Too Many Entrepreneurs, Not Enough Artisans: Why You Need Real Skills
These days everybody and their mother is an entrepreneur, albeit self-proclaimed. It’s amazing how quickly the world has changed. I grew up in a household with both parents working full-time, and then some.
My parents had a successful restaurant for over 25 years, and throughout those 25 years made it a point to show me that hard work really can pay off.
My parents are immigrants, as I’m sure many of yours are as well. They came from a place where hard work, although praised, wasn’t enough to put food on the table.
So the idea of living in a country where any decent person can find a job and support their family, was more than enough to bring them over here.
Today’s culture has morphed a bit. We still have plenty of hard workers, these days being dubbed as ‘workaholics’, and we still have lazy bums that throw their lives away, one day at a time. But thanks to globalization and modern-day technology, there’s a new breed of person flourishing about our society.
The entrepreneur. I’ve grown to dislike the term altogether, to be quite honest. It used to hold meaning. If someone was an entrepreneur, you believed them to be not only hard working, but smart, clever, skilled, and willing to take calculated risks that most simply wouldn’t take. It’s this risk taking that has attracted so many.
Every few months/years or so we hear about the next big thing, and the next big entrepreneur that’s making waves. He/She took a risk, gave up on either their schooling, or their promising careers, and pursued something they believed in, something they were passionate about, something they knew could have a huge positive impact on society.
Now, while they may seem like an overnight success, the truth is that they aren’t. Truth is that it wasn’t just their ideas that brought them to where they are today. Do you have any idea how many incredible ideas get started, and then fail miserably? You’d be shocked. You could literally walk through the graveyard of missed opportunities, dig one up, and make a fortune off of it.
The world doesn’t need any more “entrepreneurs.” I don’t even want to call them that because they don’t have the skills of an entrepreneur. Starting your own business doesn’t make you an entrepreneur in my eyes.
I guess technically, by definition it does, but can you really call a shit business owner an entrepreneur? I know you can, because most of today’s entrepreneurs are nothing more than fools that either have money to throw away, or have the ability to convince others to allow them to throw their money away.
But their businesses will shortly fail, and they’ll have no choice but to go back to the drawing board. Their businesses will come and go, while their skillset will remain stagnant.
You see, that’s what people fail to realize… More than anything, you are your business. Your store, yoga studio, website, bar, food truck, or app may, and statistically speaking will, fail. So at the end of the day all you’re left with is you.
I’m a serial ‘entrepreneur’ that fails like it’s my job. Either it’s not a great idea, or the money ends up not being good enough, or the people hired aren’t the right fit, or the timing is simply off, or this or that, etc. I’ve bounced around industries, and finally landed on tech, an industry that seems to fit just right.
Sure, there’s a ton of money in tech, which is what initially attracted me to it (as well as it simply being a ‘cool’ industry to work in), but the reason I know I’m going to stay in tech is because I’ve built-up a skillset that has real value.
If you want to be a success in your industry, then you’re going to need more skills on your resume than simply “management.” Anyone can manage — maybe not well — but I’ve seen so many shitty managers get hired, that it doesn’t seem people have yet figured out a way to appropriately quantify a manager’s abilities.
Management isn’t difficult, and it isn’t an especially respected skill. More than just that, unless you’re starting a management business, you won’t have the skillset necessary to launch a successful business.
It took me a while to realize this myself. As I mentioned, I’ve started a handful of businesses, all in industries that I wasn’t immersed in.
It’s not until I learned a skill out of necessity, that I finally feel confident in my future as an entrepreneur, and as a person.
I’ve worked in tech for almost 5 years now, starting a few startups in the industry, seeing some success, but always running into the same issue: it’s really hard to find good developers.
They’re either really expensive, or mediocre. I ran a website as a project manager for this small incubator in Manhattan. We saw over 7 million unique visitors in the first couple months after launching.
What ended up happening? The developers weren’t able to turn around fixes quickly enough, and the numbers started dropping. So I left the incubator and taught myself WordPress Development.
Couple years later, I hire an agency to build me a bartering app that integrates with leading marketplaces, called Bandy. The app was to be built within a year — almost two years later — and I’m still waiting for it to be completed.
Developers are notorious for underestimating the complexity of projects, the time it will take to complete said project, the cost of the project, and overestimate their skills as developers.
About a year and a half after the project started — 6 months after the project was to be completed — I got fed up. “There’s no way that building apps can be this difficult,” I told myself.
So I signed up for an iOS bootcamp, and I’m finishing it up in a week. And guess what? It really isn’t that difficult. In fact, I love it.
I’ve finally found something that I am just as passionate about as I am entrepreneurship.
I also realized something else, something incredibly obvious. All these overnight successes have one thing in common: the right skillset — a skillset that they continuously work on, out of the love and passion they have for it.
Sure they may be passionate about their companies, but what they’re passionate about more than anything else, what really moves them to create great things, is their passion for their work.
At the heart of it, they’re artisans that have become masters in their work, in their field.
You see, anyone can sell a great product. That’s not what real entrepreneurs are about. Real entrepreneurs, the ones that we hear about in the news, and hope to one day become, are more creators than they are managers.
They build great things, they work on their craft, on their skills, improving constantly, learning constantly, never losing that hunger for more knowledge. They’re infinitely curious, and apply that curiosity to their craft. If you want to become that entrepreneur you’ve always dreamt of becoming, don’t focus on the money.
Focus on innovation. Focus on your work and become an artisan. Master a craft, a skill — something that you’re passionate about.
Why? Because not only is it the only true way to become a success, but it’s also the only way to lead a happy life. You may think that money will buy you happiness, but it won’t. If someone were to give you a million dollars right now, you’d be ecstatic — for a while. But you’d inevitably one day find that you’re no happier than you were without it.
The secret to happiness is finding work that you’re passionate about, and developing yourself as a person, developing your skills in your craft.
If more of today’s entrepreneurs would focus more on making great things, great experiences, and less on making money, the world would change overnight.
With that being said, I have a new dating app launching in a month or so — and since I’m building it myself, I know it’ll be ready.
Just something to keep an eye out for!