How to deal with the doubt that you may never make it as an entrepreneur?

by A_Time_Space_Person. Posted on Sep 10, 2020    1    11

When I was younger, I used to dream of starting a business and becoming rich. The business ideas themselves had changed over time, but I had always envisioned myself traveling the world at the age of 20 or 25 and reveling in the fruits of my labor. I am not an undisciplined person by any means (in fact I'd say I'm the opposite). Relaxing comes hard to me. However, I never started a successful business so far.

Today, I'm 23 (will be 24 in about 4 months) and I feel like my dream is slipping away. I have started a few projects in the past and I have a website that I'm running today, but I wouldn't like to monetize this latest website, so essentially I am bound to start a new business.

I just graduated with a computer science master's degree and I'm applying for jobs. I do understand that my lack of innovative ideas is probably due to the fact that I need to work a job, see inefficiencies, and then fix it via programming a solution. I have a list of business ideas that I could start, but I'm reluctant to do it as none of them seem super attractive. Maybe I should just code one up and put it out there just to get the practice of doing it. Maybe I should start freelancing or maybe I should just relax and wait until I find a job - I don't know. And time is slowly slipping. I don't want to be 40 or 50 years old and going to Ibiza - I want to do it when I'm young (in my 20s).

Hence, I get to my question: How to deal with the doubt that you may never make it as an entrepreneur? My financial goals aren't super ambitious - I'd like to earn approximately 2 million $ so that I can retire in the sense that I don't have to work anymore and then I would probably travel, train martial arts, read books, maybe even do a PhD etc. I would like to earn my freedom via entrepreneurship. But earning 2 million $ is not guaranteed and I'm having doubts about it.


xtanishx 1

I am facing the same dilemma , feel you bro!

jbcdigital 1

I have never felt like I won't make it even after having some failed ventures. It's not just about money for me. It's the freedom to do things my way, growing from scratch and scaling a business is what excites me, business and marketing is something I'm really passionate about and that keeps me motivated. My current venture is a social media marketing company and it is doing well enough, it doesn't have a multi million dollar valuation and stuff but it is something I love to do and don't get bored working on it everyday. All you have to do is find something you really like to do whether it is building websites or cleaning houses, if you are the best in your niche then you will eventually make big bucks.

UniverseCatalyzed 1

10 years is almost certainly how long it will take to exit successfully with enough money to live the lifestyle you want. Yes it's possible to do it quicker but going $0-2M+ in <5 years is very very rare. Almost every rich kid in their 20s who lives the lifestyle you want (of which there are very very few) didn't earn their way to their wealth. Show me a 25y/old in a Lamborghini in Ibiza and I'll show you daddy money.

Accept that retirement level wealth takes time to build and you can still live an awesome life in your 20s while you build. In some ways, it's better to slum it for a while. You learn what really matters to you and what you just want for status reasons (fancy cars etc.)

  A_Time_Space_Person 1

>10 years is almost certainly how long it will take to exit successfully with enough money to live the lifestyle you want.

I am actually not looking to exit necessarily. I may be able to "grunt my way" to 2 million $ by sheer freelance / consulting work.

>you can still live an awesome life in your 20s while you build

All I would need is about 30 000 $ extra besides the basics (food, shelter, etc.) to "live it". With that money, I could go on vacation where I would heavily travel and afford some stuff I want to afford.

The problem is, I don't think I can freelance at this moment, as I lack work experience.

bbqyak 1

Very tough question, I wish I could answer it. The hardest part IMO is drawing the line between not giving up and knowing when to quit. On one hand every entrepreneur will tell you you can't give up. And it's true. Almost everybody will have their share of failures before their greatest success. But at the same time just watch a show like Shark Tank and you'll always see that cooky sounding guy who's been making some gold harvesting machine for 20 years. You don't want to be that guy.

My first and current business, if I asked for advice at the 6 month mark where I had ONE customer, probably 90% of people would have told me to just quit.

UpTheDownEscalator 1

To answer your question: you accept the hard truth that you might not make it in entrepreneurship, especially not in your early 20s. That was the aspiration of an adolescent kid. Now that you know more about the world, forgive yourself and adjust your sights to your new reality. Get focused on what you're actually going to do.

MaxPast 1

It's hard for you to be persistent because you always have a choice between a high-paying job because of your degree in a highly profitable field at the moment and doing something that can potentially make you even more money. Even your "I can accept just $2 millions, I don't need more" means that you measure everything in terms of your potential salary, not with what market can offer you. If you have already noticed here, there are a lot of good guys from India running whole teams on $6,000 for several months! Yes, $6,000 spread over several months, not even $6,000/mo :)

It's not "bad", you aren't "spoiled", it's just a reality. And, if you accept that your expectations about your future business aren't based on statistics but rather on the popular image of a young and successful entrepreneur, it will be much easier to make any further decisions. And, if we look at pure statistics, you have little chance to make a living from your first business, not even talking about early retirement.

In reality, almost nobody can "make it" in their 20th, and more often than not people patiently grow their businesses for several years until the exit, struggling a lot, especially in the early days of any venture.

On the other hand, it doesn't mean that there is no reason to do that, you just need to set realistic expectations about your future: your first startup or two will fail with high certainty but you will earn enough experience for launching better and better businesses over time. It's just a matter of your persistence in the long run.

If all you want is to retire from your first venture and you don't want to consider other long-term options, then real-world statistics is against you, unfortunately.

We all "can make it as an entrepreneur", but almost nobody can retire in a year or two after the university.

one_jr 4

As simple as it sounds - just keep trying out new things until something clicks.

A fellow techie Daniel Vassallo has a very good take on this - building a portfolio of microbets. Check out his twitter for more as he's very vocal about it providing great advice.


And here's Naval Ravikant's advice which I read every morning:

Fast, lift, sprint, stretch, and meditate. Build, sell, write, create, invest, and own.

Read, reflect, love, seek truth, and ignore society.

Make these habits. Say no to everything else.

Avoid debt, jail, addiction, disgrace, shortcuts, and media.

Relax. Victory is assured.

Pumpoozle 2

I love it, thanks for the quote

SiavashMohseni 3

The average age of successful entrepreneurs is more than 30. You are very young and it seems that you have lots of experience trying to create your own business. Find your passion, build something that you think you amongst all other people need, and persevere. You will find success.

regularwackadoodle 6

If getting rich is the only/main purpose of becoming an entrepeneur, don't. It'll take a lot (I mean A LOT) of work and time, with no guarantees.

If you want to 'get rich quick', sell your soul to a high-speed trading fund, work there for a couple of years, invest that money in real-estate and 'live the good life'.