The Test
If your venture still seems infallible to you, then run this exciting idea of yours to a readiness criteria test.
- How popular is this idea or topic?
- Is this idea something that people want or need?
- Does your audience show potential purchasing power?
- Does your business venture show potential for profit?
- Is this venture sustainable enough to make it a full-time job?
- How will you engage your audience?
- Do you have what it takes to engage this audience?
- Will you be persuasive enough for them to follow you?
- What will you do to keep this audience?
- Are you able to build a large enough following?
- Will this audience be persuaded enough to try your product?
- Is this audience going to purchase the product?
- Will you be able to captivate your audience for the long term?
How did it go? Is your venture solid enough for you to quit your job today?
Rethink Your Approach To Risk
Give yourself time to learn this new venture as you take the brunt of each mistake along the way.
What if your business doesn’t go the way you thought it would go?
What if you discover something better and changes your mind and the direction of your business?
With a day job, you now have the luxury and versatility to go forth.
The Luxury To Adapt and Change
As we speak, I have already changed the direction of my blog twice. I have had the luxury to redefine and reshape the direction and niche of my blog; each step takes me closer to finding that middle-ground where audience and blogger meet for business to flourish – without the burden of despair.
It is a daily juggling act to keep my job and the blog afloat.
I choose juggling over walking on eggshells any day.
I won’t stop you from taking the plunge and quitting your job to pursue your dreams.
“We don’t know what we don’t know.”
Take your time and think it through.
How will you approach your next endeavor?
To start, don’t quit your day job yet.