October 18, 2012, 6:00 am

You’re Not an Entrepreneur Because You Read Books

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income
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Do you consider yourself to be an entrepreneur? 

It’s story time again guys…

I was with my friend Vince in a book store one evening back in 2008. I’m not sure why were there. Maybe to meet chicks (kidding!). I stumbled upon an interesting book on entrepreneurship. This was around the time that I was getting into all of this “start a business” or “follow your passions” sort of reading.

I found a book that I was thinking about buying. Before I could walk out the store with this new purchase, my friend stopped me. My buddy is always one to stir the pot and be a contrarian. He brought up how the author needs to answer one important question on the cover or in the book:

How much money have you made from running your own business?

I was confused about this. My friend then explained that anybody can write a book about entrepreneurship and just throw random tips together, but what made this author so special?

This was an excellent point. Why should I buy a book from an author that isn’t fully transparent or willing to share results (including failures). I ended up not buying that book, but I got really into the “follow your passions” books that followed. I ultimately ended up starting Studenomics later that year.

Fast forward to 2012… The idea of pretending to be an entrepreneur pops up again.

My buddy Omar bragged to me about how he had 6 books just arrive in the mail. All various titles on starting a business and entrepreneurship. He was excited to finally get to add these books to his already stacked collection of similar titles. He started spewing off advice on running a business.

To be honest, he’s always yapping away about why certain business ideas suck and how he doesn’t want to ever work of someone. He wants to be the boss.

I asked him a simple question:

How much money have you made from your own business ventures?

The excuses poured in. He doesn’t have time. He’s waiting for the right idea. You know how it goes.

Here’s a harsh truth…

You’re not an entrepreneur just because you read books on entrepreneurship. You have to actually do something. At some point you need to stop reading and start applying.

What is the definition of an entrepreneur?

According to the always helpful Wikipedia the answer is:

“An enterprising individual who builds capital through risk and/or initiative.”

Hmm that’s okay. What does dictionary.com have to say about this?

“A person who organizes and manages any enterprise,especially a business, usually with considerable initiativeand risk.”

Who shows up when you Google “entrepreneur?”

You know that joke about how your picture is in the dictionary next to “insert insult.” I tried this for entrepreneur. Guess which three individuals popped up?

  1. Sir Richard Branson.
  2. Bill Gates.
  3. Guy Kawasaki.

Alright Martin, so what’s the point of this whole article?

This is a friendly reminder that simply reading about something alone won’t make you an expert. You have to go out there and try. You have to succeed and fail on your own. Then you can share your results with the world.

I’ll extend this logic to other areas of life…

Reading fitness blogs all day and never actually training or watching your diet won’t make you a fitness expert. Trying out different workouts and testing out new diets allows you to learn more about personal fitness.

I promote taking action, even if it means failing real bad. I read everything about launching eBooks and online marketing. I finally stopped reading and launched my own eBook. Guess what happened? IT FLOPPED REAL BAD! It was actually embarrassing how few copies I sold.

Btw, if you’re new here or have been reading for years, you should check out my harsh blogging reality check. I just re-read for the first time. Time flies!

Did this failure stop me? Not at all. I’m not going anywhere my friends. I’m here to stay.

“Successful people learn from failure, but the lesson they learn is a different one. They don’t learn that they shouldn’t have tried in the first place, and they don’t learn that they are always right and the world is wrong and they don’t learn that they are losers. They learn that the tactics they used didn’t work or that the person they used them on didn’t respond.” — Seth Godin

Are you ready to try something new?

What do you think about this topic of reading entrepreneurship-related books? What’s your ideal balance of practical vs theory education?

I had to get this mini rant off my chest and throw it to you guys.

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Comments

I see exactly where you are coming from and I have the problem with my wife and say fitness. All her friends try to tell her what to eat and what exercises she should be doing but none of them are actually in shape. So what makes her thinks these things work?

I am all for reading and learning but I want to learn from someone who is successful at what i am trying to learn. My uncle told me a long time ago that if you want to know how to get a Ferrari find someone who owns one and ask them. How can you teach me how to be a successful entrepreneur if you aren’t one yourself is my motto. Successful i

This idea can be broadened to include almost everything in life. Like the analogy you made with reading health and fitness blogs, thinking and taking action are completely different. You may have the right intentions of doing or completing something, but until you actually see for yourself you have not succeeded. Learning from failure is a huge part of success, as you know. But too many people don’t grasp that concept and are simply too afraid or pessimistic to try.

True. As Thomas stated above, If I sought advice on finances or entrepreneurship, I would turn to someone successful I admired and wished to emulate. And I’d wager that person had to adapt at some point before striking success.

Anyone remember the Sam Walton story? As a young man, his first grocery store was sold out from beneath him due to some rooky mistakes, but he persevered and built one of the most lucrative business models in US history.

that is a very good point, if more entrepreneurs asked that question, they’d either quit sooner or change the business model.

The second question should be “am I making more per hour than in a normal job”

I think that second question would eliminate half off all businesses.

BTW we should also finally put to rest that the only way to be wealthy is to have your own business, there are plenty of people who have been very financially successful by being wage slaves, you simple need to do what Mr Money Mustache and Financial Samurai suggest, save 70% of your income for 8-10 years and you can retire.

And as far as I can tell (sadly I don’t know from experience) being retire bets working any day:)

by: The Dividend Trader | October 18th, 2012 (2:42 pm)

Here’s a great no brutal take on blogging full time.

http://yakezie.com/198920/personal-finance/why-you-cant-freelance-or-blog-full-time/

This is right on. I went to a tai chi school once and the guy talked to me about all the secrets of tai chi, but he said he wasn’t worried about me learning them because he can talk all he wants yet he knows they won’t stick without me doing more than just listening.

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