As a little kid, whenever anyone asks me what career I want to pursue when I grow-up, I tell them that I want to be a Managing Director. My cousin gets embarrassed whenever he hears this and scolds me that there is no such career! Well, that was what I wanted. At the back of my mind I wanted to occupy a big office and sit on a big executive swivel chair issuing instruction to subordinates! Funny enough, I never bother to think about what I was going to be managing (a hospital or a blog, lol). I was only focussed on, the big title, big office, big executive desk and swivel chair and subordinates standing at attention while I issue commands. Pretty childish, but I held unto it until I did a course in the University, Entrepreneurship Development. It was then I was forced to think about what service I will be rendering to the consumers!
Unfortunately, an average would-be Nigerian Entrepreneur is still having that faulty frame of mind. If you ask an average Nigerian, he will tell you “I want to do business” meaning I want to be my own boss, I want to be a “Chairman Managing Director”, an entrepreneur. The phrase Managing Director is regarded as a status symbol, not a job designation for an Entrepreneur (If you listen to some folktale-musicians in Nigeria, you will understand better what I mean). I get really bothered when I read posts in Nigerian Forums that shows that even some of the educated ones are still reasoning along that line.
Do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with my dream of wanting to be a Managing Director (I am one already, the Managing Director of NaijaEcash, maybe one day the musician will sing my praise in their new album, 😉 ). But everything was wrong with my assumption of who an Entrepreneur is. Wikipedia defines an entrepreneur as follows: “An entrepreneur is a person who has possession over a new enterprise or venture and assumes full accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome.”
Everyone loves the idea of working without a boss (being the one in charge) and pocketing the whole profit. But as could be seen in the definition, the responsibilities of an Entrepreneur preceded the possible reward. An entrepreneur is often the founder of a new venture. He risks money, energy and time to nurture an idea into a successful business entity before getting rewarded.
Lets consider some of the wrong assumptions about Entrepreneurs.
- Freedom from hard-work – This is not true. An average startup Entrepreneur will work more than 40hours per week. Often, he works over 80hours. Being an entrepreneur means thinking about the business all the time. The entrepreneur is accountable for the business failures. He is obsessed with the success of his new venture. He sleeps with it, dreams about it and brainstorms (all day long) on how to move the venture forward. This surely is not for a lazy person.
- They are Geniuses – This is false. A would be successful entrepreneur possesses specialized knowledge required for the venture he is into, either from previously acquired experience or through extensive research. It takes time and perseverance to learn the required skill to run a successful business (online or offline). Nobody is born with the knowledge. Beware; going into a venture without the required know-how is a sure foundation for failure.
- Job Security – The entrepreneur is the author of his own fate so he stands at a greater risk than the employed staff because one wrong business decision is all it takes to get him bankrupt and jobless.
Am I trying to discourage you from being an Entrepreneur? No, I an advocate of “Own Your Own Business” even while employed by another. You do not have to quit your employment to start your own entrepreneurship journey. It is often better to start while earning salary from another. That way, if you take a wrong decision, the effect will be cushioned by the income from your salary.
I sure will love to hear your view on this issue. If you love the post, please subscribe to my RSS feed.