Young entrepreneurs believe that entrepreneurship is the Powerball. They believe that they need an idea, and then they want to collect money from strangers to place the largest bet possible. The outcome they seek is hitting the right combination of numbers and become rich beyond their wildest imagination when they go public or flip the business. The entrepreneurial ethos is about private jets, parties, and disruption of the status quo. It’s a status symbol. It’s signaling. It’s a theory, really.
This popular conception is not entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is starting a business and assuming the risk of doing so. Collecting other people’s money means you have investors, but it doesn’t make you an entrepreneur when you don’t have real skin in the game.
The person that graduates from trade school and starts a plumbing service with a single truck, a set of tools, an ad on Google, and a website and phone number is an entrepreneur. The plumber who grows big enough to need a second and a third truck and has to hire two people to help run his business is the real entrepreneur. The plumber finds the money he needs to grow by acquiring customers at a profit, investing those earnings in the trucks and equipment necessary to grow the business.
The thought of giving part of their business to a stranger who only wants them to return double the amount given in 60 months would seem outrageous to the plumber. Allowing an investor to have control would be the opposite of why the entrepreneur started their business in the first place.
Why Start a Business
To our entrepreneur, in this case, our plumber, it’s anathema to consider building a business to flip it. The business is not a get rich quick scheme, it is get wealthy slowly scheme, a difference of a magnitude nearly impossible to describe in words. The entrepreneur doesn’t believe that entrepreneurship is glamorous, least of all the work of plumbing. But they are highly profitable, independent, and have better parties than most of the people who mistake the popular idea of entrepreneurship with real entrepreneurship.
The entrepreneur assumed the risk, and for their trouble, they own their business free and clear. They started the business because they believed they could create value for other people and build something around what they do well, maybe better than anyone else. They have a sense of freedom that comes from controlling their own destiny, doing what they want to do when they want to, and growing the business at the speed that makes sense for them, some with massively aggressive goals, and others who prefer a lifestyle business.
To our entrepreneur here, owning and running their business is winning the Powerball. Evaluate your motivations. If you don’t want to be the plumber, you will find entrepreneurship difficult.