One thing I genuinely dislike is being called an “entrepreneur”. Lots of people run around proudly pronouncing themselves as “entrepreneurs” and wearing it like some idiotic badge of honour, but I think it’s stupid.
I think entrepreneurialism is a personal quality or character trait that you might have, but labelling yourself as an “entrepreneur” is pretty short-sighted.
For me, I prefer the term “business owner” because I think it conveys that I am building something separate from myself. My business is something that I own, not something that I am.
And I’m very clear about my goals with my business activities as well. I am building something, putting in the effort, expending resources all with the desire to generate profit. It’s a pretty simple thing, to be honest. That’s its purpose, generate wealth for my family and me.
If you’ve been reading these posts for the last few months you’ll remember that when I started Casual Marketer I referred to it as a “project” rather than a business. That was intentional. Casual Marketer was me taking a chance – I wanted to create content, put together the newsletter product and put it out there to see what people though. It wasn’t until late March or early April that I became comfortable that it had become a business and I could start focusing on how to make it profitable.
Many of the special little snowflakes out there who walk around telling everyone who’ll listen that they are an “entrepreneur” talk about a dozen things other than building a business that produces a positive income for them. Many of these people actually scoff at the very idea of profit like they would somehow dirty their wonderful vision with base notions like that.
I browsed through a few Facebook groups today to do some research. I found literally dozens of people talking about “their why”, but not one of those people talked about building a business to turn a significant growing profit.
I found that kind of disturbing.
These specials mentioned things like:
– “I want to help people”;
– “I want to be location independent”;
– “I don’t want to have a job”;
– “I need to create a legacy”;
– “Freedom”; etc…
There was an assortment of other noisy things that almost exclusively revolved around these people’s “feelz”. They had no idea that these things were actually a byproduct of running a profitable, successful business not the actual goal itself.
I even commented on one guy’s thread that he was an emotional cripple and he should sort himself out because successfully starting and running a real business would crush him.
I admit that I shamelessly offered unsolicited advice to a random stranger on the internet, but I couldn’t help myself. Most of the “entrepreneurs” were at least loosely grounded in that they understood the notion that they were going to have to actually produce something. This one guy though, it was all about his wants and his endless list of needs bundled into a thick blanket of vacuous emotional nonsense, but everyone was encouraging him, not one person challenged his rampant crazy – that’s not healthy.
I’ve spoken about celebrating failure before, but it’s really an epidemic. All of these people I saw today talking about their vision quest were being told that it was ok to fail and they’d be better for it if they did. It was like a support group for chronically stupid.
Entrepreneurialism, in my opinion, is an amazing personal quality – having the ability to look at something and be willing to take the risk to solve that problem in a way that you can add enough value whereby you can profit from that solution is awesome.
But the key word in the above sentence is risk. Successful business owners take risks and manage them successfully.
Entrepreneurialism is spotting the opportunity in the risk and building a business is about managing that risk profitably. When you totally dismiss the risk and make it ok to fail, then eventually you will fail… Spectacularly.
Business owners need to have a healthy level of fear of the risk they are taking in whatever they are doing. They have to respect it otherwise they underestimate it.
I think people like to call themselves entrepreneurs and talk about everything else other than profit because that’s easy. They can focus on the “ideas” and the exciting parts rather than the day to day work required to be successful. They can focus on the “transformative nature” of what they are doing rather than the financial success or failure because turning a profit is hard.
And basically, the business owners who are successful, the ones who call themselves entrepreneurs are doing themselves a disservice by using that title. They’ve built something of value and are succeeding in their business. They should talk about their results and be proud of what they’ve accomplished – there’s no ribbon for trying, there are only trophies for winners.