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Introspection 18 months later, are you an entrepreneur?

31 Jan 2011

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 put up with 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.

Do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur

And more specifically what business path best suits you? I first considered the question at the end of 2008, and again in 2009. Last year I stopped asking, I knew.

Franchises were a poor fit, besides the high capital cost of entry, I wasn't interested in becoming a store manager in a predefined business and handing over the majority of profit to a third party. I needed to know I'm capable of coordinating and crafting a sustainable business, yet I knew very little of what makes a nascent startup work or fail.

I scoured the web for every morsel of business building I could. My early discoveries were Seth Godin's blog, Squidoo, ThinkVitamin by Ryan Carson, and videos on OpenForum, and not long after Fred Wilson's blog. Twitter and Friendfeed opened up the doors to an incredible variety of entrepreneur and supporting blogs and businesses.

Without walking the hard road, it's impossible to know what you're capable of

The majority of my thoughts on startups are covered in posts here, but one stands out on the entrepreneurial decision "to be or not to be": Gut Check, Are You an Entrepreneur? (the source of the top quote). The question presumes a binary answer, either you are or you aren't. Yet within the tiny fraction of the startup world I've glimpsed, there's a rich and beautiful diversity of roles that nurture new business. Founders, cofounders, angel and VC investors, early employees, VPs of product/sales, sales staff, executives, financial pros, and one of my favorite roles, evangelists. The folks that work these jobs all play necessary roles in the growth of a company on its journey to becoming real.

Relavant posts:
Should you really be a startup entrepreneur? a guest post by Mark Suster on TechCrunch.

Dave McClure breaks it down in Seattle:
[iframe http://player.vimeo.com/video/15799330 400 225]
Why Not To Do a Startup - Dave McClure from Seattle20 on Vimeo.