Random Xpat Rantings

Contemplative dominance for the modern man

Wanting to be an entrepreneur is not like wanting an ice cream cone

Posted by xsplat on July 6, 2013

Architekt Wrote: Someone with a bit of 3D design skill could literally just sit around all day designing things until they struck it big, or make enough 3-D printer items with a small return that it adds up. Passive income anyone?

Anon-A-Moose Wrote: This is what I want to do someday.

I’m learning that follow through on entrepreneurial desires is in an entirely different category than entrepreneurial desires.

This may sound strange and unbelievable – because even though I’m saying it is strange and unbelievable to me – but people don’t actually want what they want. At least if you judge by their actions.

Many times in many ways I’ve offered people the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial visions. I’ve offered angel investment to anyone who can come up with a good idea and a business plan. No takers. For those needing more direction, I have a seemingly endless number of likely lucrative projects that I have the means and desire to fund, and have been making efforts to recruit people. The deal is that all living and business expenses would be paid until the business was successful, after which there would be profit sharing, with the long term potential of partnership. No matter what a persons particular talent and motivation, if they are quality useful guys, I can put them to work. This offer garnered a lot of interest, enthusiasm, and support, but in the end cold feet or other issues have prevented people from taking that first big first step.

When it comes down to it, most people prefer to work for an established company rather than create their own. Even if all barriers to entry were reduced to the minimal possible; even if all of their living and business expenses would be paid for, they were given a great work and play and social environment, and they had good projects to work on that they believed and were interested in, and had mentorship and guidance from an entrepreneur with a proven track record and solid resources.

So at this point I interpret “This is what I want to do someday.” as meaning “That sounds cool, but in reality I’ll always be too busy with my real life to get around to it.”

People do not want to be entrepreneurs. And as we all know deep down, when a blanket statement is made, it always means “in general” unless specifically otherwise stated. MOST people will not take the concrete steps required to become entrepreneurs, even when they say that is what they want to do. When it comes down to it, they’ll opt for what they know.

Entrepreneurs are a very rare breed.

Maybe it has to do with dopamine receptors and the need for novelty and risk?

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26 Responses to “Wanting to be an entrepreneur is not like wanting an ice cream cone”

  1. caring said

    would you say your ‘spiritual’ practice helped your business succes, impeded it or was irrelevant?

    • xsplat said

      I suspect meditation increases creativity. There are also many Buddhist practices and philosophies that deal directly with becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and existential groundlessness.

      • adiaforon said

        What are some of the projects you have in mind? I’m interested in taking a look at them.

        Also, about the wanting vs. the follow-through. There are some people out there (I like to count myself one of them) who, when younger, had more of the desire to try something new. Price of being young, I guess. But, the downside is that you don’t have that experience of other people’s bullshit, which is usually the primary impediment to getting things done. Sure, a lot of it has to do with staying with the known. I did this for a few years until I could get my feet on the ground and pay off debts. I tried to adopt more of the uncertain, but it didn’t bring in the money. Shit . . . with the increased bullshit involved in trying to get a regular job (HR, resume black holes, etc.), it became frightening. But only because it was a kind of prison . . . the prison of mediocrity standing in the way of progress.

        Now, I’m more interested in exploring the uncertain.

        Please shoot me a private message. I’d like to talk about your side projects,.

      • xsplat said

        I appreciate the show of interest. I expected that this post would get some, but due to past experiences I’d prefer to start any dialogs with people contacting me first and letting me know what their strengths and interests are, and their ability and seriousness to be able to make a real life change.

  2. Pareto’s 80/20 law. 80% talk, 20% do.

    I have found to be successful it is often fail, fail, fail, then succeed.

  3. Don said

    Environment takes a big role.

    Italy has a tax burden of 44%.

    It’s nearly impossible to do business here. Firms are closing and dolocalizing if they can.

    The house (the State) always wins.

    • xsplat said

      Ya, that’s a big advantage to living in SEA. Expenses are so low that it’s possible to take bigger risks.

      And yes, taxes are a deadly burden on entrepreneurial ventures. I sometimes wonder if that’s by design, as the canopy of big business crowds out the sunlight from the forest floor.

      In Indonesia most people don’t even file.

      • Don said

        I believe it. Capitals are moving from “the West” to placese like Singapore.

        Nietzsche explains very well what is socialism.

        I strongly believe human nature goes along with capitalism.

        P.S.: some good quotes: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/capitalism.html

      • xsplat said

        A quote from that page:

        “I call crony capitalism, where you take money from successful small businesses, spend it in Washington on favored industries, on favored individuals, picking winners and losers in the economy, that’s not pro-growth economics. That’s not entrepreneurial economics. That’s not helping small businesses. That’s cronyism, that’s corporate welfare.”
        Paul Ryan

  4. jimmy said

    The person who is likely to succeed or follow through is likely to have a thinking style (or personality style) that is in the very low single figure percentage of the population. Some one who naturally thinks laterally, thinks and operates outside the box/grid, has the internal drive to keep at some thing until completion, operates a high level on everything (or at least improves all the time), has the ability to change direction and learn from mistakes (most people have an aversion to failure), switch from details to big picture, etc etc – this is a low percentage person.

    A lot of people like the idea of being in charge or creating some thing or like to read about different successful people (often you can only get any worth from these stories if you too have encountered similar problems as they did or share traits they may have) and they may even come up with very basic ideas themselves. But an idea is often the heading at the top of a very long blank piece of paper which they never seem to progress far down the page before stalling. Or maybe they see it as a hobby that is unlikely to progress far rather like being on a journey and not reaching any destination.

    Another thing I find is that people can never accept or see the worth in the help that you are trying to provide them often for free (on the flip side people offer others advice that is worthless as well). You could be providing them with information that would generate gain for them but no return for yourself. Often these are from making the same mistakes and learning – having experience in the same field or transferable skills – or being at the coal face and from having done the work that a better strategy would have yielded better returns next time.
    Sometimes they even arrive at the advice themselves – usually several years down the line – and then you think that having been proven correct that they might take your advice now – highly unlikely.
    Perhaps this is why most people who do have the right traits operate on their own.
    I guess you can only recognize your own type and if your type is in a low percentage then you very infrequently encounter that type of person.

  5. avd said

    “When it comes down to it, most people prefer to work for an established company rather than create their own.”

    Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the MS. Little people would rather follow a prescribed laid before them youtube video rather than go out and make life happen for themselves. They will in fact beg for those youtube videos.

    Far better is to lay the nuts on the chopping block, and learn for one’s self. You own that lesson 100%, with no commissions.

  6. JB said

    Any man who doesn’t want to be his own boss seems like a pussy to me. At 25 I quit my job to try my hand at day trading futures. I had some success, but it was not sustainable in my current approach. I went back to work to continue saving money. Once I save up more money I will continue working my trading strategies for futures and options.By the time I’m 30 I will be able to work from anywhere in the world from my laptop.

    • xsplat said

      The only thing I know about trading is that accountable professionals don’t tend to outperform the market, and often underperform it. So to me all their knowledge and science and skill doesn’t add up to a career – unless it’s a career of earning commissions on other peoples money.

      I bought a lot of gold at about 1700 and now it’s floating around 1200. While real estate has gone up over 50% in my area in the same time. And I’ve seen people lose their life savings on real estate.

      I’m most attracted to making profit through selling stuff. For that I’m often involved in the research and production of it, but I’ve also been content to be a broker. A next step will be farming bamboo, but I’m also interested in building and running apartments and guest houses. Actually I have a great many business and investment plans…

      There is volatility everywhere, but adding value and reselling is still my favored money making and investment strategy.

      • t said

        I am actually thinking about brokering deals. Any insights? I am planning on just directly contacting companies. I hired someone to gather sellers for me.

      • JB said

        I believe 95% of day traders lose money. Whether or not you win or lose on the trade, the broker always gets his cut…But there are still ways the retail investor can sell stuff. You can sell options and collect a premium on the sale, which is the method I am most attracted to. You kind of turn your capital into an insurance company.

        Anyway, as long as you can find a way to be your own boss you are doing something right. That is what I am working for right now.

      • t said

        I am not sure who the above comment is directed to, but just thought I would clarify that I am not interested in brokering trades in the stock, options, futures or any of those markets. I am interested in brokering the actual sale of merchandise, particularly from sellers who are desperate to get rid of them, even at a loss (i.e. liquidations) to buyers who can buy large amounts of said merchandise.

  7. I think being an entrepreneur is like being a leader.
    Some have it in them, and some are able to withstand it being put upon them.

    A simple example is: I wanted to get in shape. I got the guys in the office to start doing hundred pushup challenge. They all saw the benefits, and talked about doing other workouts at the same time. I told them we should finish this one first. Then the office was closed. No-one is doing it except me now. I have emailed them many times to try to get them to continue, but they have all fallen off the train.

    People can have good ideas ( 3d printer stuff ), but there is a drive to push through all the unknowns that you must have to be an entrepreneur.

    • xsplat said

      I’m discovering an interest in leading that I hadn’t noticed before. I suspect that it can grow naturally out of life experiences and be part of life stages. In the trades it was expected to transition from intern to grand master as stages of life.

      Age gives perspective, knowledge, experience and wisdom that youth has no idea it lacks.

      • I agree with this. I have always chosen to be careful, and I did not want to feel that it was me being vain that I was able to lead, but I now feel confident in my assessments.

        I know that fault in decision making is not MAKING the wrong decision, which is hind-sight. It is having had a bad choice given the data at the time. You MUST make decisions given imperfect knowledge. The only question thus is do you understand this, and realize that the goal is only find fault with yourself if you have failed given knowledge you had. This dovetails nicely into the sunk cost fallacy. This is an example of a mistake you can make that is NOT due to imperfect knowledge.

      • xsplat said

        I figure that if one out of 10 entrepreneurial attempts are successful then that is a solid track record.

        Coincidentally that is roughly the statistic for new businesses, as I recall; only one out of ten survive the first few years.

        Failure is built in to the process of success. Failure is not necessarily a sign of failure. From the perpsective of the present moment offering imperfect knowledge, failure is the outcome of a rational attempt.

        The entrepreneur knows this, and doesn’t stop making attempts. He factors in failure the same way a retailer factors in shrinkage in cost of sales.

        One thing I’ve learned though is to limit risk when making new attempts. Another is to focus on the big money projects and not get side tracked.

      • Edison quote: “Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward…”.
        I agree the key is how to limit the cost of an individual trial, and more importantly how to parlay that into additional trials. If your restaurant fails, maybe try a different cuisine, in a different location? Make use of the commercial equipment you have already paid for.

  8. Jake said

    If I’m interested in your offer, what is the best way to send you some info about me?

  9. […] wanna-be-an-entrepreneur-no-you-want-to-buy-a-ticket-in-the-entrepreneur-lottery wanting-to-be-an-entrepreneur-is-not-like-wanting-an-ice-cream-cone […]

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