Entrepreneur vs. Wantrepreneur

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu

I often have friends and family talk to me about their business ideas and dream jobs. I listen with great interest. I ask fundamental business questions, and I always offer to connect them with investors or business colleagues. Surprisingly, over the years I have observed that most people never take the first step.

Many of my colleagues and co-workers are often shocked when they hear me talk publicly about business ideas of my own without having some sort of Non-Disclosure Agreement in place first.

Sadly, I’ve become comfortable discussing my future plans with others because I’ve learned from experience that most people never execute their own business ideas. Granted, they’ll get excited, or perhaps make a design or prototype, but most will give up far before it ever gets to market. No matter how crazy or far-fetched the idea is, true entrepreneurs execute, and they push onward until the world takes notice.

My curiosity drove me to dig deeper to better understand why some people fail to execute their dreams. I’ve found the that many people point to the following excuses time and time again:

1) Non-supportive spouse, friend, or family member. There are several people in the world who will discourage you from running with a business idea. Unfortunately, some people do not want you to succeed, or they’re simply afraid to take risks themselves. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as they are stepping stones to greatness.

2) Lack of Resources (Time and/or money). This is the biggest misconception of all. Most beginners believe you need money to start a business. When I first began Shoutlet, I pre-sold licenses from a PowerPoint presentation before I ever had a single dime of investment. Consider Orville and Wilbur Wright: they invented the airplane with spare bicycle parts, part time. If you have the will, you can find a way.

3) Missing Key Skills. Another important lesson I learned early on is that I don’t have to know everything. It takes a team to win a game. Today, I have several people in my life that offer me advice regularly. Focus on what you’re good at, and get help with the rest.

The difference between an entrepreneur and a “wantrepreneur” is execution. If you truly believe in your dream, you should execute it today.

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.


New Year, New Blog!

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Elliot

When I first began Shoutlet, I had very little understanding of how to build a business, and little appreciation for how hard it is to become a successful entrepreneur. No coursework or published book could have adequately prepared me for what I ultimately learned through running a technology company in Madison, Wisconsin.

In my life, I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with people that I admire. I’ve learned more through the people that have been running companies themselves than I could have ever learned in a college lecture hall.

One lesson that I learned early on is the importance of recognizing what you’re good at, and having the insight to know when to ask for help. I’ve found my expertise to be focused on product innovation, fundraising, and startup businesses. Therefore, these will be the key topics that I focus on here.

Now that Shoutlet has become an international social media marketing company, I’ve had several others ask me for help with their ideas and companies. I believe that if you make it in business, you have a responsibility to “send the elevator back down.” Today, I receive many requests for advice, and thus, I find myself turning my lessons into a blog. I hope my posts help with your journey.