How Old, Is Old Enough, To Qualify As An Entrepreneur?

04Sep06

Entrepreneurs

Business Pundit published an article last week; ‘Entrepreneurship, Age, and Money – Is It Better To Start Young or Wait Until You Are Older?that makes for an interesting read. Couple of points that I would like to make, but for the sake of brevity, I want to highlight just one. This pundit says:

“The truth is that you are likely to make less money over your career as an entrepreneur than you would in the corporate world. Research shows that only the top quartile of entrepreneurs make more wages than their corporate employed counterparts. That means 75% of entrepreneurs would be better off financially with a regular job. You could counter by saying that wages may suffer but you can build wealth through your business, but you would be wrong again. The majority of entrepreneurs have $20,000 or less in business equity, and 30% of them have zero business equity. Surprising? Probably not given how many new businesses fail.”

Yeah, all of the above could be true, but I think deciding to be an entrepreneur is not really about the money. To some, it may be. But the ones that I know of, money was never the primary issue to go it alone. It’s something much deeper than just dollars and cents. It is about making a difference in society. It’s a kinda calling, that not everyone receives and that’s about as much as I can agree with the pundit, where he says:

“It irks me a bit to read some of these blog posts around the web where people write stuff that basically says entrepreneurship is for everyone, and if you aren’t an entrepreneur you are a loser corporate drone. The irony is that successful entrepreneurs who sell their companies usually end up as “corporate drones”, working at the acquiring firm for a few years. There is value in what you can learn working for a corporation, and there is value in waiting until you are older to start a company. I did it at 26 and that was probably too young. There was so much I didn’t know. But then again there was so much I learned too.”

Entrepreneurship is a harsh lesson in reality.  Point out one successful entrepreneur who hasn’t stumbled and emptied out that carton of tissue boxes from wiping away the blood, sweat and tears and I’ll shovel your driveway this winter (did I mention that Singapore does not have that problem). And that’s why, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I think it was Thomas Edison who said, ‘Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.’ I reckon therefore, all entrepreneurs are geniuses. But it’s that 99 percent perspiration that decides if you’ll be a successful genius/entrepreneur or not.

Sure 75% of entrepreneurs would be better off financially with a regular job. After all, what’s so difficult about working for somebody else, apart from the daily commute, the office politics, the constant backstabbing, the fiendish cackles emanating from your boss’s office, getting the blame for something you did not do, someone else getting the accolades for something you actually did do, the possibility of losing your job no matter how outstanding a worker you are, picked as the sacrificial lam…I think you get my point. So what if the money is better?

Entrepreneurship is about taking control. Taking charge of designing your own lifestyle and that of your family’s. It’s difficult – but not impossible. The satisfaction does not come at the end of month – where you receive a check from your boss – but with every brick that you lay for your business’s foundation.

But let’s face it, in this day and age where almost everything is handed down to us on a silver platter, not everyone views working for themselves a brilliant investment. Now, try telling that, to Thomas Edison.



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