Managing Partner – Pelion Venture Partners
Nobody is born an entrepreneur. Different people take different paths to achieving their definition of success. Just know: The entrepreneurial roller coaster of emotions is vast and deep.
No Matter the Generation, the Lessons Ring True
I’ve had a front-row seat to entrepreneurship my entire life. I grew up on a farm in Bancroft, Idaho. My father was a farmer who knew that if you came in from the fields without dirty hands, you were doing it wrong. My grandfather ran a furniture and carpentry start-up, and my great-grandfather owned a fleet of fishing vessels and a shipyard. From their wisdom, I gleaned the following lessons indispensible to entrepreneurial success.
“Don’t go it alone.”
The life of an entrepreneur can be great – you’re your own boss, and you make the rules. But you are not the only one on the quest. Do you have the temperament to recruit, nurture and reward the team who has the skills and conviction to make your vision the reality?
Help from the outside is also key. Surround yourself with great mentors – people who will guide you, push you, are willing to have the hard conversations with you. When you have expert guidance, support and motivation, you avoid beginner hurdles.Entrepreneurship impacts relationships, and physical and mental health. Is your family up for this journey?
“Accept that you may fail as often as you succeed.”
Failure is likely, and success is not a given, at least not immediately. Understand the risk you are taking. Are you capable of learning from your mistakes and adapting?
“Don’t blame others.”
At the end of the day, you can blame only yourself for failure – not your team, your mentors or events out of your control. It’s on you. A successful entrepreneur takes the heat and “fixes it.”
Just as you shouldn’t blame your team members for failures, you should not accept the praise for their successes. Are you capable of aiming the spotlight on the stars and feeling joy for their accomplishments?
“Do your homework.”
Research, planning and deep thought are needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. Without proper preparation, your dream business could fail quite quickly.
“Focus on giving, not getting.”
In the great book “The Go-Giver,” a young man named Joe is a true go-getter, but he feels the harder and faster he works, the further his goals are from reach. Joe doesn’t achieve success until he understands that the power of seeking to give is far superior to the power of trying to get. Are you willing to give more to the entrepreneurial ecosystem than you take?
In summary, ask yourself: Am I ready to be an entrepreneur? Do I have the risk tolerance, fortitude, passion and support to embark on a journey with the potential for both heartache and great success?