The Hard Truth of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs Build Businesses

#entrepreneur, #startup, #beyourownboss fill my Twitter feed everyday. Within seconds of opening the Twitter app, I’m bombarded with these hashtags, articles, and people trying to contact me. I don’t even have a large list of people I follow and even fewer who follow me. I’ve heard it said and I’ll echo that Twitter is the open cocktail party of the Internet and everyone is invited, even the #wealth, #dontstop, and #hustle people. What’s with so many trending hashtags around similar topics?

The entrepreneurship and startup culture in the social media space is exploding. With the Internet, we no longer have gatekeepers. No longer do multinational conglomerates control the publishing of books, releasing of software, or distributing goods. We, the people, now have the ability to go directly to the consumer and it marks a tremendous shift in the modern economy.

The Difference Between a Startup and a Small Business

A startup is not a business. It’s the experimental phase to validate an idea and transition it into a stable business model. Most startups fail; that’s their nature. Startup founders go into the project with a business plan. Then they realize their plan may not work with their customers and they change until they get find a working and scalable system. That system turns into a business model and a small business is born. A startup is the precursor to a small business.

The Truth About Entrepreneurship and Freelancing

Entrepreneurs build businesses that are greater than themselves. They set up people and put systems in place so when they are sleeping or away on holiday with their families, they are still making money. Freelancers only get paid for the work they do. If a freelancer isn’t working, they are not getting paid.

The Harder Truth About Entrepreneurship

The even harder truth about entrepreneurship and most freelancers is that many people don’t have the stomach to be an entrepreneur. They think it’s a get rich quick scheme. Just because you have a blog or a few social media accounts, call yourself a professional, and have product or service offerings on your site(s), does not make you an entrepreneur.

I was one of these people. I thought the sheer fact of, “Write it and they will come” would skyrocket me to success. I would spend a few hours a week on my own blogs, publish once a week (maybe), and expect loads of traffic that I could then sell ads against. This was not only a flawed business model of how I was executing, but it was also morally wrong for me. I have nothing against your model if it is to sell AdSense on your site. Do your thing and get your dollar. It is no longer right for me and that’s my line in the sand. I didn’t care about bringing value to my seven readers and my mother. I cared only about how many clicks I could get and there weren’t many.

Many other people do not have that motivation to strike out in a startup to see what can do. They are part of the 47% of Americans who enjoy their job and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would contend, based on my anecdotal experience engaging with “entrepreneurs” on social media, that some people don’t have the mindset to be an entrepreneur. They are in love with the idea.

Bringing Value

Entrepreneurs bring value to their customers. They listen to people and engage their followers. The happiness, wellbeing, satisfaction of their community outweighs anything else for them, including sleep. Entrepreneurs work all the time.

Don’t be entranced by startup or entrepreneurship culture. They have become buzzwords to sell books and counseling services. Look to people who have built bigger businesses than themselves and those who make money aside from selling you a speaking engagement. Business is simple; the customer has a problem and you are there to fix it at a reasonable price. Figure out if you are a dreamer in love with an idea, stuck in startup land, a freelancer, or are truly an entrepreneur looking to build something self-sustaining.

The question of the day: What are you? The dreamer? Startup? Freelancer? Business builder? Hobbyist? Please comment below.

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