Conversation with an aspiring entrepreneur last week (who, by the way, has an incredible business idea):
Her: "I just don't think I can do it."
Me: "Why not?"
Her: "Because I think I really need to hang onto a 'real job' instead.
Me: "Where did you get the idea that this (entrepreneurism) would not be a real job?"
Her: "Everywhere. My mom, my best friend, my uncle ... everyone says I need to stay the course."
Me: "Do they know all of the details you've built into the plan to launch this business? Have they studied this market? Have any of them ever been business owners??"
Her: "Not really, and no. They all have regular jobs. And they don't want to hear about it. They really just want me to snap out of it."
Me: "How do you think you're going to feel if you listen to them?"
Her: "Sad, but probably less terrified. I'm not like you. I just don't think I have the magic touch I need to succeed on my own and that terrifies me."
Me: "Magic touch??"
Her: "Yeah, that thing about you that just makes you so confident and allows everything to fall into place. I seriously doubt I have that."
Me: "You do know that's a mirage, right?"
Her: "A mirage?"
Me: "A mirage. It's not real. I have no magic touch, and my confidence is sometimes everything I can muster. I have never met a single entrepreneur, not one, who is not terrified as they roll forward. Myself included. I've never met anyone who didn't have doubts. And I've met very few successful business owners who don't have some kind of tale to tell about family members or friends who set out to scare them out of trying in the first place."
Her: "So what, then, are the ingredients that make for a great entrepreneur?"
Me: "First, thank you. I'm not sure I'm quite to the 'great' category, but the formula that has worked for me is this -- Have an idea. Have a plan. Have an audience who you feel will value (and purchase) your idea. Give them some products or services that align with your idea. Ignore the doubters who are just waiting for you to fail. Consider the worst case scenario. What happens if you fail? If you can live with that answer, you're going to be OK, no matter what unfolds."
Her: "But how do I manage the problem that so many people think entrepreneurs have fake jobs?"
Me: "Tell them to suck it. And show them how real it really is."
Her: "I really need to do this."
Me: "I know. Ready?"
Her: "Let's do it."
For everyone who has been negative toward a would-be or fledgling entrepreneur, or made them feel that they won't have a 'real job' if they don't have a 'day job':
Stop that. You're disrupting something that has potential to change the world.
For everyone who aspires to launch a business but is scared:
Understand right down to your core that everyone is terrified. Everyone. Everyone has doubts. And most of us have people around us who are incredibly quick to tell us why not.
Blot them out and do what feels right for you. This is your career, your life.
What is it that you are here to do?
Do that, please.