It has taken me a long time to feel good about being an entrepreneur. I used to feel somewhat "less than" the career-minded senior people I would encounter. I mean, come on – they knew where they were going and I was headed into the unknown. They had gone to University to get a job. I had never been. They aspired and had reached the pinnacles of their career. I didn't even see a career: I saw a way to survive, a way to build. And when introduced at cocktail parties or meetings, I always felt they secretly viewed me as a failure because it was clear I was starting my own firm because I couldn't be employed. Which, in fact, and in full disclosure, was true.
Think for a moment: what are you afraid of? For most people, the answer to that question is a mystery. Why? Because they are afraid to even determine what it is!
But lets break it down. Nobody wants to look bad. Nobody wants to fail publicly. Nobody wants to be the first to try something new. Nobody wants to say that the accepted way may be the wrong way. Except, that is, for entrepreneurs. Which is interesting because the world characterizes the choices and decisions made by entrepreneurs as being "risk friendly."
I prefer to think of entrepreneurs as individuals who are comfortable with taking calculated risks. Entrepreneurs are not reckless. They have too much at stake, too much skin in the game. By contrast, we see true recklessness when there's no accountability – when profit turns into a mathematical game, and it's other people's money that's on the line. I think back to what triggered the global financial crisis of 2008.
It's ironic: big business often looks at entrepreneurs as mildly entertaining mini-versions of the real deal which is, of course, big business. But why? Why is an entrepreneur's venture "less than" simply because they dare to do things differently and explore new avenues? Why is bigger better? Innovation, employment, new markets – the list goes on and on for what entrepreneurs do for our world and our economy.
Don't get me wrong. I love businesses of all types – big, small, independent, multi- national. Commerce in any form drives economies and sustains people. There should be no hierarchy of respect in regard to any form of business. Instead, there should be respect for those willing to do what it takes to build good business.
Are entrepreneurs risk friendly?
No, not risk friendly. Unafraid.