I just found out that I was quoted in a Romanian textbook on entrepreneurship. Hhmm… Romania of all places. The quote had something to do with entrepreneurs being risk takers, a trait that all of us in that club share.
I used to think that anyone could be an entrepreneur. Now I’m not so sure. I do a live and online webinar/seminar called “Create Your Own Job” and it’s all about creating jobs the entrepreneurial way. Not about how to start a business, but how to create unique jobs.
As I talk to people to get their input, I’m struck by how many people are afraid of taking even the tiniest risk. Terrified of picking up the phone to call a stranger or doing anything beyond their comfort zone. Many would rather wait until they get a job where someone else tells them what to do and how to do it. Even if it takes months of looking. Even if they have to take a job they hate for low wages.
This is really baffling to me. Part of the fun of being an entrepreneur is taking risk. Granted, there are those adrenaline junkies that are hard-wired to be risk takers, but I don’t think I fall into that category. I like calculated risk. You know, jumping off a mountain with a parachute already deployed (see picture above). Or a roller coaster ride.
But taking risks as an entrepreneur, not even the scariest ones, will ever kill you. That’s why I like to test the boundaries. Once you know that the worst that can happen is that someone will say no to you, why not go for it? What do you have to lose?
I was working with a consulting client who was putting together her first job. It was something that didn’t cost her any money upfront to start, and marketing costs were almost nothing. But it did require her to go up and talk to perfect strangers. She had a great idea and her package was put together nicely, but she just couldn’t bring herself to talk to anyone. It was too risky. Not like it was bungy jumping or anything. But to her, it might as well have been.
To be an entrepreneur you will eventually have to leave your comfort zone. There’s no way around it. But once you jump off the cliff and get over the initial scariness, the adrenaline rush is very powerful.
A “real job” is never as secure as you think. Being an entrepreneur, as scary as it can be at times, is as secure of a job as you can get. I think it’s much scarier to be dependent on a regular paycheck. But maybe that’s just me.
I wonder if there really is something in the DNA of entrepreneurs. Can it be taught? And how can I convey the excitement and adrenaline rush that makes every day an adventure? You don’t have to be brave to be an entrepreneur. You just have to love the challenge and be willing to jump off the cliff.