Too often, you meet or read about people who claim to be ‘entrepreneurs’; but, who, in reality, realistically have very little possibility of actually becoming one. Why? Excuses. Chances are, you have used one of the excuses I am about to describe at least once in your life already. It would be a lie if I told you I hadn’t. Don’t allow these three weak excuses to bar you from capitalizing on your true entrepreneurial potential.
- Human Relationships – It’s very likely that, at some point, the entrepreneurial career path you dream of has been put off because of or come second to the idea that you feel the need to instead be a great father, mother, friend, spouse or alike. Since when should the great career you envision come second to these relationships? Use these strong relationships as sources of encouragement as you to pursue your entrepreneurial career, not as a shields from it. I understand and fully acknowledge any lack of credibility caused by this preaching coming from a single, 22 year-old; but, think about this: When people think about entrepreneurial legends like Einstein, Edison and, more recently, the late Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban (IU grad, woot woot!), nobody thinks about their families. Nobody thinks about who Einstein dated in his 30s or who Mark Cuban goes home to after shooting an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank. What is remembered about these great entrepreneurs is how they each changed the world in their respective fields. I’m not saying that relationships aren’t important – after all, networking and family are behind almost all successful entrepreneurs. The point is this: don’t use them as an excuse. Strong relationships and professional passion should be a complete package, not a sacrifice of one or the other.
- Time – Lack of time should be one of the last excuses for not pursuing your goals. I currently put in 49-55 hours a week for a large company, and then come home to spend another 15-20 hours each week doing business planning for my own ideas and ventures. I also like to pretend I have an exciting social life that demands a couple hours a week. Trust me, you have time. But, perhaps, it’s currently filled with other activities that won’t benefit you in the long run. Build time into your day for the things that are most important to you in life, just like exercise or meetings. If you’re one of those people that need eight hours of sleep in order to function the next day, you have chosen the wrong career path. Cut back a couple hours of sleep or TV watching. If nothing else, if you must watch TV or browse the internet, use that time to educate yourself on useful topics. Check out the newest TED Talks or get the latest local business news from your local news source. When your idea or startup is truly a passion of yours, beyond the stage of a budding interest, these long hours will not be something you dread doing, but something you gladly incorporate into your life.
- Fear of Failure – Again, if you are looking for a stable, straight forward, financially secure job, entrepreneurship may not be the best fit for you. If your venture is truly your passion, you cannot fail. Sure your business could fail, but you cannot fail knowing that the knowledge and connections you gain from that business will be used to improve and build another, better company. You can eliminate a lot of the risk by properly researching and working out the details of your business to better know your target consumer and what talents you need in your desired team, for example. Lessons learned from past ventures will make you much more prepared to face the next. Every interview I have had thus far has strongly supported the idea that the organization would rather hire someone who has taken a chance to pursue their own venture and failed than someone who stayed with a comfortable path. Failure is more of a teacher than any website, mentor or book could ever be. Embrace it, and move past the fear of failure.
Now, in order to avoid using these excuses, here are a couple tips that I use on a regular basis:
- Goal Setting – If you do not have goals, you won’t ever know if you’ve failed. An easy way to track your goals is to make a white board into a visionary board. Put it somewhere you walk by every day – maybe your bedroom, office, kitchen, etc. Every day you’ll walk past it and, if you haven’t achieved what’s on that board, it should challenge you to make sure that you make moves towards your goals. When making these goals, be specific. Break them down with time frames and paint a picture for yourself. Currently, my visionary board has the following goals listed: buy a bulldog before I’m 25 and name him Zeek, visit Ireland, own a Jeep Commander, and have a career in the music industry before I’m 30. Cut out magazine pictures and quotes if you like. Whatever it takes to make it easier to visualize your goals. Make goals for various stages of your life. Never get comfortable; never settle.
- Recognize the excuses – If any of the above excuses sound like ones you’ve used, do not fear. Not all hope is lost. The best entrepreneurs don’t make the same mistake twice, and once you realize that you have been using the excuses, don’t let it happen again. Know yourself, and fix yourself.
Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of risk and uncertainty, there’s no doubt about that. But, don’t start off at a disadvantage by using these common excuses before you even try to achieve your dream career. Surround yourself with people that will encourage you through the unknown, get away from the TV and start using your down time more wisely and set specific goals that will motivate you to continue with the exciting, crazy field of entrepreneurship.