What Makes a Great Entrepreneur
Preface: I am not a great entrepreneur. I would like to think that I’m alright at times, but I’ve made more mistakes than fantastic decisions. I regret 7501 things that I’ve done in the short 2-year span I’ve considered myself one, & unfortunately that number keeps growing. Some of which I look back and physically cringe when I think about — (yes, that bad. For example, letting a television spot air when our new app version just released and it actually didn’t work. Real life, I sucked.)
Regardless, I can tell you what is allowing me to continue to persevere — which is, in my opinion, what makes a great entrepreneur.
Sacrifice — I don’t come from wealth. I don’t have bonds, family money or a savings account; I had the latter (very small, mind you) saved up when I worked measly-paying jobs out of grad school to learn corporate sales. I don’t have it anymore, because let’s face it-I’m an entrepreneur that moved across the country, sold her car & used her savings to put a deposit on an astronomically priced place to live in Los Angeles (price of apartment in Pittsburgh: $550; price of apartment in Los Angeles: $2550). The amount of debt I’ve accrued in the form of credit cards, not paying student loans and probably being sent to collections & other things is sickening, but I know it’s for a greater cause. When you have no clue how you’re going to pay your bills this month, that’s sacrifice.
Scrappiness — Continuing from the last sentence above, “When you have no clue how you’re going to pay your bills this month” you have to get clever and scrappy. When the money you make from the sales you will be making tomorrow will pay your car that’s due the day after, you are forced to be scrappy. Some of the best and most amazing ideas that we’d had and carried out were because we were put in this LITERAL situation. Again, sacrifice — I couldn’t just call up mom or dad to send me some more money because I was in a bind. We had to figure it out. I was at times working my startup and then had to go get another job because the money wasn’t coming in on time! You do what you have to do. When your back is up against the wall, the best ideas are had — this is a true story, and I can attest to it wholeheartedly. When what you’re doing is putting your back up against a wall, time to change a few things…or you’re literally fucked.
Patience — Everything takes 3243309x’s as long as you expect it to. No words on this, just wait it out. C’est la vie; it is what it is. Just accept it and do what you can, but some situations you can’t control no matter how hard you try.
Discipline — You know what you need to do, and you do it. Again, doesn’t need an explanation. Just ask a bodybuilder how we live our life: we know what we need to eat down to the gram and when to eat it, what we need to train at the gym, exactly how much cardio we need to do, the fact that we can’t go out/be social/drink, must be in bed by 9 and up by 5 all of the other incidentals that make our physical appearance un-fucking-real. Carry this discipline into the real world of entrepreneurship and you’re surely not going to fail.
Passion — Love what you do. Love what you do. Love what you do. It’s contagious! I love my life. I love every tear I’ve cried out of stress, sacrifice, joy, happiness, sadness, laughter over the past two years because I wouldn’t trade RenewU for anything. I created this business because I truly believe that it will help people. Help people who currently had no solution or way to be helped. Working with the overweight, self-conscious & sick population truly made RenewU what it is…and has allowed for this dream to flourish to help everyone in some way, shape or form. Don’t forget, as if I haven’t said it enough, love what you do. Believe in it. Don’t care about success or money, care about why you started it in the first place. It might take a while, but someone somewhere is bound to believe in it (and you) too.
Tenacity — You are the only one who decides whether your business succeeds or fails. YOU THROW IN THE TOWEL you fucking quitter. Do you want to win or lose? It’s up to you. I’ve been a single-person athlete my entire life (gymnastics, track-cycling, bodybuilding) because I like to win. Myself. Not a team of 6 people. I’m used to pulling my weight and accepting when I’m wrong, when I fucked up and when I’m right I feel awesome. I will never give up no matter what I need to do, I’ve already been to hell and back and would do it 5 more times. The only time a start-up fails is because their founders are quitters. Homejoy is a bunch of pussyfooters who has no passion or drive or competitive nature in their life — “yep, we suck, We’re just going to close down”. Shut the fuck up losers.
Winners persevere. We know what needs done and will do whatever it takes to get there. Many times people overlook you because you might not fit the stereotypical description of what an ‘investable entrepreneur’ looks like, but once they put the stereotype aside and get to you know…and see you have these qualities… and see that you’re paying your bills with the money you’re bringing in because you simply have no other choice, they will be batting for your team. Just don’t throw in the towel because it’s hard, nobody wants to be a quitter.