Howard Schultz, Oprah Winfrey, Li Ka-shing, Ralph Lauren, John Paul DeJoria, Larry Ellison … all billionaires who were once flat broke. You might have become so inspired by their successes that you want to quit your job and start a business too. But is becoming an entrepreneur the only way to become rich? Is it the only way to reach financial success?
People hear about my success as an entrepreneur and they want to follow the same path. My fans from all around the world have asked me, “Dan, how do I start my first business? What would it take to be an entrepreneur?”
Let me answer your questions with this one fact: Not everyone is suited to be an entrepreneur. It’s one way to become rich, but you have to ask yourself, why do you want to be one?
Now if I were to guess, it would be that you want to be wealthy, or you want to have more freedom to vacation or spend time with family. But you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to be financially successful because not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
You Must Be Born An Entrepreneur
Some gurus might say, if you hustle, then you can make it. But that’s as ridiculous as saying everyone will be an NBA player if they hustle and work hard at basketball.
It’s simply not true. It takes a certain personality type with specific psychological makeup to be an entrepreneur. I used to believe that an entrepreneur is made. Now I’m leaning towards believing an entrepreneur is born.
You can develop the skill sets of an entrepreneur, but you can only achieve a certain level. Just like if you play basketball and have fun, you can get to a certain level of playing skill.
But only a percentage, not even a big percentage, will make it to that professional level, like college basketball or the NBA, the best of the best in the world.
So it’s very naive to believe that everyone can be a successful entrepreneur. Timing, teamwork, idea generation, and execution all play a factor. So what do you do if you want to become rich but you don’t want to be an entrepreneur?
Develop A High-Income Skill
Let me tell you about my friend Ron. I’ve known Ron for almost ten years now. He is one of the highest paid photographers in my city. But he doesn’t have a business. He’s simply a photographer.
What Ron has is a high-income skill. If you follow my work you know I believe in the power of having a high-income skill. A high-income skill is a skill that makes you a minimum of $10,000 a month, $120,000 a year or more.
Ron is a high-end photographer but he’s a very frugal guy. I remember back when he could have bought a house in Burnaby, he bought a very modest home. He lived there with his wife and two kids. As he kept making more and more money, he saved some to put into real estate.
He started off buying smaller properties, fixing them, flipping them, and selling them. Then eventually he moved into working on duplexes and bigger units. Today, after all these years, he owns over 200 units in Vancouver.
If you know Vancouver real estate, it is one of the most expensive in the world. He owns about 200 units of apartment buildings and commercial properties.
He doesn’t have a business. Nor is he a business owner. Over the years what he did was develop his high-income skills and take the money he made and put it into high return investments.
In this case real estate has increased his worth to tens of millions of dollars. He’s basically retired, travelling with his wife to all kinds of countries and just enjoying life. Every month he’s has rental income coming in.
So you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to be successful financially. What you need is a high-income skill. If you have a high-income skill, you could then transition into starting a business if you do believe that you have what it takes.
The Reality Of Owning A Business
But what I’m saying is, you could do very well financially, making six to seven figures a year with high income skills and never starting a business. Starting a business is a completely different thing than just having a skill.
When you start a business, you have people, systems, and infrastructure. It’s much more complex and not everyone is cut out to work with that. Consider also that 18 percent of first time entrepreneurs see success and 50 percent of American start up businesses fail.
I always describe an entrepreneur as someone with a vision who orchestrates other peoples’ time, resources, and money, to make his or her vision a reality. That’s it. But not everyone is capable of being a leader who inspires a team to work toward a common goal.
So don’t be deceived and start a business because you saw someone on Instagram posting about their life as an entrepreneur. You’re not seeing the full picture, all the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
It’s like when you see Michael Jordan dazzling everyone on the basketball court so much that you want to be an NBA player too. What you don’t see is the hard work that got him to that level. The chances of you making it are slim to none.
A psychoanalyst at the Harvard Business School once said, ”To understand the entrepreneur, you first have to understand the psychology of the juvenile delinquent.” Now you might wonder why he would say that.
He was comparing the fearlessness and autonomy of the delinquent to the same qualities in an entrepreneur. They both desire freedom from restraint. Now, if you have these independent qualities but you’re not ready to leave the traditional path, there is another option.
Have A Business Within A Business
If you still want to experience starting your own business, but you don’t want to leave your job, you can try intrapreneurship. It’s starting a business within a business.
If you’re innovative, you can use company resources to create a new product or service. Intrapreneurship is for self-motivated, proactive and action-oriented employees. But unlike having your own business, failure will not come at a personal cost.
Summary: To Be Or Not To Be An Entrepreneur
Becoming an entrepreneur is not the only way to reach financial success. As long as you have your high-income skill, you can have a job or a stable career while you work on building up your savings, your wealth. You can put money aside for investments.
Not everyone has the qualities of an entrepreneur. But if you have a plan and you’re determined, you can reach financial success.
Which do you aspire to be: entrepreneur, intrapreneur, or neither? Comment below.