Random Xpat Rantings

Contemplative dominance for the modern man

Wanna be an entrepreneur? No, you want to buy a ticket in the entrepreneur lottery.

Posted by xsplat on December 12, 2013

entrepreurialismJake has a few good posts about the business plan of selling the dream to would be entrepeneurs.

I used to do it myself. I used to create and sell “money making” websites. The money making was in selling the websites. I once came across a magazine subscription website selling website. I put my full time programmer to the task of reverse engineering it, and then sold the same websites. The owner of the original contacted me and mentioned that he noticed that I “discovered that the real money is not in selling magazine subscriptions, but in selling websites”.

I used to make some serious money selling people the dream, knowing full well that I was offering nothing of value. It didn’t feel great to earn money that way, but I made my excuses. I was leeching but not killing the host. Not that much harm done.

This is the business model of 98% of ALL internet business help you will find out there, either for free or paid.

Comments I left on Jakes post how-to-make-a-miiiiiiiillion-dollars-bitches

Yup again. I wonder what percent of my business ideas that I’ve tried to execute “failed”, or were distractions from more successful ventures. Probably more than 90%. And although I’ve been self employed and supported for 25 years, at least 15 of those years were living hand to mouth.

Fundamentally I’ve learned nothing from others. Not to say that I haven’t tried to learn from others. Looking back everything I did that was successful was entirely self taught, and a product of my own creativity, initiative and drive.

So my experience agrees with yours. Throw yourself in the water and be prepared for years and years of struggle, followed by many ups and downs.

The last 5 or so years I’ve had stable good success that I’ve been able to grow upon in a stable way for greater success – but even getting to the place psychologically to be able to take appropriate risks – neither too big nor too small – took a great many years.

I don’t think entrepreneurialism has anything to do with purchasing motivation, and next to nothing to do with purchasing plans for how to succeed, and yes even next to nothing to do with networking with a bunch of other entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs discover market opportunities, puzzle out how to create and market real products (that are not just selling to wanna be entrepreneurs the dream). Nobody is going to give away their market opportunity to you. That creative spark has to come from the entrepreneur – that’s what makes him an entrepreneur. Otherwise you can work for a salary or commission for an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are the combination of the dreamer and the practical man. He has a vision, and crucially, can visualize all the steps needed to turn the vision into reality.

And he practices this skill. Over and over and over again.

You don’t get that from a book, or a forum.

From comments on Jakes post circle-jerks-content-consumption-to-action-ratio

Agreed. I’ve never understood the product of motivation. And that’s what Tropical MBA sells. I read in an interview of him that he quit his previous businesses, and focuses all his attention now on his motivational business.

It’s similar with forums like blackhatworld. It’s nearly entirely crap – a bunch of guys in India selling out their services to people who want to make money. I’ve asked there a few times for someone who was not a vendor of services to recommend a service provider who actually helped with their SEO goals, and could not get a single recommendation.

Most internet marketing is merely a pyramid scheme, selling internet marketing. Wanna make money on the internet? Write an ebook about how to make money on the internet! It’s what I did and look at all my money!

I like to make my money by selling physical things that I have a hand in designing and or producing and or packaging. The buck has to stop somewhere. We can’t all endlessly sell to each other the idea of how to sell. Production is production – not talking about marketing.

Those who know how do. Those who don’t teach. My feeling is that you have to learn by doing, and that the real important information you will learn will be your valued trade secrets.

I’m starting up more than 5 new businesses currently, and none of them are related to ebooks or motivation. Real businesses selling real things, with real employees in meat space carving and cutting and programming and computer-modelling and photo-modelling and gluing and melting and mixing and pouring and packaging.

Its my feeling that marketing marketing is a scam. And while marketing motivation may help some people, like you say – the people who need that likely aren’t the people who can be successful anyway. The need for vicarious motivation is a sign that something is wrong.

Ya, I know that’s harsh. Elitist even.

I don’t know where motivation comes from, but I just doubt it comes from a book, or even a cheerleeding squad. Entrepreneurialism is lonely, risky, business. If you are not internally driven for that, then get a salary and focus on savings. A book isn’t going to help you. Really. There will be no useful actionable content in anything you will ever come across about how to be a successful entrepreneur. All you will be doing is getting yourself hyped up and temporarily enjoying the feel good rush of the hyped up state of mind.

That’s not what entrepreneurialism is about. Entrepreneurialism is self directed – self motivated – self created. It comes from inside you.

It’s like writing. Writers often claim to decide to stop writing. They never do. Writers write because they are compelled to write. They are self motivated. You can’t buy motivation to write. You can’t read about motivation to write. You either have that drive in you, or you don’t. If you don’t then fine. Get a salary. Or pay someone to feed you the rush of hopes and dreams.

You’ll never meet a retired writer, just as you’ll never meet a retired entrepreneur. And if you need ideas for what to write about or motivation to write, then you’re not a writer. Same for entrepreneurialism. We don’t become entrepreneurs in order to become rich and happy – there is no end point. We do it because we are compelled. The ideas always pop up, and we find fun in figuring out how to and actually birthing and fostering our creative babies. And no amount of growth will ever be an end in itself. Growth is a means to growth.

You can’t purchase that compulsion. And without it you’ll never persist through the hard times, and never get yourself from A all the way through to Z. There is no A to Z book for how to start a NEW business.

However, general lifestyle advice can help a person to put themselves onto the upward spiral. New thought patterns can be learned to increase productivity, health, and even motivation. You can through force of applied intellect and will put yourself into a better position to be self motivated and creative.

But the actionable content required to do so could probably be penned into a few pages, I’d think. Eat well, exercise, work to increase your contact with people you admire, avoid time sucking bad habits, stay off the booze, practice something valuable that you enjoy every day, throw yourself into tight deadlines and sink or swim situations where necessity will mother your inventiveness, don’t jerk to porn, and so forth. You can maximize your lifestyle so that the funk doesn’t start to grow on you, and so that you’ll have the vitality to see and take good risks, and follow through with energy year after year up until minutes before you die fighting.

Update: Some people who think with their emotions view a lottery ticket as a business plan. Buying a lottery ticket has nothing to with a financial future; it is the purchase of temporary hope.

People value hope enough that they purchase it.

Visualizing success has been scientifically proven to PREVENT success. You’re brain will be fooled into feeling sated with success, and so you wont feel the motivational pressure of urgent need to take concrete real life actions. Visualization is good for muscle memory, not for psychologically feeling like a winner and therefore magically becoming one. Winning happens by actions over time – it’s not related to muscle memory and it is not a matter of a special feeling. Win first, feel later.

It’s true that there will always be a broad demand for purchased temporary hope. You can make money selling the dream. I just think that adding value is a better business plan and leads to a valuable warm fuzzy feeling, which makes for good life crafting synergy.

I’m no motivation expert, and frankly can’t stand any motivational talk – it just annoys me. I see no need for it – just give the content already and spare me the commercial. Maybe I’m just wired differently and people do need 120 minutes of prep talk to be able to be interested enough to focus and digest 10 sentences worth of information. But I’ve seen that I can’t even give away the real life opportunity of being an entrepreneur on a gold plate tied in a red ribbon, even when all risks are removed and invaluable mentorship and guidance are provided.

So something is up. People are not after the real life process of getting from A to Z. They are after an emotional fix of hope.

Entrepreneurship is not about creating and recreating hope. It’s not about visualizing success. It’s about having a vision and implementing it.

Want to be a good writer? Don’t visualize success. That will not only not help you it will get in your way. Nor is the key to write every day. The key to being a good writer is having something important to say. And how can you buy that?

Want to be an entrepreneur? Same type of key. Have something important to sell. And where does the ability to spot market opportunities come from? From hope?

I personally find the sale of lottery tickets distasteful, and a form of stupidity tax. But I’m not above it, and yes there is money in it.

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7 Responses to “Wanna be an entrepreneur? No, you want to buy a ticket in the entrepreneur lottery.”

  1. […] Wanna be an entrepreneur? No, you want to buy a ticket in the entrepreneur lottery. « Random Xpat R… […]

  2. Renfrew said

    Genius post.

    Drawing the distinction between visualizing for muscle memory and visualizing for emotion…I’d had that thought inchoately for awhile; delighted to have it articulated perfectly for me.

    Your elucidation of selling temporary hope, and the emotion of hope feeling valuable but not being useful…also priceless.

    Also agree re: motivational material. I’ve read a ton of self-help books but often enough the title is sufficient. “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” is one book like that. Didn’t read that one, but I’ve benefited from the title alone once or twice in the wee small hours. I’ve collected a great deal of useful (and contradictory) concepts and principles from self-help books. Very hard to say I’m substantially better off for it. At any rate, my successes as a human being and a man are works in progress. I still think I have more potential than actual at this stage of life, which is frustrating.

    Incidentally, people who read self-help books might succeed more than people who don’t (my hypothesis). But people who take multivitamins are healthier than people who don’t. But it’s not because multivitamins cause better health (they’re not known to, as I gather from the literature) — it’s because the kind of person who takes multivitamins is health conscious to begin with!

    Bottom line, arguably: There’s a reason “right livelihood” is a fundamental tenet of Buddhism. That there’s a wide latitude for rightness doesn’t obviate that, and I have come to the conclusion that a big percentage of people (30%+) are doing jobs that shouldn’t even exist; I wonder if they suffer as a result, and have no idea why.

  3. […] Wanna be an entrepreneur? No, you want to buy a ticket in the entrepreneur lottery. […]

  4. You are a very astute man, xsplat. And you are somebody I would like to know. I will come to Indonesia in 2014 and visit you.

  5. […] Wanna be an entrepreneur? No, you want to buy a ticket in the entrepreneur lottery. […]

  6. KS said

    So then, xsplat, what would you recommend to a hapless beta who’s fallen for this feel-good rush crap? I doubt I’m cut out for entrepreneurship (at least not full-time).

    I must say, this is an excellent blog.

    Also, what’s your opinion of the Fastlane Forum?

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