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In the midst of all the congratulatory messages and notes of encouragement that I received for my new role as the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East, I must admit here that I was a little surprised by the memos that asked me how wary I was about taking on this role, given that it is (indeed) an enormous responsibility, and that I’d be needing to fill some pretty big shoes. Queries like these always left me at a bit of a loss on how to answer: while I am, of course, well aware of the nature of this position and its importance thanks to all that we have accomplished so far at Entrepreneur, do I really want to be starting on this role with a notion of fear built into my psyche?
As I delved further into this thought (yes, I do have a habit of spending hours and days on existential questions and the like), it quickly became apparent to me that it is sentiments like these (which are often said without any hint of malice whatsoever) that entrepreneurs often hear from their friends, family, and just about anyone when starting up their own enterprises. “How does it feel to leave the calm confines of a corporate job to start a venture that’s barely making any money?” Or, “Aren’t you afraid of leaving behind a monthly paycheck to start up a venture that you don’t even know will work?” At first glance, one may be inclined to deem these as being realist questions that people starting up new roles or ventures should absolutely keep in mind. But do consider, for a moment at least, to whom you are posing these queries to.
More often than not, these are people who have performed quite well in their existing endeavors, and are now starting up on a new journey that they have -almost certainly- thought about quite a bit, and are now gearing themselves up for the challenges ahead. At this point in time, these individuals have weighed the pros and cons of what they are setting out to do, they are pretty aware of the hurdles that will be staring their faces, and they are also probably having an inner monologue of sorts that pits themselves and their self-doubt against each other. Now, here, considering your role as a friend or an ally, should you be saying something that adds to their feelings of insecurity, or should you take on an approach that is, well, a little more supportive in nature?
This is not to say that you should not call a spade a spade, or not be the voice of reason when this person is seemingly lost in their castle of dreams- but do be appreciative of this entrepreneur’s track record so far, their own particular set of skills and talents, and their abject belief in what they are about to set out to do. After all, as cliché as it may sound, your support can mean a lot to your friends when they are starting on their new journeys. As for me, having worked with Entrepreneur for quite a while, and having experienced first-hand the sheer hard work, the struggles we face on a day-to-day basis, and the massive effort that goes into building this publication: let’s just say that I don’t expect any of that to change in my new role here.
I, and my team here, remain as committed as ever to this publication. We’ve had a good run so far, and we’re more than ready to take it to the next level. Personally, I’m quite glad about the high bars that we have set for ourselves- if anything; it keeps us on our toes, and in touch with reality every day. So, in response to whether I’m wary of what lies ahead: well, I say, just bring it on. I think we’re ready.