When I was a kid, several decades ago (shock horror), I used to play a board game with some school friends. The game was called ‘Careers’ and you won the game if you collected 60 points or more. What made it interesting was there were three types of points that could be collected – Happiness, Money and Fame and you could balance those 60 points anyway you liked – 20:20:20 or even 60:0:0. At the start of the game you chose the point structure that suited you and the game then began. The nature of the game was clearly to gain the points needed to win. This created a series of interesting options centred around education and careers (hence the name), one career if I recall was ‘Astronaut’ and another was ‘Politician’. Although at the time it was just a fun game, the analogies of life are quite amazing. I later found out the game was developed by a sociologist and so the basis of the game may well have been based on his clinical research.
The reason I mention this game is I am now towards the end of my career and are mainly involved in mentoring and some coaching of entrepreneurs at various stages of their life-cycle. I often ask the new entrepreneur the question “How would they measure success”? Sadly, most of them quickly say ‘Money’ is their driver. Many of these ‘entrepreneurs’ see the quest is all about being rich – very keen to retire at age 25 a multi-millionaire and sit on a beach somewhere. Are these people entrepreneurs? Or are they just lazy and are looking for a ‘get-rich’ scheme which many believe is offered through being an entrepreneur.
The current trend towards entrepreneurship and the volume of business incubators demonstrate quite clearly the desire of so many people to create wealth, and not necessarily a successful on-going business. Building an App, which may never become profitable, in the hope that Google or Facebook may buy it for millions of dollars due to some unforeseen need does make the founder an entrepreneur. Being an Entrepreneur is not hard, but building a successful company is. Most truly successful entrepreneurs have made personal sacrifices; the personal investment and time it takes is always much longer than you would ever expect.
The genuine entrepreneurs understand that money is just a part of the whole picture. The balance of success is a blend of many factors, not least the Money, Fame and Happiness as specified in the game. To be a successful entrepreneur above all else you should be satisfied that you have achieved the right balance for your life. The truth is that less than 1% of entrepreneurs make a lot of money. The average entrepreneur may not be rich in a money sense although achieves in other ways. An entrepreneur setting his sights purely on being rich will be disappointed 99% of the time, bit those who are looking for the right balance will succeed in so many ways.