The greatest lesson learned from the first of my many future failures.
Your friends don’t really support you.
I was ready to launch my new life. My partner and I created a stirring presentation for our two prime investors, Mom and Dad, of Mom&Dad, Paid For College, Inc. And on February 26th 2014, we officially filed the paperwork to launch our LLC. After months of research and planning, day-dreams at our desks about how our products would be different and how this business would change things, the dream was finally a reality. We were wet behind the ears, but we were business owners. We were entrepreneurs! And we were scared shitless.
My introductory lesson in being an entrepreneur was a jarring reality check, the kind of slap to the face you see coming, but aren’t quick enough to brace for. And that is: most people, even the ones closest to you, expect you to fail. And that includes your parents.
Sure, Mom and Dad might’ve cut a check, but to them it was a parenting write-off. An investment they assumed came with much higher risks than reward. Being parents they felt obligated to support your crazy endeavors. Your friends, your family, your teachers, probably not so much.
Regardless of whether the ones closest to you support you, or not, chances are they don’t believe you will be the next Mark Zuckerberg. And that’s alright, to hell with them. You’re going to be the first you!
Society has made people cynical, we can’t just force others to see our vision. But for every thousand naysayers, there’s always a few bright stars who’s passion and skill have driven them to the heights of success. They are often the most willing to help, and are an immensely useful resource for the budding entrepreneur. Use them!
Being a new business owner is an incredibly scary undertaking. To most people the challenges of entrepreneurship are daunting enough to discourage from ever really trying. Don’t let these people get into your head. They are not real entrepreneurs. They only worry about job stability, about taking on debt, about failure, they’re worrying about themselves. Those concerns aren’t meant to “ground” you. They are meant to demoralize you. Ignore them and push forward, always.
Being an entrepreneur is a difficult path that few people embark on. It’s a winding road that can lead to many beautiful places, or some really desolate areas. My first business hit one of those roadblocks, for all intents-and-purposes it should be categorized as a failure. But all the people I met and the lessons I’ve learned have only left me better prepared for my next endeavor. And while I am not happy that I failed, I am confident that I will not fail in the same way, again. That’s how you have to think when you sign up for this kind of life. The allure of the entrepreneurs siren song is a hard one to ignore, that’s why failure is just a part of the charm.
Remember that the next time you tell your friends about your new business idea. You have to expect them to give you a faint smile. It’s easier to move past it that way. But don’t worry, they eventually come around and when they do finally start to support you, thank them with that same faint smile. :)