13 Thoughts on Being an Entrepreneur
I started this post off wanting to make a list of things entrepreneurs shouldn’t say, or things real entrepreneurs don’t do, but because this is Medium, I’ve come to realize that it feels more like a journal and so it feels more appropriate to talk directly about myself rather than some of the other places I write or do videos.
While on vacation with my family, I’ve been reading and engaging on Twitter a lot more, and it’s lead me to a whole lot of people talking about being entrepreneurs. Now I’ve long been saying that people can become “fake entrepreneurs” because it’s the trendy thing to do. A Hollywood movie comes out, and all of a sudden script-kiddies think they can put a hoodie on and become the best thing ever (that plus there are certain practicalities to becoming en entrepreneur in the first few years out of school). With all of this talking comes a lot of preconceived notions about what an entrepreneur “should” or “shouldn’t” be, what “real” entrepreneurs say, or what “real” entrepreneurs should do.
I’m not going to write one of those pieces, but what I am going to do is tell you all what works for me. Entrepreneurship runs in my blood, and I feel like I’ve always had a pretty good eye for what works and what doesn’t, so here is a list, in no particular order, of how I’ve felt, and what I’ve done as an entrepreneur:
I have never worried about the bottom line. I have always focused on the top-line revenue.
I have never been on the defense. I have always been on the offense.
Speed has always been more valuable to me than profit. It was always about growing the base, growing the company, and moving quickly.
I never cared what my parents or teachers thought.
I always paid my dues. The amount of 23-25 year old entrepreneurs who are being introspective right now is laughable. I never worried about the short-term effects on my life because I just knew there was no other choice. With me there was only one gear. I just had to do it because my business is my life. It’s my blood. It’s my oxygen. I just wasn’t worried about work/life balance when I was 24.
I never cared what my friends thought.
I never once envied anybody. I couldn’t have cared less about any 27-year-old contemporary who worked on Wall St. and make $200k and drove some fucking fancy car. I really didn’t give a fuck. Want to know something kind of sick? I actually preferred for them to think that they were beating me, because I knew how it was going to net out.
I always wanted to beat everybody. (Even dear friends)
I always thought of entrepreneurship as war. Kendrick Lamar speaks to my soul. I always wanted everybody I competed with to succeed… as long as I succeeded a little bit more than they did.
I always wanted legacy. I was always concerned with how I’d be looked at in the long term. I wanted entrepreneurs to read about me in schools one day. I was just always more concerned with the legacy of it, than the currency of it. And I know I use that phrase a lot. In fact I think I’m turning Legacy>Currency into a cliché for people that follow me. Sorry about that. Wait a minute. No I’m not.
I had a lot of patience. (Still do)
I felt zero entitlement. I think one of the things that most attracted me to entrepreneurship was that nobody was entitled to anything. Even with all of the success I’d had, I loved the idea of starting an agency four years ago with nobody in the agency world knowing who I am, nobody respecting me, and nobody thinking I’d be able to do it. I prefer to be underestimated. I love it. I prefer the climb. Starting over is attractive, not a negative.
I don’t like stuff. Matter of fact, I hate stuff. I don’t want planes. I don’t want cars. I don’t want watches. I don’t do it for any of that stuff.
That’s it for now.
Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur. You can find out more at garyvaynerchuk.com