I talk to quite a bit of people and when they find out what I do and the subject matter you would be surprised about how many entrepreneurs there are out there. Like jumping out of the wood work, or ants at a picnic, or flies on … well you get the idea. Lots of them, and they all got “this idea,” you know surprisingly similar to “that idea” you got, but it’s different…it’s in their head, not yours. You know what I mean.
Okay, there are a fair amount of maybe not real entrepreneurs—but not quite wannabes either—who are stuck in the middle and were just too scared to go for it. I call them scared entrepreneurs, and they are afraid of losing what they currently have. I think that is a real thing to be afraid of, losing stuff that you spent a life time to acquire is pretty scary, and the fear of loss is some pretty powerful stuff.
So let’s discuss that a little, your fear and your stuff.
Let’s start with the fear. Four out of five small businesses fail in the first couple of years. I can make it sound even scarier by saying eight out of 10 or how about 80 out of 100? There is madness to all these people starting these businesses and losing EVERYTHING—like lemmings going over the financial cliff.
According to the SBA, there are about 400,000 or so startups every year in the US, and yes, 80% don’t survive, so that means give or take 320,000 will die a few years later. Since this has been going on for some time, about 320,000 die each year, give or take. If you look at the actual number it’s actual higher, but that might be an abnormal trend, but you get the point—most don’t make it.
I’m not helping that fear thing am I?
But then why on God’s green earth do people keep doing it?
Because maybe you don’t lose everything, maybe you actually gain something and then try it again.
Remember, to be an entrepreneur you need to TRY—it is not required that you succeed. You don’t have to win every time. You only have to win once, but you can try as many times as you want. All of a sudden, trying isn’t such a bad thing; you just have to figure out how to keep some stuff if you are one of the people who fail.
Back in the day my Dad and I used to go drag racing, and we used to say “Either we WIN, or we LEARN, but you can’t do both.” We LEARNED a lot, and then we started WINNING.
So yeah, you might not win, but you learn a lot, and it doesn’t need to be fatal … to you.
If you’ve ever heard the term “serial entrepreneur” it means, “I have tried a lot, failed a lot, and haven’t quite figured out how to be a successful entrepreneur yet.” Serial entrepreneur sounds better, plus it a lot shorter.
Okay, so failure might not be so bad. At least you’ll learn something. (This is an important point.)
Let’s discuss on how to make it non-fatal.
The first rule of gambling is to only bet what you can afford to lose. Shall we take a look at what you have, so we then may decide how much you can afford to lose?
I’m going to make some basic assumptions that you are not destitute living in a cardboard box.
What do you have (stuff)?
- A house
- Cars and the usual stuff
Now how much of that stuff do you really own? Like really? I hear the bank owns quite a bit of my house, by the generosity of their heart they allow me to keep it, provided I make a convenient monthly payment. Come to think of it, maybe I don’t own a house; I just rent it from the bank on fixed 30-year terms.
Cars and all the other things that you might owe money on fall in the same category; you don’t really own it, just some percentage of it. Usually a lot less of it that you think.
What about the stuff you do own? Like a paid off car and stuff like that. Here comes the big ah-ha moment… nobody wants your stuff except YOU. The bank will not come and take it, and honestly, for the most part, you will more than likely have to pay someone to haul it away. Of course if you have that original painting that you found in your attic, yeah go ahead and sell it and have enough money to start a business and move on. But, if you fall within the 99% majority of beginning entrepreneurs, the stuff that is “yours” will always be yours, for as long as you take the effort to drag it along with you.
Back to what you really own.
If you’re like most Americans, you own a lot of debt. Sure, there is some equity in there, but probably not enough to settle out and have a big pile of cash.
Welcome to the American dream of owning debt.
So what else do you have to lose?
And those are all very wonderful things, I like those things too, but those are what I call fairy tale future things, and when I am very honest to myself have to come to the realization that I will never retire and that future where I sail away in my yacht just doesn’t happen (I don’t have a boat).
I am the Logical Entrepreneur, not the Fairytale Entrepreneur, but I’m sure that URL is open if you want to take a shot at your own blog. Tinker Bell is looking for a job so you can hire her too.
So right off the bat, Google “why I will never retire” and the short answer is simple. You will probably not have enough money, unless of course you are a successful entrepreneur or you are so high on the food chain at another company that you make a boatload of money.
This sad statement is true for a huge percentage of people around the world, not just Americans. If you think you’re exempt from this reality, you are more fortunate than I and about 90% of the world’s population. Just so we’re clear, retirement does not mean living with your kids collecting Social Security.
Should I scoot over and make some room in the boat? Because the odds state we all in the same one.
Wall Street has wiped out my portfolios and all the savings a few times and then it took years just to get back where I was. The funny part is that I was thankful when it got back to where it was, like they went out of their way for me. But, then I get thinking, why should they have all the fun with my hard earned money? I can wipe it out myself. I going to call it an investment in myself, I’m worth it! My future is worth it.
So what about other stuff to lose? Spouse, kids, family, friends? If starting a business—or at least giving it a fighting chance—has caused you to lose those people in your life, they were already on the way out. You just didn’t get the memo because you were at your job.
So that’s the last thing to lose, my J-O-B.
The net result of these discussions comes out to:
You are afraid to risk becoming an entrepreneur because you don’t want to lose your job on a high risk undertaking, and the proceeds from that job pay for the debt in life. But, because the way life works you never really have enough to be well-off, but you are never really poor either, and therefore you must take on more debt to get the stuff you want and stay with the job to pay for it.
You are officially stuck on a hamster wheel.