What do you see as current trends, issues, or challenges in entrepreneurship? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
A huge issue with the current entrepreneurial landscape is that people don't realize you can't just wake up and decide to be an entrepreneur. There's been a recent over-promise of what business success looks like. It's causing people to lose out when they try to "go for it" and is blinding them to the opportunities that are actually right for them. This issue leads to a larger conversation we need to have about self-awareness and what defines success. For example, I really want to be the quarterback for the NY Jets. But, I'm realistic that no matter how hard I work, it won't make up for the fact that don't have the DNA or the skills to play in the NFL. Too many people lack this self-awareness when it comes to what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
There's a recent trend in society that anyone can start, own, and operate a successful business. Movies, television, and the media make it look easy to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or get funding for the next "big idea." The truth is that it's not-it takes a lot of hard work and talent to achieve that level of success and be the CEO of a business. Everyone is too romantic about who they want to be instead of looking at the reality of who they are. Everyone believes that they can be a successful entrepreneur or business person, when the reality is that these people would be more successful as the number two, three, or four positions at a company.
What people lack is self-awareness in the business and entrepreneurial space. There are a lot of people who were good students and are built to be great "fours" and "sevens." But right now, because of all the "entrepreneurship" talk, a lot of these "fours" and "sevens" are trying to start their own companies and raise VC money.
This becomes a problem because being a "one" requires a level of grit that's not taught in school. It has to be in your DNA. When you try to be a "one" after a life of winning in a structured system, you're entering into a marketplace that you are probably unprepared for. When you aren't born a true-bred entrepreneur, you don't have the stomach to deal when the market says, "Screw you." It takes self-awareness to understand if you should go for it or not.
We need to start recalibrating our expectations of what success looks like because a lot of people are going to be disappointed when they are not able to reach what they consider to be "successful." It's too common for people to think that success is defined by making or raising millions of dollars. But in reality, making $155,000 a year is massively successful. It puts you in the top 10% of earners in the United States. The entry level for the top 1% earners in America is only $430,000 a year. I said "only" because so many people are going in with the mindset of $1 million or bust. What has happened is that the branding of entrepreneurship has forced us to become very impractical-it's portrayed to be a low risk, high return narrative.
Our current culture disseminates that if you're not a number one, a business owner, or making millions you're not a "success." This is a huge issue and we need to start having real conversations about these expectations. We just lived through the Golden Era of fake entrepreneurs. People claimed they were entrepreneurs, when they were actually just average operators. They've built financial arbitrage machines predicated on raising the next round, not businesses that will be around for generations to come. We've inflated what it means to be successful in business and the media has disrespected how much time, money, and grit it actually takes to get there.
Watch this video for more depth on reframing the entrepreneurial conversation.
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