Someone once told me that being an entrepreneur was “the right combination of passion and stupidity, in the face of the impossible.”
I’ve met my share of wannabe entrepreneurs, people who think that they have the entrepreneurial spirit in their blood and who talk a big game, and then, there are the real entrepreneurs, the people who just live it and do it, not just talk the talk.
1. Real entrepreneurs don’t whine. They knew that they signed up for the ride. They don’t whine about the hours, the efforts, or doing what it takes. They would rather fix a problem than waste time whining about it.
2. Real entrepreneurs don’t brag. They don’t thump their chest about the number of all-nighters that they pulled, about how driven they are. They don’t name-drop the people in their rolodex. They focus on the outcome, not on the hours that they put in towards it or the people that they know.
3. Real entrepreneurs fall in love with big ideas, and not business plans. They don’t fixate on the business model just to impress others about their business-minded outlook. Instead, they are the ones whose eyes light up at every new big idea, and who run with the idea to make it more exciting and more impactful.
4. Real entrepreneurs have a fiercely competitive, “get-s#*t-done” attitude. They execute consistently. Time and again. They don’t give excuses or explanations. A project in their hands is guaranteed to cross the finish line. Without question. Without complaint. Without micro-management. And, more importantly, with enthusiasm and drive.
5. Real entrepreneurs don’t pass the buck. They own a problem. They own a bad situation. They don’t foist it on others. They don’t expect anyone else to carry them. They are the ones who do the real work and who are actually on the front lines, as opposed to those who live off others’ sweat and someone else’s bankroll.
6. Real entrepreneurs care about speed AND quality. An unsolved problem eats away at them. An inefficient way of doing things irks them personally. A product flaw annoys them. A missed deadline bothers them deeply. They train themselves to produce quality, and then, they execute that high level of quality with speed.
7. Real entrepreneurs don’t lose their cool in a crisis. The opposite, in fact. A crisis brings out the best in them. The hotter a situation gets, the more they rise to the occasion, and the more you want these people around you. They relish the battle.
8. Real entrepreneurs thrive on the journey, not the destination. They get that the joy is in the journey of being builders together, and they try to maximize every crumb of learning and experience in the process. They don’t focus on exits and exit multiples–in fact, they rarely think about these things. Their eyes are squarely focused on the joy of building and growing.
9. Real entrepreneurs are realistic and grounded. They are pragmatic about their competitors, about their contributions, about their products, about their own efforts, about their competitive edge, about the difference that they can/do make, and about their own worth relative to others in the company. They are smart enough to spot the slackers and the poseurs.
10. Real entrepreneurs are secure in their skin. They are secure enough to know their flaws, secure enough to admit them to others, ssecure enough to ask for help, secure enough to ‘fess up and say “Sorry” when they screw up.
Theodore Roosevelt’s “man in the arena” is the true stuff of real entrepreneurs.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
YinzCam is lucky to have some phenomenal men and women who dare greatly in the arena every single day.