Be wary of being an entrepreneur for too long



I can’t tell you how relieved I was to reorganise my priorities at the end of 2013 and simply say ‘no’. No more entrepreneurship events, no speaking or writing engagement unless I’m paid for it and very, very little time spent on the entrepreneurship scene. In short, I’ve cut down on so many unnecessary things in just one part of my life, that there is now ample time to pursue those interests I’ve always had and never had the time to enjoy.

Why? Because there’s no point being an entrepreneur for very long.

Of course there are many different definitions of what an entrepreneur is. The CEO of Facebook could be called that, even though he is not. He’s a CEO of a big, money-making business. I believe the definition should encompass only the time in which it takes you to work out if your idea is worthwhile or not. I mean the time it takes for you to run through a Lean Startup cycle.

So, take your business idea, and become an entrepreneur. Find out (1) as fast as possible for (2) as little cost as possible whether or not the idea has legs. After you’ve done that, and you haven’t killed the startup for some or other reason, you’re probably running a business, however small. You’re not an entrepreneur any longer, you’re a business manager or business owner. You may fail or work out that your business idea sucks. And you may become an entrepreneur again for a short period of time, trying out something new to see if it takes off.

The exception perhaps to this rule is what people like Dave Duarte call your “side project”; something you are tinkering with while still working 9 to 5. You could be a side-entrepreneur until one day you take a leap of faith and leave your full-time employment to spend all your time on your business. Not on your startup, on your own business.

Be careful of being an entrepreneur for too long. Or a pitch-preneur. Or a guy who says “We’re pivoting” every few months. There comes a time when one realises: If it doesn’t pay rent, it must go.



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