Welcome to the Platitude-Free Zone
This blog post is intended to start a conversation with entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and the people who invest money with entrepreneurs. I would like us to have a real discussion about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur (however you define success)–free of platitudes and “conventional wisdom.”
My vision for this post is, via your comments, we will inspire one another to reach a little higher for our goals, dig a little deeper for strength, and reflect internally a little more deliberately for clarity of purpose and mission.
You’ve Determined You ARE an Entrepreneur. Now What?
Maybe you determined you’re an entrepreneur after reading one of the many blog posts that force you to ask yourself a few tough questions before you take the plunge. Or maybe, like me, you knew all along, but forgot the truth and suddenly had an “epiphany” that led you back to it.
Either way, once you take that first step toward entrepreneurship, there is no guarantee you will be successful.
So What Does It Take To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?
This question seems to be the rub.
We’ve all read the self-help books and seen pithy quotes from our heroes about what it takes to be successful (here’s a great site for quotes and inspiration). Maybe some of you, like me, keep up with the latest trends in the “science” of entrepreneurship (e.g., The Lean Startup movement) and know the importance of having a great team and a killer business model.
I’m sure some of us lean on our faith or spiritual teachings to shine the light on the path to success and rely on blessings to lead us on the way. I’ve done all of the above, yet I am no closer to a definitive answer to the question. Am I cynical? Perhaps.
I did, however, stumble upon the following quote and it struck a chord deep within me:
“A true entrepreneur can’t imagine living a life any way other than on their own terms. Their success is, metaphorically, a life or death situation. If you feel the entrepreneur inside of you screaming every time you’re forced to suppress an idea, then it’s a matter of life or death for you. Every time you suppress your inner entrepreneur, a piece of it will die.” – Liz Seda, Lifestyle Designer and Entrepreneur
So, after speaking with several entrepreneurs over the years and taking my shots at entrepreneurship, I’m left with only one reasonable answer to the question: luck. You need to be lucky. I’m ok defining luck as a blessing from God, or being in alignment with ‘The Universe,” or it’s where hard work meets opportunity. However you want to define it, I’m good with that.
After you’ve gone all in with your resources for your idea, put together the best possible management team, worked tirelessly, turned over every stone, designed a killer business model, and tested and validated your idea, I believe it takes luck to be successful; something that is completely out of your control. Luck. That’s it.
I’m not saying I’m right about this. It’s just my opinion and I’ve got lots of them (just ask my wife :-)). If you have a different one I’d love to read it in the comments section below.