Victus Spiritus


Gut Check, Are You an Entrepreneur?

20 Jul 2009

steve-blank-at-22Steve Blank at 22

Steve Blank Shares His Life Lessons, You'd be Wise to Listen

In Steve's post at the end of June, Agile Opportunism - Entrepreneurial DNA, he shares his early career experiences. He quit his old job and drove across country to Silicon Valley only to find out he was fired before starting at ESL. Turns out the manager who hired him, didn't have the authority and had been fired. Steve rebounded instantly (maybe the wind got knocked out of him for a moment ;) ), and talked his way into an training instructor job for a beleagured department in a crunch. After less than a couple months of 80 hour weeks Steve shipped out with the test engineers to Korea. His roomate at the time captured the essence of Steve's serendipitous career discoveries, "You’re Not So Smart, You Just Show Up a Lot". That concept goes hand in hand with my simple observation, although they may change course, legendary leader's just don't quit.

If you're planning on building a business, at some point in your life you've gotta ask yourself a few hard questions:

  1. Can I build my own destiny? The how is not as important at the start as the decision to move forward.
  2. What am I willing to sacrifice to create a living/breathing business? Your loved ones will be puttting up with some long hours and mental/emotional distance as your conscious thoughts are consumed by a startup.
  3. Why will customers/employees/founders come to me instead of someone else? The old unique selling point, but this time for your vision.

Some of those questions were at least partially inspired by Felix Dennis. They are questions that need to be asked and answered. It's fine to dream about entrepreneurship or creating your own megabillion dollar world domination corporation, but the realities of that lifestyle are likely not to resemble what you envision (Impact Bias 1, 2). Countless hours of work (and you'll love most of them) will consume any hopes at a social life until your business is breathing on it's own. Delegation, deals, funding, cash flow, awesome customer service, corporate culture commandments, and legal counsel are all part of the journey from abstract concept to concrete corporation. The only ones who willingly go down this road are compelled by an inspiration they can't easily communicate. I can feel this enthusiasm when I work on anything related to a small project I began about a month ago. How long before it blossoms into a business that consumes me?