In San Francisco, being an Entrepreneur puts you at the top of the food chain and failing is worn like a badge of honour – so most people can’t wait to jump into a pool full of startup Kool-Aid. Even the non-swimmers.
The problem is that they think it’s all about working at coffee shops, raising a lot of money and speaking at conferences. If they get funded, they act like they’ve made a sound career decision, one that has led to a promotion. The trouble is, it isn’t true.
Most Entrepreneurs are like Artists: Passionate and Starving
I’m not sure when being an entrepreneur turned into a career but it’s a dangerous way to look at it. It’s like waking up one day deciding to become an artist. You don’t just decide to become an artist, it comes from a passion to create.
Also, it seems more and more people are starting up for the money (or the hopes of it). Wow, are they misguided. It’s way easier to become an investment banker than to have a successful outcome as a tech start-up. The odds are not in the entrepreneur’s favor.
It’s more than being a risk taker
At the end of the day, it’s not just about taking risk. Yep, I said it. Sure there’s risk involved, but it’s not why you start up. For most, it’s about creating something from nothing. I don’t care about money. I don’t care about material things. All I care about is creating something that others use and find valuable.
There’s definitely ego involved because any creative act requires it. But the real focus is to create value for the world. The drive needs to come from wanting to make the world a better place. Artist do this with their art. Non-profits do this with their impact. Taking risk is less about being an entrepreneur and more about just living life to the fullest.
It’s who you are … and all you know
How you become an entrepreneur can take many different paths, but for me it came after getting fired from my first and only job. I quickly realized that I was unemployable. At this point, it’s who I am and all I know. Some feel that they can’t do it forever because they have plans on starting a family or can’t sustain the intensity – well, I disagree. It’s sustainable if you choose. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t have to mean risking it all or working 100 hours a week. It’s more like waves that come and go and if you manage it properly, it’s doable.
I can’t see myself doing anything else – building companies is what I love to do. Some people talk about retiring – I’ll never retire – how could I retire from being me?
I’m not writing this to discourage people from starting. I’m writing this in the hopes that it will prepare them. Entrepreneurship is definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s certainly not a career move either, it’s something you do for the rest of your life.
Why do you create? What drives you? Leave a comment below with your answer.