Iam so so tired of hearing people say “Not everyone can be an entrepreneur.” Why the heck not? Because you have to work hard? Because you weren't raised in an entrepreneurial family? Because you must have tenacity and determination? Because you must have a certain mindset?
Who is born with any of those things? Not me. Not you. Not anyone.
Oprah Winfrey was not raised in an entrepreneurial family. She created one.
Steve Jobs was not born with a mindset. No one is. He developed one.
Name one thing any successful entrepreneur was actually equipped with at birth. You can't, can you?
Oh, yes. I heard you.
Some of you said, “Money and means.”
Some of you replied, “Good role models.”
Some of you said, “Inherited wealth.”
Oh, and let's not leave out privilege of other kinds, including that “White Kind.” Yes. I said it.
Yes. Some people inherit wealth, and some people enjoy unearned privilege and some people have better role models than most, and blah blah blah.
What does acknowledging that change? Nothing.
What it does do is give some people an excuse not to try. You can only be born once, right? So, if you are born once without money and means (or insert whatever), then you'll never be born with money and means. Therefore, if you see money and means as a prerequisite to entrepreneurial success, you've just talked yourself out of entrepreneurial success. How convenient.
What Would Happen if You Changed Your Focus?
Instead of focusing on why you cannot do it, why not begin focusing on why you can?
Here are some examples of people who made this choice once, and who continue to make it every day.
Warren Brown loved to bake. But he also loved to eat and have a roof over his head, so he worked as an attorney to pay the bills. He baked cakes as often as he could as a side hustle. He worked all day, baked all night, delivered baked goods all morning, then worked all day, then repeated the whole cycle over and over and over again. For years. Warren's father noticed his hustle, and finally gave him a loan, which paved the way for growth.
Notice that Daddy-O did not give warren a loan until after Warren had been working his buns off for years. In fact, Warren worked himself into the hospital before his dad ponied up the cash. And notice that it was a loan, not a gift, which meant Warren couldn't run off to the Bahamas after he cashed the check. He had to keep working.
Eventually, he landed his own television show and several CakeLove stores throughout the Washington, DC area, and today, he is a celebrated baking expert.
Twenty two years ago, Lisa Price was bankrupt in Brooklyn. She was married with two sons to feed, and she was broke. She started selling handmade bath and body products from her home, and soon developed a team of reps to sell her products at fairs and festivals. She also sold her products from her home where people would stand in line for hours to snap up her latest concoction.
Eventually, a group of entertainers, impressed with her efforts to grow a brand from nothing, invested in her company. The transition was hard and lonely, and there was no template for her to follow.
Last year, she sold the company to L’Oréal USA for an undisclosed sum of what we all know is millions.
Sara Blakeley, founder of Spanx, once worked part-time as a stand up comedian while holding down a real job selling fax machines door-to-door in the hot Florida sunshine where she lived at the time. She hated wearing panty hose and open toed shoes because of the seam that showed on her toe area. She cut off the bottom half of a pair of hose, found a North Carolina manufacturer, modeled the hose in the changing area for buyers at Neiman Marcus, and got her first order.
Kibby and Jay Mitra are regular parents like you and me. They have four children and they live in Connecticut. When they first started their family, they noticed that some of their kids had especially dry skin. Kibby did what any mom would do and she started mixing this and that to soothe her children. People started buying her creams, and when her husband noticed that the only explanation for the family's growing bank account was what was in his wife's little jars, he took notice. Today, the couple owns From Nature With Love, Natural Sourcing and other brands serving small and large scale cosmetics manufacturing markets. You can get some of Kibby's success tips here.
You Choose What to Believe
You choose what you believe about the world and your place in it. If you believe that you cannot be successful in business, then you will not be.
But if you choose a different path, one of determination and perseverance and determination to do the right things over an extended period of time, you will achieve your business goals.
It will be hard.
You will have to change direction now and then.
You will fail.
You will make mistakes.
You will lose friends.
Relationships will change, maybe not for the better — but definitely for the best.
You Choose Who to Be Around
You can choose to be around the people who have decided that entrepreneurship isn't for them, and guess what? It will not be for you either.
You can choose to listen to people who say “some people just need to have a job and nothing more,” and guess what? That's what you'll have: a job and nothing more.
(And let me say that there is nothing wrong with that. If you want a job and nothing more, I honor you. You have to support yourself and you need to do that. It's an honorable thing to have a job, unless you hate your job. Then, it's just wasting your talent away. But I digress.)
You Choose What You Do Every Day
You are not stuck with any job. You're not stuck with a job you like and you are not stuck with a job you don't like. If you want to create a new way to make a living, you can choose that.
People will tell you that you are crazy. Marginalize those people.
People will tell you you don't have enough money or enough time. Ignore them.
People will tell you that you are stuck with your circumstances. Tell Richard Williams that. You know, Richard Williams, Serena's father? Yeah him. Tell him his daughters have to stay in Compton.
We choose what to believe, who to spend our time with, and what to do with our time every single day. And that is why everyone can be an entrepreneur.
Yes! You can do this!
Do you want to be a successful small business owner? Are you achieving the way you want to? If not, what's holding you back? What are you choosing to believe, and thus act on, that is impeding your progress? I invite you to share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, and share your progress too! And if this post is helpful you, please do share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.