Seventy percent of millennials want to start a company one day, according to a recent survey. A stunning 70%! Entrepreneurship has become hot and sexy thing that everyone wants a share of, and it’s especially popular amount the younger generation. The attractive picture of entrepreneurship seems to offer more time, money, fun, flexibility, tropical beaches, and much more.
Interestingly, every entrepreneur I interviewed asked me “Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?” If you want to be an entrepreneur just because it is cool, hot, and sexy, then it’s time to rethink the reality of entrepreneurship.
Aaron Rasmussen, the Co-Founder of MasterClass (an online platform that offers people access to learn from the masters of different fields), said, “You need to know why you want to be an entrepreneur because the saying is true. Entrepreneurs are the only people who are willing to work 100 hours a week without being paid. It is a tough path to pursue. And if your goal is to make more money or have more free time, statistics show that you are much better off being a senior executive at a big corporation than starting your own business.”
An eye-opening reality is that, Bloomberg estimates eight out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.1 A whopping 80% crash and burn. Another source indicates that 96% of businesses fail within ten years, and the ones that remain standing are not necessarily profitable.
Starting a company is hard. Heck, starting anything is hard. The journey of an entrepreneur is full of challenges, failures, hard work, and pressure from even your close friends and relatives. Without conviction and commitment, giving up seems like a logical option when hard times hit.
On the other hand, there are many successful founders who did not plan to become entrepreneurs. They simply committed to solving a problem they cared about, and entrepreneurship became a tool that served their purpose. Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that starting a company for the sake of starting a company is not a good way to go. Zuckerberg once said in an interview, “People decide often that they want to start a company before they decide what they want to do. And that feels really backwards to me.”
For me, entrepreneurship is attractive for many different reasons. I love being judged by results versus the time I put in, solving problems creatively, challenging rules and status quo, and being in control of my life. I love turning ideas into reality. And most importantly, whenever I start something, I feel an enormous amount of energy, excitement, and happiness.
So why do you want to be an entrepreneur?
More money? More freedom? More power or control of your life? More free time? For love of building and starting things? To look cool? To be judged by your performance? To avoid having a boss? To avoid having a dress code? To control your own destiny? To face new challenges? To add value in a different way? The list can go on and on. Don’t stop until you find answers that are 100% congruent with who you are and what you want to do.
Make sure your expectation actually matches up with the reality of entrepreneurship before go all-in into a startup venture.