How To Succeed As An Entrepreneur- In Spite Of The Haters

All successful entrepreneurs are rich, and they have complete control over what happens in their businesses. They don’t pay enough in taxes and weak regulation allows them to get away with anything.

Sound familiar?

This public perception discourages many people from entrepreneurship. The public perception- along with other challenges- can make the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur difficult. However, there is a pathway to success, for those who are willing to work hard and take risk- and those who ignore the haters.

I was asked this question on Quora:

“What is the biggest problem that entrepreneurship itself is facing right now?”

My answer is listed below, along with some other thoughts….

Entrepreneur porn

I loved Daniel Ndukwu’s answer to this Quora question. Here’s a great quote about “entrepreneur porn”.

“We see entrepreneur porn all over the internet and the news. The stories of brave founders quitting their jobs, tackling the wilderness of business, and exiting at $100,000,000 or more.”

It’s the perception that working to become an entrepreneur is a “Money For Nothing” process. It’s easy- and seems alittle unfair to people who are not entrepreneurs.


As Daniel points out, this does not describe the experience of most entrepreneurs- but this is the public’s perception of the situation. This is the biggest problem entrepreneurs face- but there’s a way to succeed, in spite of this warped perception.

The reality is that the vast majority of entrepreneurs (present company included) work very hard, take on a large amount of risk- and we do it because we’re passionate about something. Wayne Dyer, the author and spiritual philosopher, once said that if you do something and you lack passion, it’s like dressing up a corpse. It’s probably dull and not very meaningful.

I’d like to define entrepreneurship, discuss risk and the misperception of failure- and offer a path to succeed as an entrepreneur.

The definition

An entrepreneur is defined as “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” Now, this definition should bring a few thoughts to mind. First, it’s important to realize that an entrepreneur has responsible for everything. The owner may not do everything, but he or she must manage every process, including marketing, sales, fulfillment and accounting.

The other key word in the definition is risk- let’s talk about that.

Accept the reality of business risk

Successful people in every walk of life take risk. Risk- at some level- is unavoidable if you want to achieve success. A football quarterback may throw a deep ball into a tight spot to get that touchdown and win the game. The base runner may stretch a single into a double to get the winning run in scoring position. This risk taking may result in an interception or the base runner getting tagged out.

Actors are another great example. A good director may keep the camera running when an actor takes a risk to get a better performance. This article explains that challenges that Quentin Tarantino faced in making Django Unchained. In one scene, Leonardo DiCaprio cuts his hand on a glass- and the cameras keep rolling. The result of taking this risk was a more powerful scene.

The challenge for entrepreneurs is that risk taking is thought of as a negative. Many people see it as reckless, irresponsible. As an entrepreneur, you’re taking an informed, planned risk. Most people don’t understand that fact.

Acceptance of failure as gaining wisdom/ growth

I love this this quote about experience:

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”

Entrepreneurs see failure only is a chance to gain wisdom, make changes and try again. I recently read this post by Nathan Bashaw. He gives the reader an unflinching account of what went wrong in his business- and how he intends to make changes and move forward with his venture.

To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to accept failure as only temporary- and a change to grow professionally.

How to succeed

So, let’s stop on a positive note. Here are some key steps to succeed as an entrepreneur.

· Write a formal business plan: Decide what problem your product or service solves, what people are willing to pay for it- and how large the market is for your product.

· Get a mentor: Find someone who works in your industry who you can bounce ideas off of. If that person is hard to find, search for another entrepreneur who is farther down the road of success.

· Mastermind group: In addition to a mentor find a mastermind group- and small group of people who are entrepreneurs. You can find people who are passionate about what they do- and are perfectly willing to help people who are on the same difficult (but rewarding) journey.

Don’t apologize

The world should thank you for choosing the difficult- but rewarding road- of working as an entrepreneur. You work generates tax revenue, jobs, and innovation.

So tell those haters to lighten up(!)

Ken blogs at Accounting

If you liked this post, recommend it.

Ken writes blogs, articles, and book on accounting and finance, and produces video training for clients.

Image: Tightrope walker, Martin Taylor, (CC By 2.0)