Introductory posts, whether they be blogs, biographies, tweets, or especially articles like this (of limited word count), are always awkwardly tricky.
It's hard to gain credibility and trust without giving you our backgrounds--but giving you our backgrounds sounds like a monotonous exercise of #selfpromotion (note our first hashtag usage, which will likely not be our last).
We wanted to do something like a haiku or poem to introduce ourselves, but realized neither of us has those kinds of literal gifts. So please accept our broken prose as a pithy way to get the message across while still hopefully keeping your attention.
- Midwest-raised (Chicago to be specific).
- Columbia University-schooled.
- Goldman Sachs-trained.
- Los Angeles-based (well, when we're not on the road half the year).
- Featured in 2 New York Times bestselling books.
- Innovators and Operators.
- Angel Investors.
- Curious Learners.
- Successful. But also Failures (plenty of them).
If that sounded interesting to you, please read on. If not, please just give us a second chance and still read on.
We promised ourselves when writing this that we would not cite or look up any other works but, having said that, we don't pretend that much of this has not been said before. Maybe just not in this way and hopefully as honest as these thoughts. Thus...
Reasons NOT to Become an Entrepreneur:
1) Not just anyone can do it. "Can" and "should" are two different things. We won't debate the merits of learned skill, but we're of the mindset that there will probably be detected soon a DNA strand dubbed the "entrepreneur gene." It's like basketball: you don't need that gene (athleticism, height, etc.) to play, but it sure does help. We think you need that "it" thing to be an entrpeneur. Tough to explain but savvy Inc. readers know what we're talking about.
2) It's more work than anything you'll do--this coming from two Goldman Sachs investment banking alumns. We used to joke that you could be the "dumbest, laziest person at Goldman yet still be among the hardest-working people in the free world and considered intelligent." Boy were we wrong. When your skin is in the game you care about it in a whole different way and the mental game is something that we never had to deal with on Wall St. in the same way.
3) You don't have to be an entrepreneur to be an entrepreneur--more so than ever, large multinational corporations are trying to figure out ways to have an entrepreneurial mindset within the larger framework of the company and those who succeed at that type of role will likely be rewarded. Plus, more than likely, you will have less risk and more job security (albeit less upside) under this scenario.
4) Isolation--starting a company can be isolating. It's a ton of work with very few people (especially in the beginning) and takes a certain type of spirit to get past that. We've seen the darkest side of this (culminating in a promising company and friend who we invested in commit suicide tragically, RIP Jody) so realize it takes real work to keep your social circle of support (personally and professionally) calibrated during the "building" phase of a new venture.
5) It's not a good time to do this--it never will be. Not the way any of us lives today and especially not the way we perceive our lives to be busier and more complicated. Just take the plunge.
6) Odds & Fame--if you're reading the pages of Inc., you probably (even if you're already aware of it) have a skewed sense of the chances of succeeding. It's not impossible but the deck is stacked against you more than you probably know (and that "ignorance bias" is a good thing).
Having said all this, if you're still on board, we'd love for you to follow us as we document our journey and learnings in this column....and we promise not to try and talk you out of this grand pursuit that we call Entrepreneurship again.
Until next time, carpe diem!
Carter & Courtney Reum