As an investor, it never ceases to amaze me how many young entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that they have a billion-dollar idea. However, these unrealistic expectations always prove to be their undoing. It’s no secret that I am an advocate and living testimony of the power of capitalism, but come on guys, you have to learn to be real with yourself. Chances are, your “big idea” won’t make you a billionaire overnight. In fact, most billionaires have multiple businesses, investments, and streams of income that help to accrue their billion-dollar fortune. In fact, it’s hard to name an entrepreneur that became a billionaire off of one idea. So with very few examples to follow, why are so many young entrepreneurs so overly confident in their abilities?
Well, it all comes down to a few things that all of these overzealous, millennial entrepreneurs have in common: ignorance, overestimating your skillset, and falling for media hype. With these few things all in action, it has created a very distorted view of what entrepreneurship and business entails. Well, it’s time for a reality check. If you want to achieve real financial success. Here’s how you can avoid falling victim to these common toxic traits.
First off, many millennial entrepreneurs are simply ignorant. Ignorant to the world around them and ignorant to the way business works. Somehow, people have convinced themselves that they can build a billion-dollar business on their first try, and without any hiccups along the way. This is bullshit. If you’ve never attempted to build a business, you have no clue what’s in store for you. Building a business, let alone a successful business, takes a lot of time, effort, pain, and adaptability. If you blindly walk into entrepreneurship expecting things to just fall in place, you have another thing coming. To beat the odds is a difficult task for a new entrepreneur. Yet, somehow a lot of young entrepreneurs have convinced themselves that if they don’t hit big on their first time, they are failures. But what really makes them failures is their inability to pick themselves back up when they get knocked down by the brutal reality of business.
So how can you avoid falling victim to this kind of ignorance? Take entrepreneurship with a grain of salt. Expect that you will have to overcome some hurdles. Understand that you probably won’t get it right on your first shot. That is ok! Understand that which each try comes wisdom and knowledge. The most successful entrepreneurs are willing to make mistakes and learn from them. The reality is you don’t know it all. You never will, but with time and effort, you become smarter and stronger.
OVERESTIMATING YOUR SKILLSET
So many young entrepreneurs want to dive into entrepreneurship without any relevant experience. Well, I am here to tell you, just because you have worked as some top exec at a high profile company, does not mean you know anything about what it takes to build a business from the ground. The skills that it takes to work your way up the totem pole as an employee, is completely different from the skills needed to start your own business. In fact, let’s demolish this idea that anyone can be an entrepreneur. It’s simply not true. Some people are better suited to be an employee and that is ok. Not everyone can handle the amount of accountability, self-discipline, and sacrifice that it takes to build a powerhouse business. Going into entrepreneurship overly confident in your abilities will lead to your downfall because you will quickly find that you were equipped with the right skill sets needed to find success in building a business.
So how can you avoid falling victim to the lack of relevant experience? Your best bet is to seek mentorship. Get together with someone who has their own successful business and pick their brains. Ask them to share their experiences with you, learn what the ends and outs of their days look like. Then decide if you have the skills necessary to be a successful entrepreneur. If not, find ways to build the skill sets you are missing and enhance the ones you already have. Take a course, read, sign up for some online training. Put in the work to build yourself up, after all, you will be the backbone and foundation of your company. Without a solid foundation, your business endeavor will crumble.
Media hype is perhaps the most toxic trait that penetrates the minds of young entrepreneurs. You hear about these “overnight successes” all the time and think if they can do it, I can too. Well, what the media won’t share with you is that “overnight” often means many years of failure that came before that. The media outlets weren’t there for the behind the scenes moments. They didn’t see the years of hard work that went into building the business from the start. They just paint you the picture of what the final product looks like. They make it seem much easier than it really is because news stories have limited context. The stories you read don’t often include how the founder of the business came from a wealthy family and had access to funds that you, the “average joe,” don’t have. The stories won’t share how many times the founders of the mega-successful businesses had to pivot and change their ideas numerous times before getting to where they are today. And because they don’t paint the full picture, this leaves a lot of young entrepreneurs feeling inadequate once their idea doesn’t fall through as planned on the first try.
So how can you avoid falling victim to the media hype? Understand that there’s always more to the story. Entrepreneurship isn’t just some walk in the park. You will hit a wall of two. But that’s the way entrepreneurship works. You have to be adaptable to succeed and it’s often going to take more time and resources than you would have ever expected if you just listen to what the news puts out there. If you find yourself intrigued by a certain company’s success, take the initiative, and do a real deep dive into the founder’s background. That way you can understand what it really took to create the business that stands before you today.
I believe we all can understand the overwhelming desire to make billions and achieve financial freedom, but it’s important to not let your desire distort the reality of things.
Entrepreneurship is hard and building a billion-dollar business is even harder. Chances are, you don’t have a billion-dollar idea right now, but with time, trial, and error, you can develop one. So don’t fall victim to your own ignorance, overestimation, and media hype. If you want to have success as a business owner, you have to set realistic expectations and be willing to put forth the time and effort. Most importantly, ditch the fear of failure because learning from your own failures will create a path to your own successes.