All my life I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur. When I was a kid, I’d tinker around with all sorts of things to try to find a solution to what I perceived to be a problem. In middle school, I must’ve made a ton of quite useless inventions, including a retractable pencil and a pencil that had multiple objects that can be attached or detached to it including compasses, erasers, etc. During high school, I made various websites and thought about having a unique forum based website where downloads and information can be all contained in a forum rather than the conventional header – div/table – footer way of navigating a site. So in a way, I believe that I am quite unlike my parents in that I didn’t want to work for anyone, I wanted to be at the helms of management. I have not succeeded yet, but I will continue trying until I do. There is a few things I’ve learned on this path towards trying to be successful. I will share them here:
1) It isn’t about a creative idea; it’s about a creative way method of utilizing that idea.
Everyone tries to look for the next billion-dollar idea. They try and become the next Google or Facebook or Apple. But I can tell you that most successful business ideas were not original. They are replicating a previous business idea – and utilizing it in new ways. Google was not the first search engine but they did utilize a new method of ranking pages based on backlinks. Facebook became popular because of its organized, user friendly layout. It was not the first social network. Myspace and Friendster had all existed before Facebook. Even Apple did not design the first successful computer. Apple took the idea of GUI design from Xerox PARC. If we go all the way back to Ford motor company’s success, they did not invent the automobile, but utilized a new way of assembling them to reduce cost and offer them to the average American. Execution is key.
2) Passion is important.
Steve Jobs mentioned in his commencement address, and it’s quite true, that passion is the key to overcoming the barriers. If you were not passionate about your business, then there is no way you would be sane enough to dedicate your time and energy towards making it succeed. When you are passionate about your business, you will think of good ways to market it, to implement it, and to make it succeed. Drive is the most important part of character. GPA has nothing to do being successful. It’s all about character.
3) Network, connections and capital.
Where you are located is important. I mentioned before how Silicon Valley tends to contain the most number of high tech startups. It’s no wonder – the environment and the connections that are there all contribute to new ideas. The pool of talent that exists where you are allows you to build a better company. With the right people, and the right investors at your disposal, the success of your business becomes more likely. The reason is simple – money is an enabler – it allows you to do more with it, like hire the right people and promote in the right places. The right people in the right places enable you to gain more connections. The more connections, the more publicity and the more people that want to work with you. It’s a cycle that eventually leads to a talented business, but only combined with the other two points.
In short, opportunity begets more opportunity. If my life is short – I want to take some risks, and one risk is to be an successful entrepeneur – eventually.