If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, know this: Entrepreneurialism is not a goal.
Last week, I was mentoring a few college seniors who are getting ready to enter the workforce. One wanted to be an entrepreneur, so she asked me what advice I had for her. My advice came in the form of a question that gave her pause: what problem did she want to solve that no one else was currently solving? Deer, meet headlights.
She had no business in mind. She had no problem she wanted to solve. She just wanted to be an entrepreneur because her dad was an entrepreneur. That’s it.
I’m always concerned when people covet the entrepreneur label or think “it runs in my blood.” If one sees entrepreneurship as a goal, that means they have underlying associations of what it means and the lifestyle it provides. Perhaps they don’t’ want a boss, want to make lots of money, or believe other myths of entrepreneurship. Maybe they see other entrepreneurs “crushing it,” or crave the cool fast-paced aesthetic glamorized by media, not understanding how often entrepreneurs lie.
Entrepreneurship is really hard
The decision to be an entrepreneur should only be made when a problem needs fixing, and either no one is fixing it. In a way, no one chooses to be an entrepreneur, it chooses them.
I became an entrepreneur because no one was doing digital PR and content strategy in a way that benefited the client, content producers, and journalists. Lots of legacy PR brands still rely on email list blasting to reporters and don’t care a lick about actual original stories. They also don’t value digital content, SEO, or see reporters as people. Because I was having success and a few companies asked for my help, I promised to help out. I did well, and it turned into a 6-figure business for me.
It’s not a cakewalk, however. There is no IT department. There is no web department. There is no accounting department. If I want help, I pay for it. If I screw up, it comes out of my paycheck. If a client leaves, I take an immediate pay cut. If that bothers you, don’t become an entrepreneur.
BUT if there’s a major problem you must solve or else it will drive you crazy the rest of your life, and the risk of complete failure doesn’t bother you: maybe you should become an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurialism is a journey to fix a problem you must solve. Entrepreneurialism is not a goal.