The Truth About Entrepreneurship

To most people, entrepreneurs are seen as one of two things: You’re either Mark Zuckerberg, wildly successful and famous, or you’re eating Ramen noodles and failing miserably at building a business, app, startup, etc.

You might disagree with that assessment because the only things being put on the front pages of media outlets (and I completely understand you’re reading this on a media outlet) are the stories of the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world. Or Richard Bransons. Or Elon Musks. Or Marissa Mayers. The list goes on.

Best selling author Chris Brogan said it best (and I’m paraphrasing):

“No one wants to see just your before pictures.” 

You know what before pictures are right? Those side-by-side comparison photos of people when they were extremely out of shape and then worked their asses off to get in amazing shape? Yeah, no one has ever wanted to just see the out of shape portion of that comparison photo. In fact, I’d be willing to bet people would turn away from just before photos.

On the flip side, people love after photos. How many fitness magazines are in existence right now? How many gorgeous celebrities have we seen on the covers of magazines, newspapers, TV, etc? How many successful entrepreneurs get featured on prominent news outlets for their successes?

The roller coaster ride that is entrepreneurship is barely talked about. Actually, that statement isn’t completely true. We know that entrepreneurs struggle (before photos), but only when there’s a success story to immediately follow (after photos).

The problem with the majority of entrepreneurship is that it sucks and no one wants to just read about the struggles, the constant ups and downs, the risks that don’t pay off, the tiny lessons learned and the small victories that keep entrepreneurs going. Unfortunately, people don’t realize that’s what happens when you work for yourself or start your own company. They’re only thinking about becoming “the next Instagram” or what their incredibly lucrative exit strategy is going look like.

The truth about being an entrepreneur is that it’s much harder work than showing up to a normal job and getting a paycheck every two weeks.

The truth about being an entrepreneur is that something like 90% of people fail within the first few months and completely give up (missing an opportunity that might be right around the corner from failure).

The truth about being an entrepreneur is that there are rarely successful exits, especially ones of the billion dollar variety.

The truth about being an entrepreneur is that barely anyone will want to see or talk about your struggles and early phases. There’s a slim chance your idea could get some attention, but it’s highly unlikely unless you have credibility or existing connections.

The truth about being an entrepreneur is that it’s downright hard and lots of people are going to doubt you along the way.

But you shouldn’t let those truths discourage you.

Use those truths as motivation to understand the world of entrepreneurship; whether you’re starting your own company, building your own business or creating something unique.

There will always be exceptions to the rule, but there will never be another Mark Zuckerberg or Instagram. Strive to carve out your own path and know that it’s not going to be an easy road but that you control your own future.

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