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These 8 Crazy Reasons for Becoming an Entrepreneur May Ultimately Lead to Failure Become a millionaire? Become famous? To prove yourself? Cross those nutty reasons off your list. Right now.

By Nathan Chan Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you want to become an entrepreneur, you're not alone. Star-studded films like The Social Network and Steve Jobs have put startup culture in the limelight. It's no surprise so many people are considering embarking on the entrepreneurial journey.

Related: 5 Reasons You Should Consider Becoming an Entrepreneur

Unfortunately, however, these glitzy portrayals of entrepreneurship may motivate some to start a business for the wrong reasons. And by putting the wrong foot forward, these entrepreneurs may ultimately trip and fail at their ventures.

But this doesn't have to be you. Before starting out, avoid failure by ensuring you're not pursuing entrepreneurship for the following wrong reasons:

1. To become a millionaire.

The chance of huge wealth often lures people to entrepreneurship, but having money as your goal when you start a business is completely backwards.

Your customers are not interested in making you rich; they're interested in the value your business generates. As an entrepreneur, your goal should be to fulfill your customers' need for value.

Focus on value, and the money will follow.

2. To create passive income.

Ah, yes, the ultimate dream: a hands-off system generating endless revenue . . . but don't fool yourself into thinking that that's anything more than a dream.

Unless you're lucky enough to inherit a fortune, no source of outcome out there is going to be truly passive. Behind all income lies hours of sweat equity. Especially when you're a new entrepreneur, you'll find that every cent you generate will be hard-earned. If you're not prepared to work long and hard for your money, your business will fail.

3. To prove that you can.

Maybe you feel that you haven't accomplished enough yet. You want an extra notch on your belt to prove your worth, and that notch is a successful business.

The reality, though, is that a business will never fulfill your feelings of insecurity. If anything, entrepreneurship will reveal and worsen those insecurities.

If you need to prove that you "can do it," you need to start therapy, not a business.

4. To follow your passions.

Who among us wouldn't want to quit our day job to do work we love 100 percent of the time?

While it's feasible to build a business around your passions, successful entrepreneurs cannot focus on that criterion exclusively.

At least initially, business owners tend to spend more time in sales and marketing than actually doing the work they love. If this doesn't sound like something you'd enjoy, finding a job in the field you love may be a better bet than starting a business.

Related: When You Shouldn't Follow Your Heart

5. To stop working for somebody else.

Although being an entrepreneur allows for more autonomy in terms of decision-making, you'll always be accountable to someone. Whether that someone is your customers, investors or even existing market trends, entrepreneurs need to keep others happy as much as employees do.

Although the dynamic is not the same as being an employee, you'll always be working for someone.

6. To become one of those famous startup CEOs.

Focusing on fame is a sure-fire way to fail at entrepreneurship as well as to fail at being famous.

If your success metrics include media attention, you'll be out of business soon after your first press release. Just like money, fame follows a person who generates massive value for others, not those who seek it.

7. To leave the grunt work behind.

As a new entrepreneur, you'll do a lot of ground and grunt work before you grow your business to the point when you can outsource these tasks to others. You'll do a lot of work, period.

That's right: The cold-calling, customer support and data entry will all initially be up to you. Be ready.

8. To change the world.

As the saying goes, before you change the world, you've got to pay your rent. Very few successful businesses start out with such lofty goals as solving a huge world problem.

Successful ventures, despite appearances, start with a specific market and the aim of solving a laser-focused problem. Yours should too if you want to increase your chances of success. And, don't worry, you'll get to the world-changing stage soon enough.

In the end, it's important to remember that a successful business is achieved by generating massive value.

Your desires should be fully superseded by the goal of solving a painful problem for your market and solving it in an awesome way. Once that piece is in place, the possibilities for success are limitless.

Related: The 6 Scary Truths About Becoming an Entrepreneur

Nathan Chan

Publisher of Foundr Magazine

Nathan Chan is the publisher of Foundr Magazine, a digital magazine for young, aspiring and novice stage entrepreneurs. He has had the pleasure of interviewing rock star business leaders to find out what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

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