OnStartups

Taking The Leap: Don't Just Be A Wannabepreneur

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on June 9, 2008 in startups 29 Comments

Chances are, if you're reading this article, you are either involved in a startup already, or looking to be involved in one.

This article is for the folks in the latter category, the "wannabepreneurs".  The ones that have always wanted to be entrepreneurs, but haven't quite gotten around to it.  The folks still slogging it away in BigCo land waiting for the "right" entrepreneurial opportunity to come along.

Here's my advice:  Stop Waiting!

If you've got a passion for startups, you need to be in a startup.  Either run with the best idea you have and start your own thing (even if the idea sort of sucks), or join the best people you know that are already doing something.  Just get out of the daily slog that is most big businesses.  Scratch that itch. 

Be an entrepreneur, not a wannabepreneur.

Here are a few quick points to help convince you:

1.  You're probably overestimating the risk of leaving that BigCo job.  Chances are, that sort of job (or something awfully similar) will be there a year from now if things go miserably.

2.  Though nothing compares to doing your own thing, joining a startup team is not bad either.  It's a great way to dip your toes in the water.  Often, half the battle is just getting out of your comfort zone and being around startup people.

3.  Regardless of what your risk tolerance is, you can likely still find opportunities that are more entrepreneurial than what you're doing now.  There are startups with really high risk, with nothing but a dream and a developer (or two) all the way to startups that have raised several rounds of funding and are on the IPO path.  You should be able to find a startup that meets your risk profile.

4.  Unless you have some compelling evidence that things are going to get easier later to do something more entrepreneurial, chances are, they're not (going to get easier).  So, if the question is when, not if, then ask yourself "why not sooner, rather than later?"

5.  For those that are thinking: "Yeah, this is all easy for you to say, you're not walking in my shoes", I say this:  You're right.  If you truly don't have the situation or circumstances to take the leap, that's ok.  I just implore you to at least think about it and decide for yourself whether your obstacles are real or perceived.

I'll close with a quote that's been on my list of favorites for a while:

"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable." -Sydney Harris

Cheers.