Entrepreneur. Start-Up. These are today’s buzzwords.
Where I live, in California (and probably where you live too), we have thousands of them, these entrepreneurs and start-ups – all looking to create the next big company, product, app, software or gadget.
It’s amazing. All of the unbelievably cool companies that we know of today like airbnb or Uber or Slack started from a dream. Without these entrepreneurs‘ dreams, we wouldn’t have the unofficial start-up capital know as Silicon Valley… or even the TV show “Silicon Valley!”
But, professionals often get caught up in the idea of starting their own business without truly knowing what it takes – and that creates a problem. That’s why you’ll never start your own business and that’s OK.
The Truth: What many people do not realize is that within 3 years of opening their doors, 92% of start-ups fail. To put that in perspective – if 3,000 start-ups opened their doors in April of 2012, that means that 2,760 of them are now closed.
The picture that the media often paints is of the Mark Zuckerbergs, Richard Bransons, Elon Musks or the Marissa Mayers of the world (the 8%). This is because the media knows that “no one wants to see the ‘before’ pictures.”
And therein lies the problem. We live in a culture of entrepreneurs where, seemingly, ultimate success in a person’s career means starting a business and eventually selling it for millions of dollars.
I know I’ve often thought of career success as venturing out on my own and I am sure many of you have too.
What that sort of mentality does is take away the intrinsic value people can gain from working for others. Just because you work for a start-up, but didn’t actually start the start-up, does that make you any less valuable or successful? No!
Yet thousands of people continue to leave their job each year to start a business and 92% come back with next to nothing to show for it.
Really, the key behind it all is honesty. Many of the businesses that fail were probably great ideas (maybe they failed due to unpreventable external forces or a fluke in the system).
But the fact is that a majority of new businesses fail because the people who started them weren’t honest with themselves and weren’t ready to take on a business.
American Express wrote an interesting article in 2011 titled, “10 Signs You Shouldn’t Be a Business Owner.” The author highlights several key areas in which small business owners must thrive:
- Decision Making
- Motivation Factors
- Risk Tolerance
- Emotional Fluctuation
- Track Record
That’s a ton of things to be good at and it’s one of the reasons why business owners feel in over their head in the tough beginning stages. “Wait, I have to balance my finances, run marketing campaign, perfect my product and attract investors!?”
Another thing many entrepreneurs do not take into consideration is the time commitment that it takes to start a business. Working nights and weekends is almost guaranteed in the first few years.
And vacation time? As the famous line in Donnie Brasco goes… “Forget about it!”
On the flip side of things, now is as a great of time as ever to start your own company. There are hundreds of compelling articles online as to why you should start a company in 2015.
Limitless resources, tips & tricks, online communities & forums at your fingertips to help you succeed. The sky is the limit.
Some folks are simply wired to be entrepreneurs. I truly believe that there are those who wouldn’t be happy at a typical 9-5 job. That’s the 8% of you out there.
For the other 92% of us – there is happiness and value to be had as non-business owner.
First things first – don’t compare you current job situation to those who have started a successful business. Rather, talk to them and find out what makes them who they are and then strive to make their positive attributes your own.
Then, come to terms with the fact that starting a business does not necessarily equal career success. Take time to think or even write down what career success means to YOU. Whether it’s being able to take 1-2 big vacations each year, traveling for work, or completing a new project each month – celebrate your successes!
If, after all is said and done, career success does mean running your own shop and you know you would make a great business owner – do it. Jump in and don’t look back. Become one of the 8% that make it and hopefully one day we’ll all be using your product.
For the rest of us who won’t ever start our own business… We’ll be just fine.