Ever since I was a kid I have had the entrepreneurial spirit, making things to sell at my aunt’s store and selling golf balls that popped over the creek into our back yard from the neighboring golf course. In high school when I was a little older and a little wiser, I began selling my creative services. I had always been creative and loved to draw and around this time I discovered the internet. So I started selling websites and then I started thinking about developing my own websites without a client. Trying to make something that would be profitable.
But this all stopped, quickly. Why? It was fear. Not my own fear either. Unluckily for me I had been exposed to those who had tried a project in the past only to fail. I was completely naive and open minded only to have these dreams smashed by disabling fear. Here are some of the questions I heard when I brought up my ambitious internet plans to others:
- What about the taxes?
- Who is going to finance it?
- What if you get hacked, can you afford the bandwidth?
- What if you mess up and get sued?
- What if you lose your investment money?
- What if it gets big, then what will you do?
Are these points even valid?
My conclusion is that they aren’t, at least not in the beginning. These are the questions that people ask themselves to convince them that there is no real reason to act on their ideas. They have been brainwashed by fear into thinking that even if they are successful and meet their goals that the only possible outcome is failure.
At this early time in my life I was unaware of this and bought into the fear. So time went on and I honed my skills in design and web technology knowing that one day I would get a job where there would not be any risk because the employer would take it for me and I would be safely guarded from it. Then the internet bubble burst and I really put my internet entrepreneurship ideas out of my mind only to later see very similar concepts take off and net their creators great rewards.
So off to college I went.
This is where I would learn the skills that would make me marketable to an employer right? Well, somewhat but I will get into that later. So I studied design and I honed my skills, until senior year when my thinking regarding business and entrepreneurship changed. In order to fill a graduation requirement I took a class called ethics in entrepreneurship. We talked about altruism, entrepreneurship, corporate giving, and everything regarding values. But the life changing factor here was that I was able to see entrepreneurship as a skill and with optimism, and fear was nowhere in the equation.
Entrepreneurship and the job market.
So I graduated and I moved to Chicago to find a job. I had a solid portfolio and a ton of drive. But what ultimately led to finding the job that I wanted was the skills and projects I started on my own. Those skills were the ones that set me apart from the other recent grads, and ultimately got me hired. This was the moment when I knew that if I was going to continue to grow as a professional and learn I needed to pursue my entrepreneurial ideas.
But what about the risks?
Well they are still there, but if you keep thinking about them then you will never do anything. I am a firm believer that doing is 75% of success. People come up with great ideas every day, but unless you act on them they are worth nothing. Now I don’t let the risks get me down, but at the same time I don’t act without thinking. So I have started doing things again, and maybe one idea will work but at least I am doing something again and fear is no longer stopping that. If I learn something new along the way, or I have fun doing it then nothing is a loss. Some people would argue otherwise however I leave that judgment up to you… but if you don’t try you will never know.