While making some edits to my LinkedIn profile last week, I struggled to put the word ‘Entrepreneur’ to my title. I really wanted to be sure before I put it there because I didn’t want to sound like a wannabe who wrote it because it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do.
What really makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur? I did some online research, exchanged emails with some (yeah, this is how committed I was to find the real truth), and explored the depths of true entrepreneurial spirit with some real entrepreneurs. The following are my findings on reasons you are still not an entrepreneur –
You Probably Shouldn’t Be An Entrepreneur Top 10 Reason
1) You still have a day job! –
This means you are just testing the waters. Yeah, I know, you ‘fund’ your startup with your salary. I think you might as well call yourself an investor!
2) You are still interviewing for jobs while pursuing your entrepreneurial dream –
This is perhaps the most curious aspect I found with some entrepreneurs. It’s like they want to portray an enterprising attitude just to impress a recruiter or get a “handsome salary”!
3) You still take weekends off –
Or stick to a 9 to 6:30 pattern or want to take-off at 5 on a Friday. Also, I think those who like to maintain a work-life-balance should have continued to crib about it during their office lunch hours or at their company dinners! Let me explain….regular lunch hours and free dinner parties are like a luxury to an entrepreneur! And work-life-balance is a distant dream. All great entrepreneurs are working when the world is partying/sleeping/holidaying/resting.
4) You are still copying startup ideas from others and building your own, OR worse, copying them form a different country and applying it to yours –
This point might be a bit off topic, or not, but does copying a startup idea or blindly following the norms a true entrepreneurial example? Agreed it happens more than it should, investors fund it even if they should not and sometimes they really do serve some purpose…but the first step of being an entrepreneur should not be a copy/paste idea. Or at least create a new term for these pseudo-preneurs! I have been in touch with so many of these pseudo-preneurs with nothing more than a re-wrapped Uber or Grofer or Zomato idea! Basically a true entrepreneur should be a leader and an innovator with path breaking examples, not just a copier! Don’t try to be the next Mark or Elon or Bill, be yourself!
5) You are still not answering the problems, but creating them –
In a country like India with so many problems to solve, we do not need entrepreneurs to create/conjure problems from imagination, just to justify their startups! You are only thrusting down solutions down someone’s throat where there is none required Or maybe the timing is still not right. And your ego or ignorance is not letting you walk away from it all. Learning when to walk away is a key skill that most of us will perhaps never learn. Live the problems, dive deep into them before you think you are even close to finding a solution.
6) You already have an exit strategy! –
Now this one gets to me the most! I wish I had a rupee for every time I hear an exit strategy! I mean if you are sure about the exit strategy then perhaps you should try your skills in the shares market and make your millions there. You are already talking about exiting, when you have still not started? Be in it for the long – haul or exit now!
7) You are already dreaming about the millions –
For an entrepreneur it is never about the money! Earning money that is. Sure he/she needs funding to grow the startup but the passion lies beyond making money for themselves. More than the money, it is the innovation, a cause, a solution, changing lives and perhaps even changing the world that drives them. Of course, if you are successful on this journey then you do end up making money but starting on the journey only to make money just defeats the purpose. So many investors have told me stories of entrepreneurs wanting a salary from the first investor they find!
8) You are still afraid of the mundane and constantly looking for something ‘exciting’ –
Now this may be contrary to popular belief, but there comes a time in every entrepreneur’s journey when they have to pursue mundane tasks over and over and over again, if it means sustained growth and results. This is where you need to be persistent, task oriented and close all open ended issues. Taking care of those ‘boring-every day-menial-repetitive tasks’ at high persistence levels is what distinguishes the big boys from the rest!
9) You still don’t have a team –
Time and time again, one constant that will never change no matter how much the business landscape changes and no matter what ‘disruptors” will tell you…You CAN NOT do all things by yourself. You need a team or a co-founder, maybe two. A good one at that. A team that shares your vision, joins you for the cause and not just for the money and will dedicate their precious time for success. Finding them however is a great big project on its own, and so crucial that you might want to spend a great deal of your time and efforts on this one key aspect. Sure, you can automate some tasks or get virtual/freelance help initially but getting a real team in place as quickly as possible surely makes a difference.
10) You live in your bubble –
Yes you do. Yes. I am telling you. You do. Keeping your “big idea” secret? Working under “stealth mode”? Afraid to “lose” your idea once you share it with someone? I told you, you are living in a bubble. There is no idea that is exclusively yours, it is only those who do something about it and make it work can be called true entrepreneurs! Share with experts, get advice from mentors, discuss it with peers, test it with your friends or better with people you may not know…get people excited about it, run it by investors at early stages, let it out and see it grow and take it to the finish line. Burst that bubble yet?!