If there's one thing I've learned from starting Hack the Entrepreneur and interviewing more than 100 entrepreneurs in the past seven months, it's that not everyone feels like they are an entrepreneur -- at least not all the time.
Perhaps you have an inkling that you want to be one, but you may doubt that you have what it takes. Entrepreneurs are born, not made, and all that nonsense. If you're like most people, you've been raised and educated to believe it takes a certain type of person, with a specific background and education to be an entrepreneur.
I'm here to tell you that this is an absolute lie.
As we work on developing and building our ideas and businesses, we sometimes start to feel that maybe we are indeed entrepreneurs. And then we face obstacles and failures -- all inevitable -- and suddenly, we start to doubt ourselves, second-guessing whether or not we're entrepreneurs, wondering if everyone that ever doubted us along the way may have been right all along.
As Seth Godin said, "It’s not failure that is the problem, but our struggle with failure. It is this struggle we face, that causes us to question whether or not we are cut out to do the big things, that we dream of doing." This struggle and how we deal with it is what defines us as entrepreneurs.
The ultimate goal of Hack the Entrepreneur was and is to clarify that entrepreneurs are normal people, with one subtle difference: They've managed to step up, be confident and become entrepreneurs -- nothing more, nothing less.
Let's answer a few questions
Do you ever dream of starting and building something of your own?
Have you ever felt there's more to life than going to an unfulfilling job every day?
Do you listen to podcasts and think that, yes, you could do that, too?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be 100 percent in control of your destiny?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you're an entrepreneur -- it's really that simple. The act of wanting to be an entrepreneur is what makes you one. I don't care what anyone tells you or how much you doubt yourself, but none of that changes what you are.
Related: Were You Born to Lead?
To quote Metallica, nothing else matters
In case you doubt the simplicity of determining whether you're an entrepreneur or not, let's think about this. Why is it that after someone has started and then built things successfully, we look back and say, "Yeah, she's a brilliant entrepreneur"?
Let's take Dame Stephanie Shirley, who decided to start her own company selling software. That doesn’t sound controversial today, but it sounded crazy 50 years ago. This was in 1962 when she was just 29 years old, and the company was Freelance Programmers. It went on to become the F1 Group and then Xansa, a multibillion-dollar IT software consultancy.
But the interesting thing about this story is that Shirley didn't even know what the word entrepreneur meant -- never mind that she was one -- for many years into her journey of building a software empire.
If she'd doubted herself and never stepped up and tried, would she still be an entrepreneur? The difference really is that subtle. We reward the ones that step up, take action and define themselves as entrepreneurs. We do this because those who take the necessary action are the ones who make the difference and change the world around us.
It's stepping up or drowning in self-doubt
If you knew all that kept you from being an entrepreneur was the ability to stand up and be one, would you step up? Because there's nothing more standing in your way. Just yourself and your doubts and your struggle with those doubts.
That's the only problem.