I have cut-n-paste this article in its entirety from a blog entry at Harvard Business Review (blogs.hbr.org) because I think it’s a fascinating read.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? I have heard far too many answers to this question. Everything from being a risk taker, inventor, a small business owner, to being just plain crazy or lucky. But none of these things have anything to do with entrepreneurialism, and frankly neither does much of what I have read in business books. Even the always insightful Malcolm Gladwell, in a recent New Yorker article on the subject, only got it half right.
Being an entrepreneur is something far different than what most people think. It is not about behavior (whether risk-prone or risk-averse); it is not about business type (you can run a small business, a public company, a division of a company, or be an investor); and it is not about title (you do not have to be a CEO to be an entrepreneur). Instead, I see it as a personality trait. There are plenty of small business owners and start-up founders who do exceptionally well — but are not what I would consider entrepreneurs. Just like in big business, you can be a successful general manager without being an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial.
Continue reading What do you do when you find out you have a disease?
I, like a lot of entrepreneurial-minded individuals, struggle with staying engaged and motivated on whatever project happens to be in front of me at the moment. There have been projects in the past where I have had multiple people involved and focused on getting some kind of product out the door. Most of the time, however, it’s just me, an idea, and what I believe is perfect timing for the market I’m trying to break into.
When you are alone and have limited or no help, the pylons in the road can seem like sideways-parked cities buses. A little lethargy can feel like a motivation-robbing deep depression. A technical challenge that takes you 6 hours to work through can sometimes make you feel as though you just flushed an entire week down the toilet for little to no gain.
I don’t know what the trick is to keep going or if there’s a magic tonic I can rub on the festering sore that is my need to succeed at a start-up. All I know is that, at 41, the candle of my youthful enthusiasm is not quite as tall as it used to be and to quit now would force me to account for the many, many years of spouse-less, child-less, job-less, possession-less existence that I’ve been quietly keeping in the closet.
Onward and upward I say. It’s now or never!