I happen to know some people who are very resolute in saying that the only way to become financially free is through entrepreneurship. Well, they may be right!
Listening to these people, I could not help but feel admiration for them. Maybe they really honestly believe that they are right 100%, that’s why they are so unyielding in their gusto or zest in encouraging and motivating people to jump into the entrepreneurship bullet train. All you hear from them is the same line of encouragement: start a business and become financially free! Don’t be afraid to fail; those millionaires we now have failed dozens of times before, and look where they are now.
On my part, whenever I hear them talk, I could not do anything else but shake my head and wonder if …
You may be, at this point, asking why I feel this way.
Here’s why. My gut feeling tells me so.
You see, I have attended numerous seminars and trainings on entrepreneurship. I have studied business management not just for four years (for my bachelor’s degree), but for almost seven years including the years I spent getting my masters degree in business administration. I have trained and received my certification as an enterprise development consultant. I taught entrepreneurship in college, I taught the same in my community involvements, and was once an advocate on entrepreneurship, too! (and I want to believe I still am under the right circumstances). In my many years I also had the privilege of associating with some very successful entrepreneurs. And to top it all, I have a business of my own. Yet, in all honesty, even with all these knowledge and exposure on entrepreneurship, I can honestly say (and this is my personal opinion) – you can never teach someone how to become an entrepreneur! You can teach him efficient business management, wise financial management, perfect bookkeeping procedures – but to have the mindset of an entrepreneur? I just don’t think that can be taught!
Entrepreneurial mindset is just something that’s unique and innate – it’s not something you learn or get after attending a school that teaches business and entrepreneurship. It’s not even something that some successful businessman or entrepreneur can rub on you, even if you spend years and years with them!
What made me think this way? Because I have seen many people who tried, and failed. Cynics would most likely ask me if my judgment is right; that seeing people fail is already an indication that they will never succeed. I’d say to them I may be wrong on passing judgment, but truly, to succeed in business, it’s not just about establishing systems and keeping good records and managing inventory and cash flow and accounts receivables and payables; it all has to do with the X factor that makes a person an entrepreneur!
I have a friend; she’s already very successful in her profession – yet, she is a true blue entrepreneur! She’s very quick in seeing opportunities, she’s never afraid to take them, and most importantly, she takes them! I’ve seen in her the difference between just having the “intent to do” and in actually doing it! And she’s not afraid that her hands would get dirty in the process. Many times I’ve seen her roll up her sleeves and really sweat out just to make things happen. That, for me, is what a true entrepreneur is! Sometimes I am even tempted to say one is born with it, like some sort of a gift.
Unfortunately, not very many people are like her. Many people I know are risk averse. Many do not even know how to spot opportunities. Many do not have the discipline necessary to succeed. Many do not have the heart to continue and press on when failure was a consistent visitor. Many are just copy cats – copying someone else’s business idea, and since they have the money to fund the business, they lift off and fly to some unknown distant destination with two possible outcome -either success or failure. Some make it because they are spending someone else’s money; being on someone’s payroll while trying their hands on their businesses. On this I’d say, if I were the employer, I’d be jealous. My employee’s heart is torn between two – my business and his’. I wonder what occupies his mind most of the time? My business or his’? And what happens next? When the employee’s business finally makes it, he leaves his employer who fed him and provided for him while he was still taking root as a businessman. Tsk tsk tsk, talk about integrity and loyalty in business.
Well some would probably ask me: “How about Lance Gokongwei?”
He was his father’s son; he was sent to the best schools and was trained to become an entrepreneur. My answer? I’d say looking at him now, maybe he was born with the entrepreneurial mindset himself. Or maybe he’s just very smart he employed people who have the entrepreneurial mindset but who preferred to work as corporate executives rather than entrepreneurs.
I am for entrepreneurship! It is a good option for people; a good and decent way to earn. In saying this, however, I recognize the fact that not all people are “wired” to become entrepreneurs.
I came across these two words from somewhere: necessity entrepreneur. It refers to someone who tries his hand in business only because it’s the only way for him to earn at the moment; his ticket to feed his family three times a day. Will he succeed? Maybe. Hopefully he will – with hard work, diligence, trust in himself, application and use of correct business management principles, and faith in God.
If I were to teach Entrepreneurship, I’d tell people that IT IS AN OPTION!
For me, the best approach therefore is to first ask people if they have the entrepreneurial mindset. If they answer that they don’t know the meaning of the word, then let’s define it. If their final answer is yes, then let’s teach them correct business principles. That will greatly increase the likelihood that they will succeed in business!
Well, this is just my opinion, and I may be mistaken.
That will remain a question. Besides, does it really matter?