The hustle. The grind. Call it what you want.
Social media, narcissistic vloggers, the Internet marketplace and slang terminology can all be inspirational. Who doesn’t want to feel like they own the world and can make money any way they want? The rags-to-riches, self-made, American Dream(ing) persona no doubt has its appeal. We’ve see this phenomenon throughout history and are increasingly exposed to it as business tools get integrated with social media. But how do we become our own business prodigy and take over the world with our startup?
Step 1 of 1: Learn how to get startup ideas from Paul Graham himself.
You’ll read about identifying a problem, working around some potential problems, digging wells, sex ed class, and how to get startup ideas. Pretty soon you’ll be the envy of your classmates and high school graduating class. Just read some quick tips on the internet, trust me.
As an idea develops, it’s pertinent to do some self-analysis to stay honest with yourself. Do you want to see this idea through because you have a passion for the subject matter? Do you find planning and organizing rewarding (no matter what you’re doing)? Is money the real goal?
Of course, you also need to know yourself. How likely are you to have an existential crisis if you end up chasing the dollar and not your passion? Can you handle it if your passion doesn’t get you any dollars?
We’d like to think that if we can come up with a solid startup plan and have the drive to establish it in reality, then we aren’t at risk for a sudden change of heart that tanks the startup. But this might just be the nature of how successful startup people work.
We often hear motivational things about how anyone can do anything, but that’s because this is what people want to hear. In reality, it takes the right kind of person to build an idea into something serious. Not anyone can do it. No amount of reading “how to” guides on the internet will change a person’s character if they aren’t emotionally capable of building a startup in the first place.
Startups aside, the same thing is true for small businesses. Every single successful small business that I’ve spent time with has had a few key things in common – especially when it comes to the people who run them. Some people simply don’t have the personality type to run their own business, and that’s ok.
This is why we have to be honest with ourselves and look past the perception we have of successful business owners and startup entrepreneurs. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to look at the showy and competitive lifestyles that get broadcasted to us via modern media.
The goal here wasn’t to discourage you from wanting to build your own startup. I don’t want to say, “set reasonable goals so you’re not disappointed.” That would go directly against my principles.
The point is for us to understand how we work as people so that we can maximize our place in the working world. The person who builds and sells multiple startups will have different character traits from someone who works their way from the bottom to the top over multiple decades at a single company. Both are successful.
Reflecting on how this reading made me feel got me going on a tangent, so I had no chance to discuss how to stay on top of the news world through disruptive innovation in journalism. The concepts there are related, but more focused and worth the read.
5 thoughts on “Building a Startup: Who Do You Think You Are?”
I agree that you need a certain type of grit and personality in order to create your own startup and build a business from the ground up. Not everyone has the motivation, communication skills, connections, etc… and like you said, that’s okay!
Give it to them straight man! Grind, hustle, dedication. All describe what you need to be business owner. I too, gave this representation in my blog. You have to be serious if you are going to try to make a living on a business you own. You know longer are working for the man, you are the frickin’ man. You make every single decision that is associated with the business. From the products you produce, to the light bulbs you have in your ceiling. You have to have the attitude to drive your business, who do they think they are?
I really enjoyed your approach it was straight forward. You also let it be known its more than just reading a guide, you explain how hustle, determination and dedication is needed to succeed. I agree that everyone is wired different and we have to figure out what we need to do in order to maximize ourselves.
I like your approach and analysis of the Paul Graham article. I agree with your sentiments that anyone has the right to try to achieve anything but not everyone can do anything to a certain extent. From a personal standpoint that was a huge barrier I had to cross when creating my podcast. I had to ask myself am I capable of creating a platform? Do I have the proper understanding and knowledge of the subjects I speak on? Do I have the business mind to achieve my goals? and most importantly, do I have the drive it takes to succeed? When asking these questions and actually trying to go for this goal I found where our thoughts differ. I believe I or anyone else may not be able to individually do everything it takes to succeed if I or that individual surrounds themselves with the right people who have the same strengths as we do weaknesses then we can achieve whatever our goal is.