When we can get something in return for our efforts, we are usually motivated to do it. If I tell you that you have to do a certain work for 30 days, I will give you X amount of money in return, you would usually take it if the money is good enough.
One of the reasons why there are a very few entrepreneurs and a large number of people who work for entrepreneurs is because most of the people out there are uncomfortable with investing time, energy and money into something that might or might not give returns.
The people, on top of not willing to play an uncertain game, they also buy into a lifestyle that traps them into a financial commitment. Financial commitments reduce your risk appetite and that’s bad for entrepreneurship.
People in general want to live a comfortable life. They end up buying a home, a car and they sign up for other things where their requirement of having a monthly income becomes very important.
If someone living in a city in India with a wife and one kid tries to become an entrepreneur, there are high risks. If the cost of his lifestyle is around $3,000 a month (2 Lakh Indian rupees), then it will be very difficult for him to become an entrepreneur. This person is more likely to be an employee for the rest of his life. He cannot take risks.
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to make sacrifices in the short term that most people will not be ready to do; for long term benefits that most of the other people will not have a chance to get. If you can live like no one else now, you can live like no one else in the future.
Invest Your Time and Energy Unconditionally
Though I encourage debt for startups, your initial debt will not be with money but with your time. You will have to invest your undivided attention into your startup and make the startup the top idea in your mind for a few years if you want to increase the chances of your startup succeeding.
Your startup requires you to work as if you are going to get guaranteed returns when in reality, the chances of getting a huge ROI from your time invested is pretty slim.
You are investing your time, and playing a lottery. You might get a huge return, or you might not. It is very difficult emotionally to handle the investment of time and energy when the returns are not guaranteed. This is why people call entrepreneurship as a tough game.
On top of your emotional strength that is required for entrepreneurship, you should be lean with your life. Embrace minimalism and don’t have a heavy personal lifestyle. Having a high cost lifestyle reduces your risk appetite to invest your time and energy in to your startup.
When you get started as an entrepreneur, you will find great difficulty in putting in your hard work for something that might or might not work. And if you do not invest yourself fully in what you are doing, your startup will fail and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Since you are not sure about the results, you refuse to put in your 100% and because you did not put in your 100%, you are going to have a mediocre result. And in the end you will say, “I told you so, it was not worth it.” This is how most entrepreneurs succeed as being failed entrepreneurs for the rest of their life.
Love What You Do
The only way to put in your 100% is to love what you do irrespective of the results. I have no idea how the book that I am writing right now is going to perform in sales. It might become a million copy best seller, or it might sell just 1,000 copies. I honestly don’t know.
If success was guaranteed for me as a book author, and if someone told me that if I put in my 100% I will get a great ROI on the launch of the book, I would do it. But the problem is that, 1000 other people will do the same. When the results are guaranteed, the competition is high.
What makes me become a successful book author is the risk that I am taking by investing 100s of hours into writing this book, not knowing if it will result in anything significant. And I am able to do it because I love writing. Even if 100 people read my book and if their life as an entrepreneur is shaped because of the chapters I’ve written, I would succeed.
Most of the people do not get success in their professional life and with their startups is because they refuse to put in their 100% into their work. It will always be difficult to invest everything you have into something that is uncertain, but that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.
Sometimes it makes me think – it is the uncertainty of entrepreneurship that makes me successful because, if the results were certain, I would be competing with many people and success would be more difficult. It is usually said that “Deciding where to compete determines half your success”. The competition in the area of entrepreneurship is low, and that’s a good thing.
In the long term, if you keep investing quality time and energy into what you love to do, you will find out that as long as you did your work with 100% involvement, you increase the chances of winning by a huge margin. You will become better at this game and success would find you faster than you can handle.
The Lottery of Efforts
Entrepreneurship is a lottery of efforts. Play every game in the battle as if you are going to win the war for sure. If you lose a few battles, don’t give up and play harder. If you think that you mostly would lose the war, you will not fight the battles hard enough – and that will lead to you losing the war.
Since most people have a high resistance to hard work and investment of time into something that might or might not work, most people don’t do it. They have chosen not to become entrepreneurs because they are not capable of handling their uncertainty.
Entrepreneurship can take you to the streets, or it can take you to the stars. Most of the people don’t want to end up in the streets, and they comfortably give up the prospect of reaching for the stars. They trade their whole life’s time, energy and money for certainty and predictability.
Most people are attracted to a “safe & secure” job, so that they can have a predictable life. And that’s also good because they are clear about what they want out of their life, and you can also hire them to build your startup! Just don’t get stuck on the other side, if you want to become an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs Make their Own Luck
People who want safety and security in their life, can’t wrap their heads around the success of entrepreneurs. Such people call entrepreneurs who have become successful as lucky.
People want to enjoy the benefits that comes from successful entrepreneurship, but since they are not ready to pay the price it takes to become successful. They sell their future and dreams for some safety and security in the present.
When people become jealous of entrepreneurs, they can’t wrap their heads around the fact that they could’ve had that success if they paid that kind of price. Since they are unable to accept the possibilities of their own success and the missed boat, they blame other’s success on luck. And luck is overrated.
Yes, successful people are lucky. But they did not wait for luck to fall on their lap. They played the game so many times that Luck was tired of calling rain checks and it finally gave up.
Successful people grab luck by its tail because they play hard, with full investment of their time and energy. It is difficult for luck to escape their clutches.
So think about it. Are you strong enough to play this game?
Are you ready to play the lottery of efforts?
You might need to give it a serious thought because, if you dream big and not achieve anything, that pain will be lesser than the pain of regret where you did not even give it a try.