I’ve been an entrepreneur since before it was cool – long before Mark Zuckerberg and a generation of seemingly instant billionaires hijacked the term and forever sexualized a pursuit most entrepreneurs know to be anything but sexy. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, where Sundays were spent preparing for the work week to come, not on football and beer, where cocktail parties looked more like strategy sessions, and where nighttime reading included titles like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, “On Becoming a Leader” and of course “How to Win Friends and Influencer People”, rather than the fictional works of Agatha Christie, Jackie Collins or Stephen King. So here’s my definition of what is an Entrepreneur.
So you want to become an Entrepreneur?
I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug seemingly from birth. As early as the age of 3 I habitually did not open the toys I was gifted, because somehow I knew they’d be worth more money in their original boxes somewhere down the line. I opened my first bank account at the age of 11; my absolute favorite hobby was my weekly bike ride to the bank where I would deposit every penny in my wallet, gleefully returning home cash poor because I was committed to investing in my future. I started my first business at the age of 12 – a memorabilia resale operation that turned a profit from Day 1.
And for all of my adult life, I have been an entrepreneur. So I’d like to take this time to clear up some common misconceptions of what entrepreneurship really is, and prepare the reader for a life unlike any other.
Entrepreneurship is perpetual seduction by your passion, an inability to focus on the seemingly mindless or mundane because your singular focus is the task at hand. Entrepreneurship is turning down invitations to parties, going to sleep when the score is tied and the game is heading into overtime, and having friends in countless different circles, all of whom provide an instantly definable utility. Being an entrepreneur means becoming quite acquainted with failure. In fact failure becomes both your best friend and worst enemy, a constant reminder of the challenge ahead and the goal yet to be accomplished. Most entrepreneurs I know would readily admit that they have spent exponentially more time in a state of failure than in one of success, that is if they’ve ever actually experienced even one moment of success.
The Struggle of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is a mind-blowing struggle, where each thought, idea and notion inherently leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another. It’s like trying to stop a Ferrari that’s gliding down the freeway. It’s like a bullet that’s seconds away from piercing through your sole. Entrepreneurship is living in a constant state where you feel smarter, more impassioned, more devoted and more misunderstood than everybody else you know. Because you are.
Entrepreneurship is a conscious choice to follow the road less travelled, triggered by an unconscious desire to live a singular life. Entrepreneurs are not motivated by riches or power or success, nor are Lamborghinis, private jets and Oceanside villas appropriate symbols of our ideals. Far from it. We are driven by our obsession – whatever it may be – to make a difference. To leave our mark. Dare I say to change the world. We want to prove others wrong; sometimes we want to prove ourselves wrong. We want to define our own restrictions, or lack thereof. We want to chart our own course rather than meekly subscribe to the path society has set for us.
Entrepreneurs don’t always start their own businesses. Sometimes they are the change agents big corporations need to evolve and small companies need to exist. Entrepreneurs relish any challenge, and will stop at nothing to overcome any obstacle. Every conversation with an entrepreneur is enlightening – for both parties – because entrepreneurs have an innate ability to impart knowledge and inspiration and invaluable life lessons but they are also always looking, always searching, for knowledge, inspiration and life lessons they themselves can co-opt.
Above all else, entrepreneurship is purpose. It’s a reason for living that doesn’t require any higher power nor superfluous tangible possessions nor approval from anybody but the entrepreneur himself. It’s equal parts bliss and paranoia, effort and luck, misery and elation. In my humble opinion, it is the only life worth living.
This guest post was from Jason Metz of Brand Influencers. You can contact at the resources below or learn more from him in our Secret Academy.
President, Brand Influencers LLC
Twitter – @MKTGInfluencers