LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is popularly quoted as saying that an entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.
While this is a bit of an exaggerative description, it accurately captures the common experience that all entrepreneurs share -- their journeys as they build something from nothing.
Not all entrepreneurs can relate to high-profile exits, initial public offerings and the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. Being an entrepreneur is an extremely personal experience that permeates all aspects of life. The ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures are all parts of this experience and are what bond entrepreneurs together.
Whether you are an entrepreneur who has taken multiple companies to successful and profitable exits or a first-time founder grinding away through late nights, you all share this journey in common.
And while media tends to highlight the huge successes and massive failures, I often wonder why they miss out on covering the thousands of entrepreneurs who are hustling and living out their journey on a day-to-day basis.
While the lineup of all seven accounts is quite impressive, these two brands clearly had an interesting angle.
HDFMAGAZINE (Hustle & Deal Flow), founded by Matt Gottesman, documents the journeys of entrepreneurs (which they call “creators”) from around the world as they're building their company. In essence, they feature the "hustle" and not the end results of success that many media outlets tend to do.
PRSUIT, founded by Case Kenny, has created an impressive content platform providing "perspective that inspires". That is, they feature over 400 writers from around the world who are writing about their journeys to success.
I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the both of them, and in doing so I recognized four key trends about the entrepreneurial journey as inspired by two guys who are personally documenting it.
1. Entrepreneurship is all about the work you put in.
Ask any entrepreneur about his or her journey, and work ethic will surely come up fast. It doesn’t matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, consistently and effectively putting in the necessary work is something that all creators and founders can relate to.
Late-night hours, early-morning meetings and weekends are part of this hustle -- and is something that unites entrepreneurs.
PRSUIT founder Case Kenny says that "entrepreneurs we interact with pay no attention to the hours they are working. They simply put in the work necessary to progress their visions. When you are chasing your passion, the hours mean nothing -- because you are truly enjoying your journey and know that your time will ultimately pay off.”
2. The journey is something that unites all of us entrepreneurs.
Because we can’t all relate to regular nine-to-five jobs, societal norms or working in environments that suppress our creativity, entrepreneurs do not want to feel alone. We’d rather gravitate towards each other in order to feel our version of “normal," which is quite the opposite to the general public.
What ends up happening is pure collaboration. We not only support each other, but we share our resources, promote our ventures and introduce our networks.
In essence, we’re not concerned with the end result but the road ahead of us, and we do so by helping each other grow through it.
“Taking a leap of faith takes courage," says Matt Gottesman. "You don’t know the outcome, and most people are not willing to take that leap. What creeps in are all those negative inputs from others who are not willing to do what you are. So, the next best thing is to associate yourself with people who are -- and they will grow you just as you grow them.”
3. The lessons are in the details.
You will never know how to successfully manage a company unless you experience and embrace the finer details of running it. And you can’t do that without fully immersing yourself in the details.
Ask any entrepreneur how they have learned the skills and know-how they now possess, and they will tell you that they learned from doing. Trial and error. Success and failure. That is how you learn.
You learn the skills necessary from the ground level, not just from reading books and studying the craft. Entrepreneurs know this and embrace the experience.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Kenny says. “Entrepreneurs check their egos at the door and acknowledge that they don’t know everything. What they do know, however, is that if they try and dive in headfirst, they will find out. Entrepreneurs need to be fearless in their pursuit of experiences that will progress their visions. The only way to know what you don’t know is to try.”
4. The journey is what makes you great.
When media looks at the successes of most entrepreneurs, they're looking at the end product. The fact is, what made that end product or outcome was a culmination of sleepless nights, daily sacrifices, countless adjustments and numerous character-building obstacles.
A successful person, whether it be an athlete, entrepreneur, actor or business person, is created during all the finer details from the lessons mentioned above. That is why you see the person standing before you. The journey was through the training in order to become great.
Where do we go from here?
With the rise of social media and Internet platforms that allow us to document our endeavors in real time, it would be most appropriate to say we’re heading into a newer storytelling generation of creativity and entrepreneurship.
I, too, find comfort in outlining the day-to-day details in my Instagram and SnapChat accounts (@matt-mayberry). I want people to see the actual work as it’s happening and not think of me as only an end result. It’s about demonstrating the work -- and not glorifying my successes.
I believe the more you can document the hustle, the more you can impact others who are watching. That’s how I see serving my purpose.