“People think entrepreneurship is risky. The thing is, it’s much riskier to have a job.”
At the time, Andrew Myers was driving us back to Fort Wayne, IN after a quick visit to Warsaw, IN when we started talking about the common concerns from people when they think about what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Now that we’re just about to visit our 40th city this year, I still find it odd that community leaders continue to talk about innovation while local residents worry more about entrepreneurship — or the risks that come with it. This gap is yet-another-reminder that innovation and entrepreneurship aren’t the same. If we want people to innovate, we need them to make the leap into entrepreneurship first.
If you drive around North America, you’ll quickly learn that most people are concerned about losing their jobs. They may not say it when you first meet them but this is the kind of thing that comes up when you actually live someplace for a week at a time and see them at the local diner for breakfast over the course of a full week.
At the same time, many of these same people express fear when asked what they would do if they became an entrepreneur. They worry that their boss won’t like them working on the side, they wonder whether they have enough education or they share stories about how someone they once knew failed at something.
Here’s the thing: the best entrepreneurs take the least risky bets.
They’ll figure out a way to keep their day job for a while. They’ll find ways to cut their personal burn rates. They’ll spend any free second they have looking for a new customer.
The best entrepreneurs know that sales solves everything. They figure it out.
If you choose to stay (and you’re happy) in your cubicle, do yourself a favor and make sure that you’re on the revenue-producing side of your company. If something goes sideways, the people that make the company money are the least likely to get cut first.
For everyone else, just start something.
For most of our parents, success was a function of hard work over a period of a long time. For our generation, success is a function of the number of things you try.
If you want to reduce the risk in your life, start to think more entrepreneurially. Start to take control of your own future.
Fear drives me and, if you want control of your own future, it probably ought to drive you too.