I attended an entrepreneurship summit recently, where I was asked to help select and distribute an interesting award. Attendees were asked to write down something inspiring they learned at the summit and the best entry would win.
The majority of attendees entered the same mantra from an earlier speaker: Start before you’re ready. However, only one attendee went the extra mile and described what that principle meant to him. He applied the knowledge and was named the winner.
I was impressed by that because, of all the so-called entrepreneurs in the room, he was the real deal.
Thinking about this, I decided to look at my own entrepreneurship efforts (some successful and some not) to see how the “Start before you’re ready” mantra could apply to me. Here’s what I learned:
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.
Entrepreneurs are frequently thought of as national assets to be cultivated, motivated and remunerated to the greatest possible extent.
Entrepreneurs can change the way we live and work. If successful, their innovations may improve our standard of living. In short, in addition to creating wealth from their entrepreneurial ventures, they also create jobs and the conditions for a prosperous society.
The following are six reasons why entrepreneurs are important to the economy.
Better vision, stronger muscles—expectations can have surprising effects, research finds.
There seems to be a simple way to instantly increase a person’s level of general knowledge. Psychologists Ulrich Weger and Stephen Loughnan recently asked two groups of people to answer questions. People in one group were told that before each question, the answer would be briefly flashed on their screens — too quickly to consciously perceive, but slow enough for their unconscious to take it in. The other group was told that the flashes simply signaled the next question. In fact, for both groups, a random string of letters, not the answers, was flashed. But, remarkably, the people who thought the answers were flashed did better on the test. Expecting to know the answers made people more likely to get the answers right.
Our cognitive and physical abilities are in general limited, but our conceptions of the nature and extent of those limits may need revising. In many cases, thinking that we are limited is itself a limiting factor. There is accumulating evidence that suggests that our thoughts are often capable of extending our cognitive and physical limits.
Upstart automaker Tesla Motors TSLA +3.05% won’t sell as many cars this year as Chevrolet sells in 3 days, but its early success with the all-electric Model S sedan is already keeping the competition up at night. An examination of sales data from across the U.S. and in California for the first half of 2013 paints a picture of just why that is. While Tesla delivered right around 10,000 cars through two quarters, those sales appear to be coming at the expense of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Porsche. And Tesla’s sales are remarkably — though perhaps not surprisingly — concentrated in California thus far, with nearly half winding up in the Golden State. As the automaker continues to open new sales and service locations across the country while simultaneously growing its network of high-speed Supercharger stations, things are likely to get a bit worse for the imports.
Saturn V SA-506, the space vehicle for the first lunar landing mission, is rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building and down the 3.5-mile crawlerway to Launch Complex 39-A. Photo: NASA
Space pioneers, super villains, and delusional architects, get your checkbooks ready. NASA is putting its Mobile Launcher Platforms up for sale, and if you’ve got the cash and a business case, you can snag one of three 4,115-ton space shuttle platforms. But you won’t be able to drive it home.
Built in 1967, the trio of MLPs were designed for the Apollo and Saturn programs, and then modified in the ’70s to support the Space Shuttle. The platforms stand 25 feet tall and measure 160 by 135 feet, with an unladen weight of 8,230,000 pounds. Add on an unfueled Shuttle, and it tops 11 million pounds.
But there’s a problem.
By all counts and measures, Bradley Smith is an unequivocal business success. He’s CEO of Rescue One Financial, an Irvine, California-based financial services company that had sales of nearly $32 million last year. Smith’s company has grown some 1,400 percent in the last three years, landing it at No. 310 on this year’s Inc. 500. So you might never guess that just five years ago, Smith was on the brink of financial ruin–and mental collapse.