I had lunch with a friend today who's also entrepreneurial, and as he told me the story of how he became an entrepreneur, I realized that it had a lot in common with my story. In particular, we were both selling things at a very young age.
On the other hand, we both had friends who were extremely smart and capable people who didn't have these experiences as kids, and now they default to having jobs.
So questions for you:
1. Would you consider yourself to be an entrepreneur?
2. Whether you're an entrepreneur or not, did you do things like have a lemonade stand, sell crafts, etc. as a kid?
I used to ride to the convenience store at lunch hour and buy candy which I would sell at a markup in class. Pretty much every day I would make enough money to buy a comic book. Eventually, I had a huge comic book collection and sold half of it to a comic book store, and bought my first modem, which I used to start a BBS when I was 13 years old.
Tynan, I agree 100%. Here's a blog I wrote about this very topic: http://www.danielodio.com/2012/03/14/high-school-students-vs-mbas/
And specifically, starting at a young age is very important.
It's definitely learned and not genetic, but learning it at a young age makes a huge difference; risk tolerance only goes down with age, which is ironic when you consider the more of your life you've already lived, the less risk there is you might mess up the amount that remains. Funny how the human psyche works.
I've kind of tried it, even worked in a micro-company that was one step removed from it, but I saw how it can be difficult to make any sort of consistent money at all for quite a while. I did that all before while I was a poor student although.
Tynan didn't drop college until you had a semi-consistent cash flow in poker for example. If someone stumbles onto something like that while they're going the default life path, it can be a lot easier to do it.
I'm a software developer and I'm in high demand right now, so having the job is good for me while I establish myself financially. I've achieved many financial goals in 1.5 years of working (paid off student loan, purchased decent motor vehicle, purchased a bunch of geeky tools, etc) so after maybe I save a bit more and buy around $10k in big ticket items (eye surgery, a vacation for once) I might consider going it on my own.
The thing is, after seeing mr. money mustache and early retirement extreme's example, you can just save 50-80% of your cashflow and in 5-8 years achieve financial independence. Once you have that independence, you can then launch into very interesting ventures. Even with the shittiest of wages as markus of EEE demonstrated.
I grew up where there were more bears than people. I never found a way to sell anything to them, but I did figure out how to chase them away from our garbage with my hockey stick.
I have earnt my living in many ways, but mostly it has involved the shell of my own business. I don't mind working for other people, but I always need to be working on my own projects. As a kid I sold hair combs, which I made myself, and I sold biscuits and poetry and I even sang once or twice. My dad was a builder, so there was that small buisness attitude to the house.
I am Program Coordinator for HandMade in America, a nonprofit in Asheville, NC, and I run an entrepreneurial group for women with craft based business in WNC. It's amazing how all the women have one thing in common.. they have ideas, and they have always had ideas! They are creative and use that to make a business for themselves. I just help them with the business side of their craft, because often artists have a hard time with that side of things!
I consider myself an Entrepreneur. Starting a business is not the hard part for me; being able to let others take over, and turn the business from active income to a passive income situation is the hard part.
I work at a desk job now, and I hate it. As soon as I find a viable opportunity that will earn similar, I am jumping ship.
1. Yes, I'm doing a successful startup, began right after college--no jobs.
2. No, I didn't do anything entrepreneurial before this.
NEW: Video link added to the bottom 12/14
NEW: Second video link added to the bottom 12/15
Haha... two secret posts in a row. I have a mental list of stories I want to write here, and somehow this one had slipped off of it. Luckily, a UT Grad who goes by "The Reel Deal" posted a comment reminding me about the story. So here it goes, with a little history first.
I never thought I'd go to UT (The University of Texas, not Tennessee). Ever since I was in middle school, I always knew that I'd go to MIT - it was where the smart geeky people went, and I was one of them. When it came time to do applications for schools, I mailed two of them. One for MIT and one for WPI, a lesser known technical school in Massachusetts. I had abysmal grades, due in a large part to my refusal to do most homework and having never actually studied for a test. I always thought it was interesting to see how much of the material I'd naturally retained. Let's just say it usually wasn't over 80%.
I just got off a Skype video chat with Eric Wilker, who is an Executive MBA student at USC in addition to being SVP of Business Planning & Operations at Warner Bros. He had to interview an entrepreneur as a part of his class and asked me if I'd be game. I said sure, so long as I could capture the session on video and share it with you. We discussed a wide range of topics, including:
Here's the video of our chat about being an entrepreneur: