On being an entrepreneur …

Well, I feel like a real entrepreneur at heart. I have always dreamed of owning my own business. I am constantly thinking of new ideas which I try to write down all the time. I served my mission in Tampa, Florida, where I met a lot of successful entrepreneurs. The members of our church who were entrepreneurs always gave of their time freely and helped us out a ton!

I’ve seen so many ways that entrepreneurs have blessed the lives of others. However, I think there are lots of dangers and pitfalls that come with the entrepreneurial life. I’m not talking about the common dangers that lots of people talk about such as: what if my business goes under? what if it never takes off? what if I fail? what if I go bankrupt? While those are very important things to consider, the things that haunt me more include:

  • What if I get too caught up in my work and neglect my wife and children (future children)?
  • What if I am successful? Can we handle wealth?
  • Can I leave work at work?

I have talked a lot with Esther to get her input on these things. We have decided that we need to be alert and aware of these possible problems. The first concerns I listed can only destroy my financial situation, but my second list of concerns can destroy a more precious blessing, my family.

I think I’m going to start blogging more about this topic here. I have had some good insights on this, and I would also like to get other’s opinions on this.

2 thoughts on “On being an entrepreneur …”

  1. The decision to become an entrepreneur is definitely not one to be made lightly. I worked for 2 1/2 years at the Center for Entrepreneurship in the Tanner Building, where I got the chance to interact with a number of entrepreneurs as both Webmaster and a TA in the Entrepreneur Lecture Series (BusM 371R). Here are a few ideas I’d like to share:

    1. One of the requirements of the Entrepreneur Lecture Series class is to read Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth Revisited. It’s a pretty simplistic book, and certainly not without its flaws, but it’s excellent in getting you to evaluate your entrepreneurial, managerial, and technical natures. Gerber also tackles what he calls The Fatal Assumption, which is that if you are good at doing something you will be successful at running a business doing it. I consider it essential reading for all would-be entrepreneurs.

    2. Take the Entrepreneurial Test at the Center for Entrepreneurship website here. They often say that entrepreneurs are born, not made, a statement that I partially agree with. A lot of the qualities that will make you successful are touched upon here, and should provide great discussion fodder for you and your wife.

    3. Watch some of the BusM 371R lectures here. Also search other semesters’ offerings by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.

    4. In my opinion, a lot of people are drawn to entrepreneurship because of a combination of greed and naivete. They believe that a good Mormon is a rich and successful one, and the stories they hear from some of our speakers reinforce this idea, unfortunately. Much like the way some of our professors market the BSIS and MISM degrees by spouting starting salary figures (“the highest in the Marriott School!”), I’m disgusted when people blindly follow the money instead of doing something they truly enjoy, no matter how “marketable” their skills may be. Become an entrepreneur because you really want to live the lifestyle, which will likely involve many 80-hour work weeks, constant travel and separation from your family, and several years of scraping by financially. That’s how most of our entrepreneurs got to where they are today, and while most of them are wise enough to teach that to our students, there are some who totally whitewash over those aspects and talk only of how great their lives are and how free they have become. And it’s easy for students to become blinded by $100 handouts and such. So just be aware of that.

    5. Lastly, just remember that if the concept of “no boss” sounds appealing to you, know that entrepreneurs have bosses too – their customers.

    Sorry for the long-winded post.

  2. Great thoughts Bryan!

    I like your $100 dollar handouts comment. I’m guessing that you are referring to the Josh James lecture at the eBusiness Day. I too am bothered by the emphasis on the starting salary talk to push people towards the IS major.

    It’s not the money that drives me towards entrepreneurship. I think it is exciting to be able to take an idea and make it happen. I am a dreamer. I feel I have great creativity and ideas that could really benefit people.

    I’ve taken the test that the Center for Entrepreneurship offers and I scored pretty high.

    I realize that working my own hours most likely means 80 hour weeks. I think I would enjoy the lifestyle if I was single. I can easily work 80 hour weeks on projects that are mine, I . But that is where the inner conflict rises. I have a family, and I don’t want to neglect them. I love my wife dearly, and she needs a lot of my time. I enjoy making her happy. She says she’ll support me in any thing that I do.

    In my ethics class we held clearness committees (something that the Quakers would do to help people clarify inner conflicts) to help us figure out things related to our vocation. It helped me figure out that I have a need to use my creativity. If I can land a job where I feel that I can use that, I think I’ll be okay. However, it seems that working for someone else often times takes away your freedom to do such.

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