For entrepreneurs, startups are the first introduction to the challenge that business is. It’s the first date. More often it gets abusive and downright humbling while it could be enriching, life changing, or rewarding when it kicks off the trouble zone. Entrepreneurs are incorrigible aspirants. They are believers. They put everything they have into a single idea to see it to fruition. They mount themselves on the path of extreme challenge. Startups are all of that and much more. We aren’t going to dwell on “all of that and more”. We’ll see what happens to you: the daredevil entrepreneur who braved the path of uncertainty!
Justified Dreamer with Never Ending Due Diligence
The power of thinking beyond what’s possible, the sheer scope of vision, the fun of creating something out of nothing, the act of going at it alone, the delight of pouring life into an otherwise ridiculous idea – these are traits that successful entrepreneurs justifiably boast of.
That’s just the beginning: there’s tons of work behind every self-approved idea that entrepreneurs run after. The tasks you’d start out with would be typical but the way you carry them out and the resources you’d turn to would vary greatly. On average, you start by thinking of a brand name, a corporate identity design (try OnlyDesign), registering a domain name, figuring out the best hosting provider (head over to Who Is Hosting This) setting up a website, and pouring everything you’ve got into marketing your business (HubSpot can help you), taking orders, delivering the goods, and keeping your customers happy.
That’s the kind of easy dreaming that entrepreneurs do. It’s cool.
Courage? Conviction? Leap of Faith? Been There, Done That.
The difference between most people and entrepreneurs–whether or not they were successful or blundered through multiple failed startups–points clearly to three things: courage, conviction, and taking that leap of faith. Call it stupidity, insanity, eccentricity, ego, or whatever else you’d like to call it, but entrepreneurs are much like trapeze artists, cliff jumpers, and skydivers, except that entrepreneurs have to do the unthinkable every single day (or at least live with the jump long after it’s over).
Who in their right minds would leave cushy corporate jobs, peace of mind, along with riskless and rewarding jobs (sometimes with perks such as company cars, homes, and paid vacations)? Entrepreneurs. Why would anyone sane enough want to hunt for clients, spend 16 hours a day every day, forego vacations, forget weekends, and slog through a dream? Because they choose to.
Entrepreneurs take the leap of faith. They are the biggest group of commercial adrenaline junkies you can find.
Ideas, Improvisation, Innovation
In school, you did as you were told and then you passed some exams to get some grades. College followed suit. You then have two options: employment or entrepreneurship. While employees have to think of ideas, improvise during the course of their career, and innovate to enrich their careers, it’s not life critical. It’s not like if employees don’t, they’d lose their jobs.
When employees don’t ideate, innovate, or improvise, they just get a slightly lower rating than their peers. When entrepreneurs cannot ideate, improvise, innovate, and keep their wits about them, the repercussions go deep: from losing a day’s paycheck to going hungry for life.
Confidence can never be skin deep. Wearing Armani Suits and Rolex watches while driving a super exotic car down the winding roads of European tarmac stretches doesn’t exude confidence; it just shows how much your money can buy.
Entrepreneurs are confident from the trenches—it’s the raw form of confidence we only get to see in battle-hardened generals and experienced veterans. Entrepreneurship has a way to bring out the best in you quite early in business life.
That, in turn, makes you super confident about business, and about life in general. Further, entrepreneurship makes you street smart, calculative, and guarded. As a business owner, you also become a good judge of character all the while being tempered down to “classy and elegant” by others, thanks to all the ups and downs you had to face while running your startup.
People Skills? Check.
People create problems (barring natural holocausts). You, as an entrepreneur, are in the best position to deal with them in general. While running a startup, you first went out looking for a partner, then for an investor. Somewhere along the line, you met your first client and then your 100th client. Managing clients demands an entire book by itself, but we aren’t getting there now.
You then had to hire your first precious employees. All the while, you had to make sure you bring out the best in them while retaining them. You trained them, convinced them, and led them to wherever your startup is today.
How many people did you have to deal with? Assuming no one person was the same, what kind of a super human would it take to keep your sanity about and make deals happen while interacting with such a large group of people on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis?
Irrespective of how your business is doing, you are certainly doing fine. You are learning skills no business school can teach and no book can hope to even get started.
Psychologists and certified behavioral analysts, please move over.
The Sweet Success of Failure
Pick up any random 10 people you know in your life. Ask them to “fail” at anything. Will they? Chances are that they won’t. They might not even consider failure (check out Failure Is An Option). As a startup entrepreneur, you understand failure though. You regard it as a hard-nosed teacher capable of stripping you bare naked to give you the lessons you need.
When other people fail, they usually have second chances.
When a startup fails, it’s the end of the company. The business just closed shop. Nobody will have anything to do with it—that’s why they call it “insolvent.”
You do have a chance though. You can climb back up the pole and begin another startup. After firing all your bullets, you build yourself a new gun. After wading through the bottomless abyss, you dry yourself in hellfire.
Entrepreneurs will do that and that’s understood. What’s not understood is the sheer resilience and uncanny nature of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs don’t flirt with failure; they embrace her with open arms.
It’s irrelevant whether your startup succeeds or not. What matters is what happens to you at the end of the totem pole of entrepreneurship. You’re transformed, that’s what happens.
Rohan advises premium clients in the capacity of a search strategy specialist at E2M Solutions and digital user experience consultant at OnlyDesign.org. Catch him on Twitter for a chat on any of these areas.