Over the years, I've heard my fair share of ridiculous one-liners from wannabe entrepreneurs. These people might read some news item about a startup that raised a monster round of financing or about a founder that sold her company for billions, and they reach the conclusion that entrepreneurship is all fun and games.
There are signs that someone is not cut out for entrepreneurship, and here are five examples of phrases that give it away.
I want to be an entrepreneur
When someone tells me they want to be an entrepreneur, I know they have no chance. There is no such thing as wanting to be an entrepreneur. You either are or you aren't.
You can't acquire the ability to be an entrepreneur. You can acquire some skills along the way and you can seek advice or tips from others, but if you're an entrepreneur, you feel it in your veins and you can't not build things.
If you build it, they will come
This sentence is a huge pet peeve of mine. If you build it, no one's coming. If you build it and do marketing, there's a chance people will come. If not, no one is coming.
When I hear someone say this naive and simplistic sentence, it is clear to me that they don't understand what is involved in building a successful company.
I'm going to be the next big thing
Listen, you can have the best idea in the world, combined with the best tech stack, the best team, and the best investors, and still fail. To say that you're going to be the next Google or Facebook when all you have is an idea is a huge red flag that you're not cut out for the journey on which you are about to embark.
You will never hear a second- or third-time founder utter these words, because they know firsthand how many moving parts there are in the process of building a tech venture.
Make me go viral
Are people still saying this? Yes, yes they are. There is a total of zero people on earth who can make something go viral. If that is your strategy, then you are truly clueless about how marketing works and how many different variables there are in the process of bringing a product to market.
When I hear these words, all I hear is "I am looking for shortcuts and don't want to put the work in."
If that is your attitude, then you have no business in entrepreneurship. There are no shortcuts and you just have to put the work in.
I have no competitors
It never ceases to amaze me that people think they are the only person to think about how to solve the problem they are trying to solve.
If you think you have no competition, there really are only three options: You didn't do sufficient research and you don't know your competitors; you are kidding yourself; or you're right and you have no competition, which means there really is no demand for what you're building, in which case perhaps you should not waste time and money on something nobody wants.
Being an entrepreneur is not a goal, it's a means, a vehicle to solving a pain point. Anyone who has been down the entrepreneurship path will tell you that it is not all fun and games and that it requires more dedication than any other profession. If you don't have that level of dedication, maybe consider another line of work.