What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

hodan ibrahimEntrepreneur and business media has created a legend around the entrepreneur. For many reasons, this has helped – increasing the amount of people who choose this career and lifestyle is a great thing for our economies and society. The downside is that the narrative it espouses tells a tale of a successful solo entrepreneur facing all odds and coming out victorious with no less than billion dollar evaluation at the end. It paints the prototypical entrepreneur, often white, as a mythical figure of sorts.

This narrative is dangerous. I bet a lot of people give up because the emphasis is always put on the event – “the end result” – rather than the process of getting there.

I was always told this path would be hard but honestly, if I were to look back 3 years ago and be told what I would have to go through, I have doubts about whether I would have done it. It’s not what you think it is. It’s highs, lows and everything in between. I really believe that entrepreneurs are a type of people -with very specific DNA.

Like Steve Jobs said, unless you love it, there is no reason to be doing. It’s sheer insanity. You have to have the passion to put yourself through it.

I came across a short answer on Quora that sums this up and I liked it enough that I wanted to share it on my blog:

“Because all decisions are yours and THERE IS NO ONE TO PASS THINGS OFF TO AT THE END OF THE DAY – the day doesn’t end.  You have some amount of flexibility in WHICH hours you work, sometimes, but zero flexibility in getting sh!t done.

If you are not a person who gets sh!t done, you will fail.  Any opportunities (re: “luck”) will be worthless – because they are only opportunities.  You still need to ACT on them, and figure out how to maximize them correctly.  You have manage relationships, build your product, figure out your finances, keep your cash, figure out your competition (it’s not always obvious), build, manage and grow your client base, and figure out where the hell it’s all going – while maintaining your own health (physical, psychological and emotional).  Simultaneously.  And optimistically.  While a world of people are telling you you’re basically nuts.

You think that’s not a crapload of hard work?  This is why the e-myth is a myth.  There’s a lot of whitewashing (I have no idea why) on the struggles of entrepreneurship.  It is a hard, crazy mess – you do it because you have love, true passion, and vision for something that must arise on the other side.  That “luck” is friggin’ sheer force of will – you don’t see all the nos that happened before that amazing yes.

Robert Croak, creator of Silly Bandz, said it took him 15 years to become an overnight success.  THAT’s what starting a business is.”

 

By: Hodan Ibrahim

hodanibrahim.com

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