Why is entrepreneurship so popular?

When the Small Business Administration puts out the stats that 99 percent of all businesses in the US are small businesses, to me this sounds so impressive that I think, “well, I can join in too.”  There are 28 million small businesses in the US so surely, I can join the club!

In just searching for a few articles on this topic, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the amount of information smacking me in the face.    Try it for yourself.  Just Google “why start a business” and you will find 418 million results. Or look up “how to start your own business” and find 191 million results.

WOW!  Why wouldn’t I want to start a business.

Between books like Start Your Own Business and websites like The Balance, the most popular reasons to start a business include re-designing one’s career, attaining financial independence, supplementing one’s income, flexibility, more spare time, call the shots, set your own deadlines… And actually, there are roughly six thousand books on the subject through Amazon.

Articles, like this one, from The Muse, “Why You Really Should Just Launch Your Business Already” are enticing and inviting, especially when these articles claim that most of the time, good enough really is good enough.

The advice “just start” is easy to give but difficult to implement. Again, the Small Business Administration gives the reality perspective:

“While more than 543,000 new businesses are started every month, statistics show that only about two-thirds of startups will survive two years in business, half will survive five years and only one-third will survive 10.

Ten years ago, or even just five, the expression “good enough” was used in connection with the Lean Startup movement.  I used to teach the process: design an MVP (minimum viable product), get it out there, test it, pivot, learn, redesign and launch.  However, today, the minimum viable product concept has been misused and even abused in my opinion.

One’s first product or service that hits the customer, must be good, not necessarily great, and definitely not just good enough.  The first impression and ongoing impression the customer looks at is the same as when one applies for a job or meets someone new- the hardest impression to break free from is the first impression.

Think about entrepreneurship like this.  When you start something new, say a diet, and exercise routine, something important and difficult from many perspectives, the easy part is starting, the hardest part is continuing successfully along the journey.  And when there are countless pieces of advice on how to be successful, you either are reading everything and getting all kinds of conflicting advice, or you end up reading nothing and consequently learning nothing about the process of starting and managing a startup.

For those under the age of 40 and who want to be tech entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley offers a rich ecosystem for startups to thrive, and ultimately produces entrepreneur role models.  Universities, successful businesses and California’s laws making it easy for starting a business, and easier to succeed.  As a google evangelist said:

“What results is a steady stream of well-trained engineers, business people, marketers, researchers; a vibrant venture capital community; a highly available stock market appetite for stock flotations; and people with experience in business, including how and why business failures happen.”

But what I’ve learned is that it is not easy being an entrepreneur, and overwhelmingly difficult to be an entrepreneur over 50.

If you have already started, then the most valuable lesson I can share? Just keep going.  But don’t hesitate to ask for guidance!


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