Last Update: November 19, 2014
People say the craziest things — especially to entrepreneurs.
Over the year’s I have learned that many people are concerned with trivial things that many successful entrepreneurs are not. Once you decide to launch a startup or even if you’ve been running a wildly successful business, inevitably you will come across well-meaning individuals with ill-conceived notions about entrepreneurship.
Trust me. It’s harmless. And often times, amusing.
But, I didn’t always perceive it that way. If you’re just getting started or facing challenges in business it can appear to be an all-out assault. It starts innocently enough. Who wouldn’t want to share their business successes with close friends, strangers, family or loved ones? But more times than not, you are met with an unexpected, less than positive reaction.
But don’t sulk. It’s to be expected. Don’t take “comedic” commentary seriously. We’ve all heard it once or twice … the crazy things that people say to entrepreneurs.
1. That’s impossible.
Don’t take it personally. Most people’s assessment of others is based on their personal beliefs about their own capabilities — not yours.
2. I would start a business, but I don’t have the “______________.”
Insert any common excuse here. There are 100+ excuses that prevent people from becoming great. Excusitis is a contagious disease that kills thousands of unsuspecting dreams per day. See a doctor immediately if you experience numbing of the ears or brain activity loss from exposure to: excusitis, broke fever, timewasterplasia, lazytosis, hardworkophobia, the playitsafe plague, or the “common” cold.
3. Do you ever give yourself a break?
Does your “boss” ever give you one? One of the most rewarding aspects of owning your own business is the personal freedom and time that you ultimately control. Never compare an unrewarding job to pursuing your passion and running a successful business. Apples and oranges, folks.
4. I knew this guy once, who started a business and he was struck by lightning, his car broke down and his girlfriend didn’t like it so the business failed.
I can’t seem to figure out why some stories are even relevant. Congratulations will suffice.
5. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about starting up “something” of my own here lately. Heck, I had this idea back in 1999.
The indication of “something” and the tremendous time lapse that follows should trigger a red flag. Don’t consult with someone who has been sitting on an idea since the beginning of time.
6. If I were you, I’d … “fill in the blank with any misinformed and unqualified guidance here.”
This is classic. Theory is not application. No one can take you where they have not been. At best, they can read directions. But who truly enjoys backseat drivers anyhow? You earn the right to be heard, until then you have the right to think (T.D. Jakes).
7. Ever since you started “that business” you don’t hangout like we used to … what’s up with that?
A very wise person once told me, “People that have ‘nothing’ to do, always want to do ‘it’ with you.” Truer words were never spoken. Be prepared to sacrifice short-term musings for long-term gain. Surround yourself with ‘forward-thinkers’ and visionaries who will support you in every way, whether you ‘hangout’ or not.
8. I would start a business, but I prefer my job security — by the way can I borrow five bucks?
Oh the irony. Amid recent economic events, economists and pundits alike waited like an impatient child for a steady turn-around. For those who think “I’m irreplaceable,” think again. The framework can fail (and has and will again). Repeat after me, “There is no such thing as job security.”
9. I heard from my friend David that his friend Renee had a sister, Jessica, who’s best friend tried to start a business once.
Hearsay is not even admissible in court. So why would you acknowledge it in a conversation? It is unverified, unofficial information … and not part of one’s direct knowledge. Please tell your friend to kindly save the scandalous saga for late night TV.
10. That sounds too risky…
Compared to what? Yes, entrepreneurship is full of inherent risk, but so is sitting around waiting on a paycheck while reenacting “Amistad” to keep it. Take the road less traveled. Master fear and manage risk along the way. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary (Jim Rohn).
While humorous, if you’re ever on the receiving end of colorful commentary lacking expert analysis, it can be disheartening or at best, confounding. Instead, learn to cancel out the noise and make one simple decision today: Don’t look for buy-in, acknowledgement or approval from people who cannot contribute directly (or indirectly) to your success in business.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself (Jim Rohn). Therefore, as you grow your business locate and build relationships with like-minded individuals who think as you do. Because, let’s face it — entrepreneurs think differently.
Finally, don’t be discouraged. Today you will do what others won’t, so tomorrow you can accomplish what others can’t (Jerry Rice).