“The entrepreneurs mind is like a child at a picnic. It can be incredibly focused even when the house is burning down all around, or it can lead them to the river when it doesn’t even know how to swim.” – Dr. Ned Hallowell
I’m not sure if Gary Vaynerchuk has had any significant influence here, but it seems lately that everyone is an entrepreneur. There was a time when being self-employed was thought of more like an “artist” or “writer”… you know… someone who hasn’t really figured out what in the world they’re going to do with the rest of their life.
It seems only 10 years ago it was rare that ANY of your friends were self-employed.
But now, everyone and their mother is trying to “make it” bouncing from one idea to the next all while shouting “hustle all day, entrepreneur for life, laptop lifestyle!!!”.
But the danger lies hidden in the energy and excitement of being your own boss. Truthfully, being an entrepreneur is NOT all it’s cut out to be… more on that later.
I love the way Dr. Hallowell puts it “The entrepreneurs mind is like a child at a picnic. It can be incredibly focused even when the house is burning down all around, or it can lead them to the river when it doesn’t even know how to swim.”. There isn’t any better way to say it.
I see a LOT of entrepreneurs get seduced by their own enthusiasm, only to wake up one day lost, confused and broke.
It’s easy to get sucked in. From other independent sales reps for a variety of MLM companies all trying to “make it” by convincing you that you too can “make it” even though they haven’t themselves “made it”… To the advent of the internet and it’s increasingly low barrier of entry to a variety of online business models like drop-shipping, membership sites and coaching courses. To the ease of finding a retail space and hanging up your “open” sign, it’s all very surreal.
And for most, it all ends very badly.
Now, I’m not trying to sound like a downer. Not at all actually, but I want to be real, honest and upfront with you because I DO believe that small businesses are the key to our economy and personal empires.
Think of it this way…
Entrepreneurship is like Hockey, or Basketball, or Football, or what ever sport you like. Yes, some turn pro, make millions and become stars. Yes, some make it part way, jump into college football, lead the OHL leagues, and do alright. BUT, the vast majority, the 99%, never leave the backyard skating rink.
Starting your own business can be the absolute best thing you ever do. You can turn pro. You hit it big. You can take off and have one hell of a ride. Or it can feel like the Drop Zone, a ride that brings you real high into the sky and sends you pummeling down to rock bottom.
And it’s really easy to point a finger at the pro’s who’ve “made it” and whine that they have natural skills that you don’t, and that may be true, but we ALL know – and love – the underdog who made it because they busted their ass off. They had no connections. They had no natural skills. They had no professional court to practice on.
No, they had none of the “fancy stuff” to get going. They had an old cracked stick, a puck and net riddled with holes to practice on. And they practiced day and night.
While others were spending their evenings and weekends out with friends having a good time, they were practicing.
While others were heading to Hawaii for spring break, they were perfecting their skills.
While others headed to the beach all summer, they focuses and burned the midnight oil.
They worked and worked and worked for very little return. In fact, and banker will tell you the ROI sucked. For the amount of effort they put in, they got little in return.
They worked very hard for seemingly no pay.
Until one day, the tables turned and they “made it”, they’re in the big leagues, and all that hard work has paid off. Now, they get paid the BIG bucks for sacrificing all those years of mind-numbing work.
And of course, those same friends at the bar, on the beach, out having a great time will now turn around and call them a “overnight success” and instantly forget about the days, weeks, months, years and often DECADES of work that went into that “overnight success”.
Now let’s rewind for a minute… After that, you might be feeling pumped up and enthusiastic, like you can be that “ONE” that burns the midnight oil and makes it big.
But let me remind you of the very simple fact that nearly every kid in Canada plays hockey, but very few every make it big.
The numbers are staggering, and I’m starting to really see the same in the business world.
Again, I DO believe that entrepreneurship is an incredible opportunity, but like that kid trying make it in the big leagues, there’s a lot that needs to happen first.
From working half days, i.e TWELVE HOURS A DAY, minimum, to sacrificing time – lot’s of time – away from family, to cutting back on holidays, fancy cars, nice clothes and new toys so you can build your business, to missing out on all the “fun” stuff while you grow, to taking the time and money to learn from the pros, to learn from those who’ve made it, to learn from those who can teach you, there’s a LOT that has to happen to go from backyarder to major league pro.
Going full circle, the biggest point I want you to remember is this: Don’t get seduced by the big leagues, by your own enthusiasm, by the energy and passion of being an entrepreneur. Let yourself be motivated by these things, but don’t let them seduce you.
Get a coach. Read a book. Take a course. Seek out mentorship. Study those who’ve made it. Get your hands dirt and put in the WORK.
One last point and then I’ll wrap this up…
Out of all the entrepreneurs I’ve coached, mentored or interviewed in the past, one thing stands true: the ones who made it didn’t waste time, and didn’t complain about being busy.
At a talk I gave last night, I said “Everyone’s busy. We’re all busy. Richard Branson is busy, You’re busy. I’m busy. And if you ask a homeless man, he’s probably busy too.”
Crying “I’m so busy” never helped anyone. There are people 10 times busier than you, and getting 10 times more done.
There’s a big difference between being busy at work, and doing “busy work”.
Don’t just be busy, be productive.
To your success,