Becoming an Entrepreneur Shouldn’t be Your Goal
The hype was at its peak around 2015–2016. Literally everybody wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’m sure you remember how personalities like Garyvee, Grant Cardone and Ty Lopez were taking over your Youtube feeds. Everybody was watching Shark tank and taking to Instagram to start their “personal brand”. Entrepreneurs have become the new rock stars of pop culture.
Like many of you, I was hooked. I was inspired. I wanted to be the self-sufficient business owner, the person who makes money in his sleep or while playing golf. I wanted money to “work for me.”
The allure of the entrepreneur life is pretty strong, you have to admit. I mean, who can blame anyone who buys into these sexy catchphrases?
- Being your own boss
- Having 100% control over your time
- Building an empire from the ground up
- The ability to work anywhere in the world
No surprise, droves of people ended up jumping on this entrepreneur train. This is apparent from Shopify’s 3,634.87% stock growth in the last 5 years. People were building businesses of all types left and right and it’s a beautiful thing.
However, if more businesses are created, one should expect an inevitable increase in the number of businesses failing as well. It’s no secret that the odds of succeeding are stacked against the first-time business owner. Those odds got even slimmer in 2020.
Imagine being someone who dedicated a good 5 years of your life building something from the ground up, only to be smacked down by COVID — that’s demoralizing.
Millions of people, thousands of businesses felt the full brunt of the pandemic last year. Companies, shops and organizations were shutting down by staggering numbers across the globe.
Being one of the many who saw their sales figures take a nosedive into oblivion, I thought long and hard about the entrepreneurship hype and everyone who got themselves involved, only to fail.
Good for you if you’ve had a plan B this whole time that could pay the bills. But if you’ve done nothing but entrepreneurship your whole career, your only options are either to flip stuff on the internet or start a new venture entirely. The problem is, that’s not for everybody.
Only so many people have the stomach to get over something as paralyzing as a failed business so quickly and then start another one from scratch.
For most, realizations are starting to come out at this point, thinking that if they had only pursued their medical or their finance career to begin with, or if at the very least, they had acquired some skills and/or professional experience on the side, they’d have more options to work with.
Sure, you can always start over, especially if you’re a younger person.
But what if you’re 35, have mouths to feed, a lifestyle to maintain and have all this other baggage weighing you down. Starting a new gig or scrambling to get hired for an entry-level job just isn’t a viable option at that point in your life. You’re stuck.
If you examine the reason behind the entrepreneurship craze, it all stems from the desire to create wealth.
Wealth means possibilities, options and abundance. It means having the freedom to live the life that you truly want. Entrepreneurship, in the traditional sense, is merely one vehicle to get there.
This is why it’s such a bad idea to put all your eggs in that one basket since you’re blinding yourself from all the other methods that’s available to you.
Naval Ravikant, angel investor and Silicon Valley legend, has taught that the beginning of wealth creation is the discovery of specific knowledge. If there’s anything you should devote your time and energy to, it’s this.
Developing Specific Knowledge
“Society will pay you for creating things it wants. But society doesn’t yet know how to create those things, because if it did, they wouldn’t need you. They would already be stamped out.”
“If you want to be wealthy, you want to figure out which one of those things you can provide for society that it does not yet know how to get but it will want and providing it is natural to you, within your skill set, and within your capabilities.”
Specific knowledge is sort of this weird combination of unique traits from your DNA, your unique upbringing, and your response to it. It’s almost baked into your personality and your identity.
— Excerpts taken from the Almanac of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
Before you get to learn how to leverage, or multiply your income and assets, you’ll need to have the ability to produce or possess something scarce that society wants, whether it’s a specific skill, a product or know-how.
This is specific knowledge. The less people who can provide a specific service as well as or better than you, the more valuable you become.
That is the punchline my friends. Find your specialization. Invest in skills that are scarce and in high demand. More importantly, invest in skills that are in line with your interests and talents. Doing otherwise will feel more of a drag since you won’t love the journey as much.
The process of discovering and developing specific knowledge will be different for every individual. One may find themselves pursuing further schooling. For another, it’s jumping from job to job. You may even find yourself starting businesses along the way. But one thing’s for sure, you’re honing the right skills and meeting the right people.
And even if you do encounter failure at some point, you realize that not only do you have a lot of fallback options, the direction you’re headed is still always toward the culmination of all your hardwork — becoming an expert and authority in your chosen field. That always translates to income.
If you’re still dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur, just stop. Instead, focus on value creation. Do research on things that society wants or will want in the near future.
Once you discover a need that you can fill, embark on a journey to hone and perfect the skills that allow you to fill that need in an exceptional way, better than anybody else, if possible. This could be through entrepreneurship, freelancing, or even running for public office. The medium doesn’t matter as much. What‘s important is the amount of value you are able to provide. Once you get that down, wealth will be waiting at the door.