Entrepreneur Myths

Friday 18 November 2011 @ 2:46 pm

Entrepreneur MythsI recently saw an article about Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Harvard University, his not quite alma mater. The title of the article was “It’s never been sexier to be an entrepreneur,” and while I completely agree with the sentiment, I worry that some people may think being an entrepreneur is sexy because of the myths they have bought into, not because of the wonderful lifestyle entrepreneurs enjoy. Today, I’d like to address three of these myths and show you why it’s still never been sexier to be an entrepreneur.

 

Myth 1: All I need is that one big idea. While it may be true in Hollywood that a big break can make your career, being a successful entrepreneur means doing a lot more than just having one great idea. If Bill Gates only had one great idea, Microsoft would have never been able to grow beyond the first build of Windows. Even Zuckerberg has to get bigger, better ideas, or else Facebook would never have added much of the functionality that keeps people on there every day. That first big idea gets you started in a business, but you need to be work on getting more to keep up with the rest of the world.

 

Myth 2: My venture needs to become the next Apple/Facebook/YouTube. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: though these successes are fun to talk about, they are the exception, not the rule. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean your business will be on the cover of Time. It means taking direct control of your career and day-to-day life. It means building something that makes you money and does something great. While entrepreneurs often make revolutionary products and services, most only revolutionize their respective fields, not the way the entire world works.

 

Myth 3: I need to quit my job and drop out of school to succeed. Once again, this is not necessarily the case. Indeed, quitting your job before having a solid source of income established to replace your job is financially dangerous. And though some decide that finishing school is not a good use of their time, colleges have many fantastic opportunities available for students, including the chance to earn an education. I not only got a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, but I have spent time working for other people as my situation needed, even after building several businesses.

 

Being an entrepreneur is a great life, and I encourage everyone to try it. There has never been a better time for it. Though building a business requires hard work and stressful sacrifice, it is the best life I know.

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Staring Deep into the Eyes of the Dragon

Monday 8 August 2011 @ 1:35 pm

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “How do you ensure that you’ll be a successful entrepreneur?” Many people think that it requires a high degree of intelligence or some great insight or an extensive network. I continually tell people the number one factor in business, and I think in life in general, is unalterable determination—or in other words, looking your dragons in the eye and spitting on them, despite the fact that they are trying to eat you up.

I love the movie Cinderella Man. The story is of a man who is a professional fighter. He’d previously given up fighting, but because his family is starving, he goes back and faces a Goliath in his life.

There comes a point in the movie where he’s facing the most formidable opposition. This particular opponent is actually known for killing people in the ring. The protagonist takes several hard body blows…and then there comes a point during the fight where he turns and shouts “Hit me! Hit me! Is that all you have?”

He takes blow after blow until he ends up winning the fight despite the brutal beating. Sometimes we have to face such dragons.

Last week I found myself in a tough situation as I was preparing myself for a little respite I’m going to be taking with my wife. I really found myself in an impossible situation, with some factors in my life attempting to dish out every body blow that I could possibly take.

Then I experienced an interesting change that came over me halfway through the week. This change was similar to the change in Cinderella Man.

My approach and my attitude toward my conflicts became. “Is that all you have? Bring it, bring it!” Then I had to proceed to face those dragons and stare them in the eye.

Indeed we will all have intense challenges in our life, but particularly as you face entrepreneurship. The biggest challenge I leave to you is this: As crazy as it sounds, embrace those body blows! Look them in the eye. Fight the dragons. You will reach a level of exhilaration when you get through the challenge. Then go forward, prosper, and enjoy the wonderful ride and life of becoming a small business owner.

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Success is a Bowl of Cherries

Wednesday 6 July 2011 @ 7:18 pm

 

Here’s a mini success story. Check out these two young entrepreneurs who assessed their resources and started a business. Watch them ride the wave in this short video. The Zig Zag Principle really is for anyone who wants to start a business, expand an organization, or just better themselves through goal setting.

I’d love to hear your success stories, both small and grand. Please leave a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or right here on the blog. Happy Zig Zagging.

 

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Rich Christiansen