Maybe you’re tired of working for someone else, or you want to reap greater rewards for your hard work, or you want to determine your own future. Perhaps you just have a killer idea you know is going to be a game-changer. Entrepreneurs are not backseat drivers. They’re active participants by nature—they like to explore and learn new things, and build amazing products out of nothing. They’re not necessarily brilliant people with exceptional industry knowledge and business know-how. They tend to seek out challenges. Throughout the lifetime of every business, there are crises and disasters: whether they involve management, finances, customers, employees, or marketing—they will happen. The ability to improvise quickly and knowledgeably is mandatory.
As an entrepreneur, you’re the captain of the ship. If the cook starts a fire, starting a chain reaction that ultimately sinks the ship, you will be held accountable. The entrepreneur is responsible for the overall performance of the startup, but the founders can’t do everything. It’s important to hire well—make up for your own shortcomings by hiring those who exceed where you don’t.
There’s a lot of risk involved in startups. In fact, there’s a good chance that any company you start will crash and burn within the first year. So why bother?
Normal people (non-entrepreneurs) have a natural aversion to risk. They have to be rewarded to take on risks. If the risk is high, the potential payout must be equally high to hold their interest.
Every time we make a decision—no matter how small—we’re calculating a risk/reward algorithm in our brains. Do I skydive, even though I might have an accident and die? Do I try something new at this restaurant, or go with what I know? We’re making decisions like these all day, every day.
In the mind of an entrepreneur, though, that risk/reward algorithm is all screwed up. They care less about the potential payout, and more about the adventure of the risk. Many leave their successful jobs to play the startup game, and end up with a substantially lower income—and that doesn’t bother them at all.
SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION
First-time entrepreneurs are in a hurry. They yearn to get moving, they need everyone to fall in love with their concept, they want to get funded today, and they need the product development to have been done last week. On the other hand, serial entrepreneurs who have been in the startup community for a while realize that success is a journey, not a destination. Stop running, and take the scenic route.
Are you an entrepreneur?
This post is part of our ongoing Start Up Your Startup series.