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Question re: entrepreneurship (NOT a seeking advice thread) - Page 2

post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by randallr View Post
Are you worried you may be too sensitive?
I get defensive sometimes because I have an overactive ego. But if it just means handling a bunch of "nos", then I am not so worried about it.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post
Can you talk more about the thick skin part?
Essentially, this means shrugging off the devil's advocates of the world -- and there will be many -- with a simple "Eh; haters gonna hate" attitude. The attitude that listens to reasonable critique, considers it, and incorporates the best of it, but is not totally crushed by setbacks or by skepticism from others. I tried to start my own business once. Twice, actually. Both times, pretty much anyone I spoke with for advice, be it family or friends or colleagues or friends-of-friends, told me I was nuts to go for it. The old saying that "everyone's a critic" is never more true than when you're going balls-to-the-wall on a startup, and nobody's buying it. This will happen -- no matter how strong your concept, how good your funding, how sharp your intellect, how slick your hustle, and so forth. Everyone's gonna rag on you, because ragging on an idea is a lot easier than supporting it. And because 99.99% of the world is too risk-averse for the entrepreneurship game, and as such, they neither understand nor support it. Maintaining a thick skin is essential. If you're too easily dismayed by the naysayers, then you'll never outlast your first few setbacks. You'll hit a few bumps on the road and say to yourself "You know what? The naysayers were right. I'm cutting my losses now, before it's too late." You may think you can handle the "nos" now, but just wait until you've received several dozen of them. Several hundred of them. They weigh on you eventually. The toughest part of entrepreneurship is figuring out when to listen, and when not to listen, to the naysayers. There's this weird, psychological game you have to play. You keep wondering whether the doubters have good points, or whether they're just not "getting" you and thus can be dismissed. You weigh their doubts against the long odds, which usually point in their favor. And you weigh those odds against the "But my business is different!" attitude that you have to have in order to keep going. It's a serious, serious mindfuck. Few people have the stomach for it. I myself did not, and to this day, I do not know whether I ever will -- even though the entrepreneurial spirit still burns brightly within me.
post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 
^ True. I've seen brilliant/savvy people become delusional when it's their baby (not literal) on the line. It's probably a fine line that is hard to navigate alone. I'd assume having some trusted, supportive advisors/mentors can come in really handy when figuring out whether people are just hating or whether it's really not going anywhere.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post
I've never been one to try to change the world, even though I get far-fetched ideas. My dream is simple: create a boring business, cash out for $3MM one day, and call it quits. I know, not very ambitious, but I guess I just don't really want anything more than that.

People who have that kind of dream will never make it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/antoni..._b_683884.html
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cchen View Post
People who have that kind of dream will never make it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/antoni..._b_683884.html

Very timely post given the few that preceded it.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post
Can you talk more about the thick skin part?

In short: Doesn't look for a fight, but won't get walked on, either.

Here's an example: We've been dealing with a computer project for a long, long time now. People were - for a time - really getting upset with the lack of slack time and the unavailability of vacay time. I mean, grumble grumble, and more than a few resignations along the way.

Didn't matter. The project is what it is and no one is big enough to derail it. He is committed to making this work, and it will work. Period. He's said to me on more than a few occasions that he knows that his name gets cussed sometimes, but it is what it is. It will pass.

Another: threats / litigation. Hates being threatened and will let business walk out the door if he feels that they're trying to pull a fast one. Has told more than a few customers - and one big one - that they're not profitable enough and need to find a new vendor. Will extend a parting gesture to close matters amicably, though, because lawyers are expensive.

Has no problem firing people, too - and cannot fire a bad-attitude person fast enough.
post #22 of 33
My pops owned a car repair shop with his brother for 30 years. Neither had any special education, just a very good understanding of how to treat people. He still does side work for old customers.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard View Post
Essentially, this means shrugging off the devil's advocates of the world -- and there will be many -- with a simple "Eh; haters gonna hate" attitude. The attitude that listens to reasonable critique, considers it, and incorporates the best of it, but is not totally crushed by setbacks or by skepticism from others.
This advice will apply at any point in time one makes the statement "I want to <insert ambitious life plan>". Most people are average, and the idea of another person even pursuing a dream/ambitious desire subconsciously bothers them, I'm quite sure. If the majority of people had this attitude, nobody would ever do anything great. Rest assure that most entrepreneurs had the unfortunate experience of knowing plenty of these people early on in their endeavors, and the pleasure of knowing them after succeeding. Not to say that a certain amount of criticism isn't warranted, but you get the picture.
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by suited View Post
This advice will apply at any point in time one makes the statement "I want to <insert ambitious life plan>". Most people are average, and the idea of another person even pursuing a dream/ambitious desire subconsciously bothers them, I'm quite sure. If the majority of people had this attitude, nobody would ever do anything great. Rest assure that most entrepreneurs had the unfortunate experience of knowing plenty of these people early on in their endeavors, and the pleasure of knowing them after succeeding. Not to say that a certain amount of criticism isn't warranted, but you get the picture.
Absolutely. I think people mean well when they shit on ideas. In a weird way, they're trying to watch out for you. (At least the close friends and family are). They have heard all the stats about how most businesses fail, and so forth, and they want you to just toe the line and get back on the standard track before you end up a total failure in life. What they don't understand is that, for some people, a standard-track life is tantamount to total failure in the first place.
post #25 of 33
http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/0...WT.mc_ev=click Top 10 reasons for entrepreneurial success
post #26 of 33
I typed up so much, but then double checked the thread and saw you said you want 3M and you'd retire bascially. I deleted everything I wrote. All I will say is that for those who are truely successful, its not about money, its about the game. Its sounds incredibly cliche, but real businessmen would sell a business if it was the right thing to do, but they can never quit the game. They love the lifestyle. I'm not talking about the cars, houses, planes, etc., they really don't care about that, they just buy them because its more of a "why not" kind of thing, but the lifestyle of growth and innovation. Its hard to explain, you either do or you don't understand. "F.U. Money" is the amount they need to start an even better company, not retire.
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroStyles View Post

So - for those of you that are entrepreneurs, or have had family members/friends become entrepreneurs, I pose a question:

What is the success rate of entrepreneurs that are highly intelligent, financially literate, thrifty, personable, and that take the time to plan things out, strategically and financially, before jumping in?

And if you have seen these types of people fail - why do you think they have failed? Wrong product, wrong time? Overestimation of public demand? Poor marketing? Another competitor with a better proposition swooped in?

Has it been the idea, or the execution that has led to successful businesses you have witnessed?

Any interesting viewpoints/stories are appreciated.

I'd give it a 70% fail rate at best. Business it a lot of luck or money at the start (as in you'd better hope that you're lucky if you don't have a lot of money). Overestimation is another issue. Smart people tend to overestimate their abilities, or they get caught on the high values of the math they've run, and not the full range of possibilities. Marketing can be a bitch too. If you're trying to get a favor from a guy and catch him on a bad day, you're fucked a potentially make/break opportunity. Getting in to business is difficult often because of the firmly rooted brands.

Execution is paramount for the majority of businesses. Some people luck out or are skilled enough to get a revolutionary product/service that would take a moron to lose on. Everyone else to needs avoid the major fuckups that come with unexpected costs, fluctuations in demand, employees, government regulations that they're unfamiliar with, etc.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMD.EXE View Post
All I will say is that for those who are truely successful, its not about money, its about the game. Its sounds incredibly cliche, but real businessmen would sell a business if it was the right thing to do, but they can never quit the game. They love the lifestyle. I'm not talking about the cars, houses, planes, etc., they really don't care about that, they just buy them because its more of a "why not" kind of thing, but the lifestyle of growth and innovation. Its hard to explain, you either do or you don't understand. "F.U. Money" is the amount they need to start an even better company, not retire.

Dude- it's ALL about the money. The lifestyle tends to suck, employees are a pain in the ass, the government shits all over your parade on a regular basis, and you're working your ass off non stop. People generally gtfo of business when they've hit even moderately big and there's a market for it.
post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HgaleK View Post
Dude- it's ALL about the money. The lifestyle tends to suck, employees are a pain in the ass, the government shits all over your parade on a regular basis, and you're working your ass off non stop. People generally gtfo of business when they've hit even moderately big and there's a market for it.
Wrong. They tend to GTFO of their current businesses, but have 4 million other ideas that they want to try. It's not about the money. The money is a HUGE portion of it, but the bottom line is that certain people just believe they can do many things better than everyone else, and feel compelled to try it. It sounds arrogant and doesn't always work out that way, but it's that insatiable desire to try that drives truly successful entrepreneurs. As for business ideas, I've noticed that many industries were invented to solve irritations, annoyances, or flaws in current methods of doing things. Look at the things that are pissing you off in life, and figure out how to solve them. Then narrow it down to things that you would be willing to pay to rid yourself of. Odds are that a lot of other people would pay to have those annoyances go away as well. I literally keep a file on my phone and make a note in it every time I get pissed off due to a design flaw or stupid decision on the part of a product engineer. A perfect example I read about recently - one guy got pissed he could never find his car in large parking lots. He spends a couple of weeks coding an app for Android that guides you back to your car with a radar like display, and throws it up on the market. He's making over $145,000 a year with no additional work besides an occasional update. Why? Because millions of people were just like him and get pissed off when they can't find where they parked their car. I realize this is just one example, but it can be extrapolated to larger concepts.
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by computerpro3 View Post
...We're also casually kicking around some real estate development ideas...

Have fun with that one. Real estate is a perfect lesson for people on the importance of liquidity. You get to be both poor and worth a shit ton of money.
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