Though the title may seem weird, or maybe even ridiculous, entrepreneurs are truly a breed unto themselves. Most people start out early in life with a very robotic answer as it relates to our professional future – Do well in school, get a good job and retire at sixty-five (or now supposedly sixty-eight). Statements like this have driven me crazy since the age of twenty, coincidentally the year I started my first business senior year in college. The reason why I say ‘robotic’ is because, to me, it’s very much like saying, be like everyone else, walk like everyone else, talk like everyone else, and then you will eventually be like everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong, getting a good education and a good job is appealing to many people. There are plenty of people out there who are truly happy working a 9 to 5. To me, however, it is called the corporate ‘rat race’ for a reason, as the rats run around for no other reason other than because the chemists who run the place want them to! Yes, there are those who do very well with high-level positions at high profile companies and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I get it. I just like being the one who is in control of my destiny, and if that means working 80 hours a week then so-be-it, so long as I am not running the rat race for anyone other than myself.
Today’s environment is unabashedly unapologetic as it can hold your career hostage until it sees fit to let you go, as far too many people have become slaves to their employers, trying to patiently wait until their employer lets them off the hook and gives them their just-do. I have found that most people are out for self and there is not necessarily a whole lot wrong with that, other than if you are working for a person who is not, well… yourself! Like it or not, we are in the ‘Do-It-For-Yourself’ times and if you don’t heed those words, forget about someone coming to your rescue, cause it isn’t going to happen.
What Entrepreneurs Have To Look Forward To
The bad news…
When you look at the chances of an entrepreneur being successful, you can see why most people run for the hills, or, better put, the ‘stability’ of a 9 to 5. Here are some statistics:
49% of businesses won’t make it past 5 years
and what’s worse…
31% of businesses won’t make it past 7 years
Statistically, those numbers above do not look good, and the numbers just get worse when the profitability discussion comes up.
So Why Take a Chance?
So what’s the lure to building a concept that more than likely will fail than to succeed? Are we gluttons? Not so much. I think an entrepreneur is much like an athlete that thrives in taking that last shot as time runs out, or a quarterback who needs to drive eighty yards in two minutes to score the winning touchdown. Although the odds say “very little chance”, truth-be-told, athletes, much like entrepreneurs, don’t acknowledge statistics, especially when they are stacked against them. We just choose to keep shooting until we make it. That is our DNA.
The Entrepreneur’s 5 Reasons
Being an entrepreneur is about love & compassion, freedom, conquering ones-self, taking risks, and being fearless, all without the corporate box to operate in, and there are no compromises. It simply comes down to the entrepreneur’s imagination, effort, hustle, and will, not to mention that thing between our ears, however in all actuality, most times we prefer our ‘gut’ over the logic of our minds.
Lets look at the five characteristics of entrepreneurs, or, as I like to call them ‘stains’ embedded in the DNA of entrepreneurs that cannot be undone…
1- Love and Compassion
Love may sound out of place when talking about business, but in this case it’s extremely relevant. Entrepreneurs are truly rebels with a cause. Entrepreneurs feel more than they think, and it is that emotional drive that serves as the rocket fuel that powers their passion and gives them their purpose . They say love is blind, and that doesn’t just hold true for personal relationships, as it is much the same for an entrepreneur. This is one of the main reasons as to why we will work those eighty hours a week I am talking about. As they say, ‘if you love your work, you’re not working.’
When you’re in love with that man or woman, you will spend an inordinate amount of time with that person with no concept of time. As, they say ‘time stands still’ when you are in love, and the same holds true for entrepreneurs, as we possess that same love and single-mindedness about our business that we do for the ones we love.
The really good entrepreneurs have what I call a ‘compassionate necessity’ to see what they love become a reality. Often their compassion leaves a residue on every individual they touch – especially investors and other resources they need to help them achieve their dreams.
2- Freedom to Be…
When you look back and read the stories of successful entrepreneurs throughout history, they were often looked at as pie-in-the-sky ‘weirdo’s’ (for lack of a better word). To them, they were just expressing what they believed in. It is thought without any obstacles, or, better put, pure imagination! Dare I say the four-letter word ‘dream’ again!
We need more of these “weirdo’s” to keep turning these dreams into realities because, quite frankly, entrepreneurs are the only reason why we have an economy. As Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says, “We make things that people don’t know they need yet!” I so love that comment. Love it.
3- Conquering One’s Self
I recently read a story about explorers as to why they climb the dangerous and sometimes deadly Mt. Everest. The main reason was much like why an entrepreneur starts a business, for the accomplishment of it. The more I read the article, I realized that the core reasons were the same – challenging ones-self to start something and actually finish it! Wow, what a concept!
Ultimately, an entrepreneur realizes that there will be many challenges to overcome without the comfort of a safety net, which brings up another four-letter word for non-entrepreneurs…
To me, risky is the new safe , and building a business relies on the entrepreneur’s ability to take risks, think creatively and outside-the-box, persevere, and differentiate him or herself in the market. It’s not always about being a specialist in a given market, but about being really good at a lot things, and great at a few! The entrepreneur embraces risk as though it is his or her friend and there is no excitement living by the status quo. We are constantly challenging ourselves and trying to take one step further than we are expected to, as the entrepreneur is a firm believer that growth begins outside our comfort zone.
5- Storm Chasers
Entrepreneurs are very much like storm chasers as we like to head directly to the eye of the storm and face it head-on. We thrive on walking into chaos, or stepping into the impossible situation and making it possible. We walk into the storm, knowing we will get to the other side, when things are calm and back to normal. In many ways, it is tough to tell whether we are fearless or reckless. To me, I think there has to be some element of recklessness and throwing caution to the wind, when taking the path of an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur reminds me of the 7-11 convenient store – It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The 80 hours sounds like a lot, but in reality, the entrepreneur is always on the clock, but we would much rather be working those eighty hours for ourselves, than half that amount working for someone else!
Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Humble