Why 99% of Entrepreneurs Fail: Because they don’t do anything

I definitely have highs and lows. Often, I’m at the high of a new idea–one that I think can be REALLY promising. This feels good. Really, really good. Mmmm. It’s so happy and life is worth living. But then, swinging to the lows, which are filled with disheartening moments of despair where I think to myself: it’s not worth it, everyone’s doing something, there’s no way to compete, even babies have their own pet projects, *kills self in self-hating moment*
– Anonymous Blogger

I read that quote a few nights ago, and I practically laughed myself to sleep. I love that quote, because it’s true (and false) in oh so many ways. Many of you have had the pride and joy of thinking that you know the next billion dollar idea. For scholars, a similar feeling is found when you come to a philosophical epiphany. The high is so great, that it’s difficult to get your mind onto anything else.

But also, as many of you know, that feeling sometimes hits its rock bottom when you think that your business idea won’t work and your peers find the concept stupid at best. This is where I come into disagreement with the writer of the above quote — I don’t understand why people won’t even attempt to make their business idea work. If they’re convinced that their idea is the “next Google”, how could it hurt to at least disprove that it is?

There are three types of amateur entrepreneurs out there, and in my young life, I’ve been every single one of them. By coming to terms with my failures, I’m more prepared to classify which type of amateur entrepreneur I am, and thus preventing myself from failing in the same way again.

Type 1 Amateur Entrepreneur: All ideas, no implementation.

Let’s admit it. All of us have at some point thought of the brilliant, billion dollar idea. We brainstormed it out, thought about how rich and successful we’d be from having thought of the idea, then dreamt about living lavishly in a penthouse overlooking Central Park with enough money to feed every starving child in Africa. I’ve done it, and I know you have too. The problem lays in the fact that most self-proclaimed entrepreneurs are great at dreaming and envisioning their business idea, yet they lack the capability (and even willpower) needed to see it through. In my honest opinion, these people cannot be considered legitimate entrepreneurs if all they know is dreaming and allocating the task of implementation to others.

Type 2 Amateur Entrepreneur: Lots of ideas and half assed implementations.

These entrepreneurs think of good ideas and have the willpower needed to start working. However, they take the “fail fast” mentality way too far — they’ll launch a prototype of their project, put in almost no effort in getting it noticed, then call it a failure. Or even worse, I know of some entrepreneurs who dedicate months of their time working on a startup idea, but never end up launching. If you’re going to fail, at least make people think that you spent your time semi-wisely. Alternatively, type 2 amateur entrepreneurs have multiple ideas that they’re simultaneously working on, and figure that they’ll get rich from at least one of them. To you and me, this is obviously flawed logic. But at one point, I was a type 2 amateur entrepreneur.

Type 3 Amateur Entrepreneur: Lots of ideas, lots of implementations, and absolutely no focus.

Type 3 entrepreneurs are marginally better than type 1 and 2 combined, but they have absolutely no time for anything other than their work. They make a solid attempt to see their business idea through, but get distracted by the idea of another growth opportunity. I feel bad for these people more than anything — they try harder than both type 1 and 2 entrepreneurs, yet they often see just as devastating results. (and mostly on their psychological well-being)

Going back to the quote — yes, everyone is “working” on a project, but 99% of self-proclaimed entrepreneurs fit into one of the three profiles above. If you’ve thought of the next billion dollar idea, please refrain yourself from being an amateur entrepreneur. If you find yourself as being an amateur entrepreneur, it’s not too late to change. Pick one idea that you’re passionate about, and whole-heartedley follow through with your implementation. Forget about the babies who have their own pet projects! If you don’t put in the effort to build your company, you’ll see nothing but a self-hating outcome. To the blogger who wrote the quote above: when you make the time and find the resources needed to make your idea a reality, you’ll experience the bliss of knowing that you’ve contributed to something amazing.


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