Business 101: Teaching Myself Entrepreneurship

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2006-12-1813

I’m not really built for risk taking. Really, I’m not. I’m also not a “natural” entrepreneur, which I found out this year when the spring season hit and my digerati spouse proclaimed, rather suddenly, that it was time for him to move on. That is, from his regular 9-to-5 job that guaranteed ourselves a reasonable retirement.

Whatever 10 year plan I had concocted to get us moving towards financial independence via scrimping and some company options promptly disintegrated and was rendered void. Those options were our safety net and lifeline and they were now out of the picture, sold at practically underwater prices thanks to the company stock deciding to crash to its lowest point in 3 years, precisely at the same moment my spouse quit to pursue his own projects.

Where does that leave us? At that moment, my household had then decided to follow the lure of the Silicon Valley startup game and I found out then and there that among other things, even the best laid life plans I was hoping to live by can go kaput at anytime in favor of the siren song of ventue capital funded opportunities.

What I Learned This Year
My spouse assures me: there’s no time like the present… if not now, then when…. no pain, no gain…. we might just hit the jackpot! So I guess I’m signing on for the ride. But mind you, it wasn’t without some kicking and screaming, great trepidation and deep anxiety over our future. And though I’m more of a calculated risk taker than a full blown dive-out-of-a-twin-engine-with-a-flimsy-backpack sort of person, I’ve been gently nudged and cajoled into joining the family business efforts to help contribute what I can.

I’ve decided to try to be productive rather than sit anxiously aside, waiting, watching and hand-wringing over financial bounties that were and may have been.

With the chaos of the summer behind me, when we had heavily discussed our plans, I’ve come to learn quite a bit while learning the ropes of entrepreneurship, which I now summarize in these 5 well-worn sayings:

Business Lessons I’ve Learned

  1. Even the best laid personal/household financial plans can be upturned by sudden events.
    Life changing events are just waiting to creep up and bite you, or are sitting on the sidelines ready to pounce. Divorce, disaster or deciding to strike it out on your own can force you to rethink your future. So be prepared.
  2. There’s a time to quit and there’s a time to hang on.
    You’ll just have to figure out what you’re comfortable with. Some stubborn people hang on for so long to a failing idea that they throw good money after bad. Also, it may sound like quitting is a bad thing, but it isn’t if you really need to cut your losses or can apply your time to more profitable ventures. It’s a judgment call and many times, an instinctive decision that needs to be made.
  3. When you find yourself staring at a lemon, the cliche tells us to make lemonade.
    If an idea flames out, think about making flambe out of it. Find the silver lining in what you are doing.
  4. There’s a fine line between blind faith and self-belief, and you must know how to tow that line.
    Wait a sec — hasn’t blind faith worked for some people? Yes it has, but they could have just been lucky. Believing in yourself is a good thing but don’t go overboard and think you can walk on water. Take a few reality checks and listen to feedback. If you think your idea can do no wrong, you may be setting yourself up.
  5. You never know what you could have achieved, until you try.
    I heard that you need to strike out 10 times to get one homer. Is that really true? If so then….**Sigh**.

So perhaps I’m not a “natural” entrepreneur but I’m simply hoping — no, with our cash situation right now…. make that: praying — that maybe the rules are a bit different here in Silicon Valley, and there’s room for a couple more technologists with creative ideas that may catch the eye of someone important and influential. In that case there’s room in these kinds of startups for everyone, even us former corporate types who’re willing to play along, give it a try, and learn how it is to be in a riskier business.

Hopefully, the rules can be a bit different in the Valley and that’s something I’m fervently banking on.

Copyright © 2006 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Char December 18, 2006 at 8:53 am

Taking the leap of faith is a thrill, isn’t it? Thank you for finding my blog – now I have another one to add to my daily reading – yours.

Andrew Flusche December 18, 2006 at 9:20 am

I love your post. It sounds like you guys took a big leap this year. I do hope it works out great for you. Good luck!

GP December 28, 2006 at 7:05 pm

Wow, your first paragraph coul’dve been written by me 🙂 Way 2 go. Fifteen years ago we took a leap of faith with our software programming biz which with lots of hard work has enabled me to take yet another plunge, opening up a bed and breakfast

Life as you knew it will cease to exist. An incredible journey and never doubt the power of prayer

GP in Montana

danieltoh January 16, 2007 at 1:09 pm

I’ve learnt that to become an entrepreneur and to start a business from scratch, you gotta have the courage to do it.

I’ve also come to know that all the knowledge without action amounts to nothing, also known as analysis paralysis.

So my lesson is to learn, and get to action and create a momentum, and bring courage along with you in search of your success.


Acer November 25, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I think it’s a massive move starting up. However great support is available (via the web or other companies). The benefits gained are more than just financial. The sense of independence is worth it on it’s own.

Rangga August 9, 2009 at 7:30 am

I love your post. It sounds like you guys took a big leap this year. I do hope it works out great for you. Thanks!

Business Opportunities Seeker January 3, 2010 at 3:49 am

Just follow your plan and you are on your way to successful entrepreneurship. With a positive mind, I know you can do it.

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