The Age of Entrepreneurship
In today’s new world, there are only two options: increase your financial education and learn to create your own wealth, or become poorer and poorer and rely on the government and the rich to take care of you.
We have now experienced a major turning point in the history of mankind. The days of going to school, getting a safe secure job, and investing for the long-term are long gone. We are in a new age—the age of entrepreneurship.
Today, the barrier to entry to entrepreneurship is almost non-existent. But to heed the opportunities available to everyone it requires a brand new mindset—the mindset of an entrepreneur. In fact, mindset most often is the dividing line between those who are successful in life and those who are not.
One of the reasons I started being an entrepreneur and an investor early was because I had a lifetime to learn to get better in the B and I quadrants, rather than the E and S quadrants. I knew that if I owned my own companies and invested for myself, I did not have to worry about someone else having control over my life, how much I made, and when I could go on vacation, and when I could retire. Although I was a failure in the first quarter of my life from ages 25 to 35, in the next quarters I got better and better at business and investing.
Time of Great Change = Time of Great Opportunities
The world we once knew, no longer exists. What was true in January of this year, is not true today. As I stated, the days of getting a safe and secure job are gone. But this message isn’t one of doom and gloom. This is a message of hope and opportunity. When things change as drastically as they have over these past few months, it might be hard to see, but these times create the greatest opportunities.
For example, in 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia had the idea of renting out an air mattress in their San Francisco living room. Little did they know that December of that year would be the start of the Great Recession and open a door to an opportunity. Airbnb revamped the market of short-term living quarters for those who were priced out by hotels. In 2009, they received funding from top-tier VCs and experienced explosive growth.
Warby Parker was founded in the middle of the Great Recession. The founders illuminated an enormous pain-point in the market–it was nearly impossible to purchase an affordable pair of fashionable glasses online. They capitalized on the opportunity of their customers’ tightened purse strings and went on to grow Warby Parker into not only a thriving business but also a direct-to-consumer retail and e-commerce leader.
Building The Entrepreneurial Muscle
Many ‘experts’ say, “Entrepreneurs fail because they are undercapitalized.” This fear of being “undercapitalized,” this lack of money as well as the absence of a steady paycheck, is what keeps most people clinging to job security as an employee. But it’s not why entrepreneurs fail.
While being undercapitalized is a challenge, it is not why most entrepreneurs fail. Instead, it is the hard-fought lessons of going out in the world, trying, and yes, sometimes failing that helps you hone your entrepreneurial skillset. What I would call building the entrepreneurial muscle.
I always find it amusing when I hear people say, “Oh, she was lucky.” Or “They’re an overnight success.” Few know or appreciate the real story behind entrepreneurial successes. The reason they succeeded is they learned the secret. The secret to leadership.
The primary reason why most new entrepreneurs fail is simply that they lack the core training, the core strengths they need to withstand the rigors of being an entrepreneur. Some people call it guts. Others call it perseverance. In the military, it might be put this way: “Stand up, get off your butt, stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop pouting, stop sucking your thumb, and get going again. Your mama is ashamed of you—because your mama is tougher than you are.” I think you get the point here.
Another important reason why most entrepreneurs fail is that our educational system trains people to be employees, not entrepreneurs. The world of an employee is very different from the world of an entrepreneur. One big difference is the concept of paychecks.
If you think about it, you’ll realize that the person who signs your paycheck controls your life. Shouldn’t that person be you? It probably should be, if you are strong enough.
If an employee does not receive his or her “paycheck” they quit and go looking for a new job”. Most entrepreneurs must be tough enough to operate, sometimes for years, without a “paycheck.”
It should go without saying, but in order to build your entrepreneurial muscle, you have to stop working out your employee one. A side hustle is a good way to ease in, but you need to actually cut the cord at some point and go all in.
Who can be an entrepreneur?
When I was starting out on my journey at the age of 25, both my rich dad and my poor dad knew that I was not an academically bright person. My poor dad, an academic star, said to me, “You will always be a slow learner.”
Since I was not a quick learner, my rich dad said, “You need to dedicate yourself to learning slowly and learn forever. That is your best chance of winning.” He also said, “Desire can take you places where logic cannot.” I did not write an international best-selling book until I was 50. Having failed in high school twice because I was a poor writer, the fact that I have many New York Times best-selling books today is not logical.
Right after college, most of my classmates made more money than I did. Today, I make far more money than most of my peers who did well in school and got high-paying jobs. Because I was slow coming out of the gates, I became financially successful late in life. Because I am a slow learner, it took me longer to get started and get the education and experience I needed. But I found what I needed to know by just plodding along and never giving up, even though many times I wanted to. So keep learning about investing no matter how old you are or how much money you have, or do not have. Every day that you learn something new, you get better at the game.
The good news is anyone can be an entrepreneur—from millennials to baby boomers—if they’re willing to put in the work. Each person has their own strengths to bring to the table, and each person has their own lessons to learn along the way.
But it does mean that simply having the mindset or calling yourself an entrepreneur is not enough. You have to actually take action.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily