Hey, Would-be Entrepreneur! Where’s the Fire in Your Belly?

Fire in Your Belly

True entrepreneurs don’t start companies just because they want to. Nor do they launch their project because they think it’ll be cool, or because they figure, “Hey, let’s give it a shot!”

Those are all thoughts of a hobbyist, a dilettante… a dabbler.

Dabblers get their doors blown off by actual, bona fide entrepreneurs. Dabblers grow up to become the old guys you meet at the Applebee’s bar who tell you some version of this all-too-predictable formula: “I thought of ___ before ___ ever did.” (For instance: “I thought of Facebook long before Mark Zuckerberg ever did.”)

Don’t be that guy.

Are you a real entrepreneur, or a dabbler? Either way it’s cool. Just don’t kid yourself about it – and please God, don’t waste anyone’s time! You know what a real entrepreneur is – and I don’t mean a solopreneur, or a lifestyle business owner, although both are very commendable, too.

An entrepreneur is an artist.

Just as an artist must create art, or suffer the frustration of pent-up creativity, an entrepreneur must create a business, or she’ll face similar angst. Think of a soda can, shaken up till it bursts open – that is what a true creative mind feels when it is not creating.

There’s nothing harder than starting something from thin air. There’s also nothing more satisfying. But here’s the thing: you need that urge. You need that fire in your belly.

Are you a real entrepreneur, or a dabbler? Either way it’s cool. Just don’t kid yourself about it.

You can’t just sorta wanna start a business, and expect it to achieve anything close to lift. If “kinda sorta wanna” describes you, then please, don’t even try to start a business. If you’re working on launching a startup right now and that’s where you’re coming from, just walk away now, before you waste any more time.

We’ll see you at the Applebee’s bar in 20 years. You can tell us all about the thriving jet pack company you thought of first.

Think of a soda can, shaken up till it bursts open – that is what a true creative mind feels when it is not creating.

Disclaimer: I am delightfully immersed in the burgeoning tech scene here in Naples, Florida, and I’m happy to say I am not writing about any of my friends and acquaintances here in town. I also have some out-of-state startups I’m working with; again (blessedly) these are not the inspiration for this post.

On the other hand, if you think this post is about you… why would you suspect such a thing?



Art by: lori404

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • Powerful analogy Ted, the soda can thing resonates STRONGLY with me lol ;)

    You need to be all in. That means, like waking at 6 AM and working to 10 PM, even if you are traveling all over the world, all the time – wink, wink – while taking a few breaks in between.

    “All in” means dealing with deep, negative emotions, arising from within, like, the overwhelming urge to quit, because you feel like a failure, or dealing with harsh critics who might make you second guess your skills.

    Going all in also means realizing that the more success you see, the more responsibility you take on….and you can delegate some of the responsibility, but if you stop creating….the soda can is being shaken,ya know ;)

    Thanks for sharing!


  • Pingback: @TedCoine – Go Gung-Ho or Get out of the Way ! — Nothing But Excellence()

  • Terrence Blair

    Ted, this article is sound. I think there’re a lot of people who’ll start a business just to make some quick money. Then there’re those who spend their time thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, you should think about it before you jump in. But to spend all your time imaging yourself to be the next big thing while time pass you by, then 20 years later you say “I was going to … I thought of… first” is foolish.

    What ever you want to do you must find the motivation for doing it. Or you won’t be successful.

    Good writing. your style is clear and concise

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