There are thousands and thousands of “experts” out there with advice on how to be a successful entrepreneur, how to start your business, how to grow your business blah blah blah – sadly most of their advice is really BORING. It’s hard to cut through the dross, but you need to read the same rhetoric over and over again to find the gems, the articles I love are often a little less polished and you can just tell the author has actually “been there done that” not just rehashing what they read on Forbes or HBR or learned in an MBA book.
Today I read some fantastic advice – except for the bits I totally and utterly disagree with. 100 Rules for being an entrepreneur is the offending article. The author clearly has experience as an entrepreneur and most of the list is absolutely and totally spot on from our experience, we have learned so many of these points via trial and error, making our own mistakes along the way so totally agree with the majority of what he is saying. Sadly the two things that irk me the most are salaciously placed at the start to get exactly this reaction (I guess this means the article is well written really).
A) It’s not fun. That rule is total and utter bull. For Shane and I it’s all about being fun, we ask ourselves all the time “are we having fun (yet)” and some of the time the answer is no, but most of the time on balance the answer is yes.
To be fun the stars have to align – our customers need to be happy, our awesome team needs to be happy, cashflow needs to be good, pipeline needs to be awesome, our juggling infallible etc etc. For us it’s about the journey as much as about the destination (which is owning a chocolate factory btw) and the journey is the fun bit. We love challenges, are totally invigorated by new ideas from the team and customers and partners, love learning new stuff and sharing our experiences, it’s so much fun growing and maturing our service catalogue not to mention the buzz of our growing teams. It is fun, ignore that rule.
B) Try not to hire people. This rule is totally flawed, every entrepreneur needs a team. Yep they are a cost – one you will hopefully be recovering quickly – yes they can be time consuming but they are just so very important to your success.
Hiring people is often the first big risk a new entrepreneur takes and it’s an important risk, you are backing your idea / product / service by hiring your first employee. Staff give you perspective and ground you in reality, they are your support crew, cheerleaders and devils advocates. Staff create culture and culture is what drives businesses forward. Staff are important, ignore that rule.
So do tread with caution when you read articles full of pearls of wisdom. Not every article is written by someone with the experience this author obviously has, and not everyone’s experiences will be right for you. Do read them, challenge your thinking and status quo. I will follow this up with my thoughts on the other 98 Rules because some of them are really important. Keep reading, Vic.