Ask This Question, and the Answer Will Tell You How Hard an Entrepreneur Is Working

Spend enough time in entrepreneurial circles, and you’ll learn all the buzz phrases:

“Yeah, so we’re working on a content platform that syndicates shareable information between media companies.”

“I want to solve for great content that goes unaccounted for, and create a viral hub for empowered content creators.”

“We’re building a brand-new platform that’s going to solve a technological pain point for hundreds of millions of users, all across the globe, one computer at a time.”

Yup. Sure. Great. Awesome. Got it.

As a 28-year-old entrepreneur, I’ll be honest: I feel lied to.

I feel like nobody told me that big fancy words are used by people who don’t actually know what they’re aiming toward.

I feel like nobody told me that the elaborate titles and the intimidating vernacular people wield are actually distractions from how little they truly know about their industry or craft. I feel like nobody told me that all those high-and-mighty mantras like “You just have to hustle” don’t really mean anything. They don’t provide a real solution to the problem.

I feel lied to, because a lot of the people I watch from afar, the entrepreneurs who preach so much about working hard, actually spend more time talking than they do actually working.

Do you know what question I haven’t been able to answer since I began full-time work for myself, building a company that generates cash and pays employees and keeps clients happy?

“Hey Cole, what day is it?”

Can’t answer it.

I don’t know what day it is. And I haven’t known for almost a year.

I don’t know what day it is because when you’re an entrepreneur, a true entrepreneur, Monday is the same as Tuesday is the same as Thursday is the same as Sunday. The only difference is whom you’re meeting with for coffee, and when. The only difference is what day you have which calls scheduled for. The only difference is what you got done that day.

The actual day, in itself, doesn’t matter. I treat a Saturday the same way I treat a Monday.

But it’s funny how many other people know what day it is — and how many want so badly to leave their 9-to-5 job, and believe they have what it takes to become an entrepreneur, while also whining and complaining and counting down the minutes until Friday arrives.

They still know what day it is.
And that’s the problem.

If you want to know how hard someone is working, if you want to know if someone is really building a company and really in the grind of it versus someone who likes to parade the vernacular of their endeavor from coffee shop to coffee shop, just ask them one question:

“What day is it?”

Their answer will tell you everything.

Which means, if you want to become an entrepreneur, then you need to stop thinking about how badly you want to be seen as an entrepreneur.

I don’t even know how to answer the question “So what do you do?”

And the reason is because I’m so in the thick of what it is I’m building, I barely even understand what it’s supposed to look like from the outside. I don’t really care if people see me as an entrepreneur, or a writer, or a speaker, or a bum sitting at Soho House ordering back-to-back Americanos. I don’t care because that’s not what is going to move the needle.

Just like knowing whether today is Friday or Monday isn’t going to make a difference in what gets done. All the matters is that it gets done.

I have found this simple question to reveal so much about a person, and I know it because I feel it every single day. I feel shell shocked when someone asks me what day it is, as if I were waking up from a dream: “Oh, yeah, there are days in a week, aren’t there?”

Maybe I’m disorganized.

Or maybe I’m tunnel-visioning so hard that I couldn’t care less.

But I’ll tell you this much: not knowing what day it is feels like I’m flying.

And I think that’s the point.

This article originally appeared on Inc. Magazine.

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