Not Everyone Should be an Entrepreneur

Diverging Paths

Yesterday’s post on lifestyle modification to be an entrepreneur touched off a series of interesting comments. One thing I want to clarify is that as much as I talk about entrepreneurship I do want to make one thing clear: not everyone should be an entrepreneur. Everyone that wants to be an entrepreneur, and makes whatever necessary sacrifices, should have the opportunity.

Here are some reasons why not everyone should be an entrepreneur:

  • The high highs and low lows of the entrepreneurial roller coaster make for an exciting, but stressful environment
  • The level of uncertainty and lack of information when making decisions is uncomfortable and disconcerting at times
  • The high chance of failure is scary (failure should not be frowned upon and 90% of companies fail within five years and 95% of companies never reach $1 million in annual revenue, ever)

Each one of these reasons can be turned around as a reason why it is great to an entrepreneur due to the thrills of success, thriving on uncertainty, and beating the odds. Not everyone should be an entrepreneur but they should have the chance, if they want it.

What else? What are some other reasons why not everyone should be an entrepreneur?

10 thoughts on “Not Everyone Should be an Entrepreneur

  1. Great point.

    One more reason: People tend to change jobs/careers much more often than entrepreneurs can. So, if someone is not ready to commit 5+ years to a given company (assuming things go reasonably well), a startup might not be the right thing.

    1. Great point about a 5+ year commitment to a given company. I like to say that my overnight success took ten years.

  2. I think its tough to be an entrepreneur when you aren’t in the right partnership that is commited to entrepreneurship. If you are married with kids, it’s essential that your partner support your passion to be an entrepreneur and ALL the sacrifices that this involves. I am fortunate to have an extremely supportive husband who also happens to be a divorce attorney, so this subject is often talked about in our home. I can’t tell you how often he sees this issue come up again and again in marraiges and if the right support isn’t there -either the marraige ends or the busines does and either way – both suffer in significant ways. If you want to be an entrepreneur, but your partner is a low risk-taker that can’t handle a lot of uncertainty or stress, you’ve got some stuff to work out before you jump in the start-up deep end. This is especially critical if kids are involved.

    1. Great point Rachel about having the right spouse that’s up for entrepreneurship as well. Like raising children, it takes a village to be a successful entrepreneur.

  3. i think the easiest answer would be nothing is ever as easy as it may seem for those that have never truly experienced it.

    i also think it’s important to note the differentiation b/t what ASU broke down as replicative entrepreneurs and innovative entrepreneurs: http://knowledge.wpcarey.asu.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1275 many replicative entrepreneurs don’t have to experience with the *eventful* rollercoaster that accompanies building a company from scratch.

    personally, i’m drawn to the unknown. the overwhelming majority of people are not, and i can’t blame them.

    1. Agreed, it is never as easy as it seems.

      I agree completely with the piece on replicative vs innovative entrepreneurs.

  4. Here’s an entrepreneur assessment test. takes 10 minutes and IMO is surprisingly accurate.
    http://www.careerdiscovery.com/hbspsba/bcii_start.html

    Secondly, the book “eMyth Revisited” is a must read for all aspiring entrepreneurs. It talks about: 1) the entrepreneur, 2) the manager, and 3) the technician and the fact that so many companies are started by managers and technicians who don’t have the requisite entrepreneur personality and mindset to make a go at starting a company.

    1. Great link and I agree about the eMyth Revisited. I read that book seven years ago and it really helped shape my definition of entrepreneurial success for me personally.

  5. Hey David,
    I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life or ever since I can remember. You need extreme astuteness!
    It’s not enough to be a problem solver as important as that is, you need to foresee every situation from start to finish and have details worked out in your head in advance or at least have alternative solutions in place in the event your plan doesn’t come out the way you planned it. Expect the unexpected and have several outcomes up your sleeve so to speak because things seldom work out according to plan.
    To quote Albert Einstein – “Intellectuals solve problems but geniuses prevent them.”

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