Entrepreneurs are carnivores who live for the hunt. A junior writer at my first ad agency, I was bursting with passion and enthusiasm but too often felt like I was chained to a tree. This had nothing to do with the people around me; on the contrary they were mostly brilliant. Rather, I blame the little voice inside of my head that told me to run – hard. And so seven years ago – I started my own company.
I should mention that I never wanted to *be* an entrepreneur. I just wanted to write advertising and help determine how ideas were developed and presented. Oh, and that I was fairly compensated. But I learned that doing what I was most passionate about required front-end processes, which directly helped create the opportunity to capitalize on my passion. And so this is how I became an entrepreneur. Note – I am not saying that being an entrepreneur is somehow better than being a freelancer or working for someone else at a company. Nor is it safe to presume that entrepreneurship is for everyone. It's not. It’s hard. And you will go broke before you break even. In fact, I'd guess that the reason half of all small businesses fail in the first year is largely due to overambitious people with an idea and guts – but little else. Yes, you can still eat meat and not be an entrepreneur. But I've noticed that the people who successfully hunt out their own opportunities share three common traits.
1) Fearlessness to take the road less traveled. Before you blow this off as cliché, trust me – it's harder than it sounds. It requires faith. And true faith requires letting go of the rope and free falling for a while.
2) Resolve. This is taking two high-and-tight fastballs, but leaning in for the third pitch anyway, anticipating the outside corner. To be a success at anything in life means having the willingness to dig in for every pitch. Woodie Allen once said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." He 100% right.
3) Passion. Passion is the wolf in your chest that claws its way out. And if you think that sounds painful, try ignoring it. That's pain.
I was raised to believe that the safest way to have a good life is to find something you're pretty good at, and go to work for a big company who will pay you to do that thing. But when my father was forced into early retirement after a competitor acquired his company, he received a watch (with the company logo) and six-months severance pay. For thirty years of loyalty. In this age of corporate corruption and worldwide recession, nothing's safe any more. Except to assume that if you're reading this, there's probably a little voice inside of your head telling you to run. Hard.