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?
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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