Early in his career, Sir Nicholas Winton was a stockbroker; in later years, he worked for international relief organizations and other charities. But for 50 years, nobody knew his greatest achievement and contribution to humanity.
We often celebrate entrepreneurs for being dynamic business leaders. That’s a good thing, but entrepreneurship itself doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with making money. A professor at Harvard Business School put it best: it’s about the “pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
That’s why I’ve insisted that the best book about entrepreneurship has absolutely nothing to do with making money, and it’s why we can look at people who start nonprofits, or who assemble teams to accomplish amazing goals that have nothing to do with business–and call them great entrepreneurs.
Nicholas Winton was a truly great entrepreneur.
How many times have you listened to a friend or loved one wax poetic about the brilliant idea that came to them in the shower? Really. Think about it.
How many pitches have you heard in your life for a new product, business venture, service, or invention? Can you come up with a number?
Or, how many times have you been the one to bend the ear of a friend or your spouse about the brilliant innovation that “just came to you,” as if in a dream?
And now, how many of those ideas — from others and your own — have actually moved past the idea stage and turned into something real?
You have to be confident to be an entrepreneur. Not 100 percent of the time, but it takes confidence to leave the security of a steady paycheck every week for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship. We know the stats about business-failure, which is why that confidence and fearless attitude are so important.
Too often, however, entrepreneurs use that confidence to cover up what they are struggling with inside. They don’t want to admit or show any weakness. They think they can “work it out” or that those struggles will magically go away on their own. They don’t want the outside world to see in cracks in the armor.
Ready to launch your own business in 2015? You’re not alone: Each year at CorpNet we see an uptick of new businesses formed in January. The New Year marks a new beginning, and what can be more fulfilling and exciting than making things happen with your own business?
As a serial entrepreneur myself, I wouldn’t trade the opportunities and exhilaration for anything in the world, but I also realize that launching and running a business isn’t for everyone. While you can’t prepare yourself for every aspect of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, here are six important questions to ask before you quit your day job and dive in:
1. What’s your motivation?
People are drawn to start their own business for a variety of business. Some hate having a boss, are tired of the morning commute, and feel they can do it better on their own. Others want to see the startup riches: get sold to Google, get tons of cash and retire early.
In the challenging cut and thrust world of the entrepreneur, it’s all too easy to let the mundane aspects of life slip by. Making a Will is one of those things. We all think we have plenty of time, with more important or pressing things to do right now in launching or growing the business.
Given the uncertainty of the future, this can prove a costly mistake should the worst happen. Are you sure your hard-won business assets will land in the right hands when you’re gone? Entrepreneurs work long, hard hours to build their businesses, yet it can vanish in a flash if you don’t make your wishes plain by writing a Will.
There’s a lot of content out there telling you to go forth! Start a business! but the truth is, not everyone should start a business. If more of the 80 percent of small businesses that fail had but hesitated and considered why they were getting into business, we’d probably have fewer businesses and more successes in those that did exist. If any of these reasons ring true, you do not need to become an entrepreneur:
Remember Jeff Foxworthy? The comedian made a splash back in the ‘90s with his (slightly un-PC) “You might be a redneck” routine. Among his classic one-liners: “If you own a home that’s mobile and five cars that aren’t … you might be a redneck.”
Well, inspired by Jeff, I’ve been thinking about a “You might be an entrepreneur” routine—in other words, slightly unexpected signs you’ve got what it takes to go through the thrilling, punishing, life-changing experience of starting your own company.
Yes, you’ve got to be passionate, resilient and all that other good stuff. But there are more subtle qualities needed, as well. Networking with other entrepreneurs over the years through Hootsuite and working closely with young up-and-comers through my foundation The Next Big Thing, I’ve noticed that a lot of us share some common personality traits. So, without further ado, you might be an entrepreneur if…