Entrepreneur Beginners Guide
“Make Difficult Sacrifices”
Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice. —Napoleon Hill, author, Think and Grow Rich
Knowing he was a husband and a recent father, I asked an acquaintance, “How are your wife and newborn son?” lie hesitated before answering, and then lie replied with a blank, emotionless face, “I got a divorce.” I was caught off guard by his candid response. What I thought was a cordial inquiry suddenly turned into an awkward social moment. I can’t remember exactly what I said afterward, but my new friend continued talking about how his divorce was the right decision. Apparently, he and his ex-wife had a major disagreement about his entrepreneurial drive and his need to be in Silicon Valley thousands of miles away from the East Coast. He talked about how he must go for the “billion-dollar idea” in order to leave his son a legacy. When he spoke I could tell that he was convinced that he was making the right decision. Only time will tell.
After my conversation with a well-known Silicon :Valley entrepreneur, I thought about my own willingness to make difficult sacrifices in the name of chasing a big dream. A new husband and father myself, I can’t imagine leaving my wife and young son to pursue a new business on the other side of the country. The thought would never cross my mind: I wondered, if I were ever that convicted by the promise of a billion-dollar idea or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, would I sacrifice my marriage and a relation-ship with my son? And, if I could, would I be able to live with my-self? The answer is an emphatic no, but I know my wife, and she supports what I do 100 percent.
Such is the life of a dedicated entrepreneur who understands that in order to reach goals, there will be sacrifices, some small and some large. Most entrepreneurs are willing to make small sacrifices. For example, giving up a few good meals for the proverbial ramen noodles is almost a rite of passage for the struggling entrepreneur. (I’ve certainly had my share of ramen noodles and wonder if there is a correlation between being an entrepreneur and having high blood pressure.) However, when it comes to making big sacrifices like giving up a high-paying job, a college education, good health, a family, and other important things, the dynamics of the discussion change. There seems to be a split between regular entrepreneurs, who sacrifice little, and extreme entrepreneurs, who sacrifice a lot.
In general, you can measure how badly an entrepreneur wants an idea to become reality based on what that person is willing to sacrifice. Accordingly, one’s level of success is directly related to sacrifice. Keeping this in mind, I often ask prospective cofounders and staff for my companies what they are willing to give up to be part of a winning team. They frequently give the expected answer: “I would give my right arm!” But the fruits of their labor can be found in the pains of their sacrifice. I can sunrise the real answer before I ask the question by looking at what they-have accomplished already and what they have suffered to do it.
Entrepreneurs have to sacrifice as they chase their dreams. However, rarely do we discuss just how hard these sacrifices will be to reach high levels of success. We joke about eating ramen noodles because it’s trivial. But would you leave a high-paying job? Would you drop out of college even if you had a full scholar-ship? Would you give up your health? Would you sacrifice your marriage and a relationship with your son? Extreme entrepreneurs say yes to difficult questions like these, and that’s what makes entrepreneurs a rare breed. As you embark on your journey to bring your big idea to the world, ask yourself the question, What am I willing to sacrifice to make this happen? Your answer can help you determine your likelihood of success.