Dan is a Tech Entrepreneur & Investor based in London. He has over 20 years experience helping people build businesses and implement digital. He enjoyed some spectacular failures and some delightful successes, while working with 300 or so businesses over the past 20 years. He has recently owned, managed or been a shareholder in 12 Startups.
This came from a Quora question that I couldn’t help but answer when I should have been getting on with other things – “What are the common misconceptions of being an entrepreneur”. Let me know if you agree. It’s a fascinating subject and now an active choice for many young people.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 20 years. I’ve started, managed and worked in several multi-million pound startups. Mainly in tech. I’ve done well, and fucked up royally – beautiful lessons as my old business coach used to tell me.
As a caveat, I’ve found there are 3 types that live underneath the term ‘entrepreneur’:
- The Wantrepreneur – The guy or gal that talks about it but never really does anything. This is simply defined by never having made a sale.
- The Business Manager – This is super necessary as a skill BUT you’re NOT an entrepreneur. Managing a business, or sign-writing on a van and going out and selling someone else’s product or service doesn’t count.
- The Entrepreneur – Those that deliver a new way. The notes below only apply to this guy or girl.
Common misconceptions, and what I’m often asked about where the answer surprises people. I’ve tried to avoid the obvious:
- Being an entrepreneur is lonely. And it gets lonelier the more successful you are.
- You’re not your own boss. You have more bosses than when you worked in corporate – Your clients, your team, your partners…
- It’s often really not that cool or awesome. But the magic moments make everything worthwhile.
- You’ll mostly fail. And even when you don’t it can still feel that way. Success comes from getting on ANY road in your general direction, and your willingness to speed up, slow down, change paths, get different people into your car.
- Ideas are like assholes. Everyone has one. Success is mostly in execution.
- You’re not an entrepreneur reeeaaaaally. You’re just a salesman. You have to be able to sell EVERYONE, all of the time. Your energy and how you manage it is EVERYTHING.
- Most successful entrepreneurs I know have mild to severe mental health issues.
- Timing and luck govern success. And they’re really hard to manufacture through hard work. When they say entrepreneurs work hard, it’s mostly because they’re waiting for these elements to kick in.
- More often than not you’ll be more financially successful by getting a job and investing in property.
- It’s a vocation for most. It’s not a choice. And once you’ve crossed to the dark side you can’t go back.