Momentum Podcast: 14

Entreprenurial Dilemma

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

The Entrepreneur's Dilemma is that we need far more protection and support than the average person to reach our full potential, however any request for protection and support leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed. This is the reason so many entrepreneurs don't get the help they need and struggle to become successful. The day you become an entrepreneur is the day you become a commodity and feel like admitting any weakness exposes you and your business. Every entrepreneur struggles with this on a daily basis regardless of their level of success. It is this dilemma that keeps many of us stuck, plateaued, and unable to make the contribution we know we should be making.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Entrepreneurial Personality Type podcast. Episode 14, The Entrepreneurial Dilemma. The entrepreneurial dilemma is that entrepreneurs, people like us, require far more protection and support than the average person to reach our full potential but any request for protection and support leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed. This is one of those things that as entrepreneurs we don't talk about, we don't ever share this. This isn't something we put out there because the day you become an entrepreneur, the day you declare yourself an entrepreneur, you become a commodity.

Entrepreneurs are criticized for working too much, we're criticized for working too hard, we are told that we blur the line between personal and business, but I'll tell you the truth, entrepreneurs blur the line between themselves and the company. I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs I know that have sacrificed, gone without, paid out of their own pockets, given up their income, not drawn a paycheck for years and sometimes decades, just so that they can run the company that they are, make the difference that they're making and make their greatest contribution.

While the world sees entrepreneurs as affluent and having wealth and having power, the fact is that most business are teetering on the brink of disaster. They're barely making it. The average entrepreneur, depending on who you believe, makes somewhere around 60 to 80 thousand dollars a year. They're by no means wealthy and in meeting entrepreneurs around the world and hearing their inside voices, I can tell you that the vast majority of us live in a state of ambiguity and fear and we do everything we can to hide this because most feel like we are the only one's struggling. And because there's so much of a history and an echo and still hearing things like, fake it until you make it and don't ever let them see you sweat, we turn inwards, we isolate, we don't ask for the protection and the support we need.

The challenge is, that the vast majority of entrepreneurs in the world, not just in the United States, are fully exposed because they're doing everything. They have no help, they are truly a party of one. It doesn't matter if an entrepreneurs' making ten dollars an hour or ten thousand dollars an hour, if they have no help and they're the only ones running the business, they have the same level of exposure to losing everything. So yes, the average entrepreneur is in a massive state of risk.

So many of us stay small, purposefully suppress our companies, some subconsciously some consciously, we live in fear and we pretend it isn't there and most, well over 90% will stay this way. Here's the challenge for us as entrepreneurs, make no mistake, it doesn't matter who you are, how good you are, what you've learnt, what you understand, you can not overcome the fact that 100% of the activities required to start a business have to transition in order for you to have long term growth and success.

I'll show you. To start a business you execute. In order to grow the business, you delegate. To start a business you do everything, anyone who ever has knows this. In order to grow the business, you must specialize. When you start a business you drive the day to day, and when you grow a business you manage and lead the day to day. When you start a business, you sell to every single customer, I know I have. When you grow the business, you create a customer service and sales strategy. When you start the business, you work tirelessly doing everything but you can't scale that way because when you grow the business you have to create a performance culture that everyone can be a part of.

When you start a business you execute the plan in order to transition to long term success you have to create a strategy for the plan. To start a business you focus on a to-do list, to grow the business you focus on the future. In starting the business you sell yourself and the company, when you grow the business you sell the vision of the company to those around you. When you start a business you create all of the values, when you grow the business you build a team and you create and support core values. When you start a business, you focus on survival. In order to grow the business, you have to transition that energy to growth, profitability and stability. In starting the business, you build a customer list. In growing the business, you build a management team.

The activities are completely different but the challenge is, the vast majority of entrepreneurs will stay doing everything themselves. Why? Because as human beings, we are subject to the conditioning of the world around us. Just like Pavlov's dog, when the bell rang and the dog's mouth salivated, we are the same. When we start a business, it can be one of the most difficult times of our lives. In fact, I often ask entrepreneurs when I'm speaking, or when I'm talking to entrepreneurs, when I have a group of them around me, how hard was it to start your business? You'd be shocked at the answers because what people say is that it was the hardest thing they ever did in their lives.

They say it was like life and death. There is nothing like it. In fact, I had a student in my class, who had survived Cancer and when we were having this conversation, someone in the class said, "Which was harder, Cancer or starting your business?" You may be shocked but he said, "Starting the business." The level of exposure, the level of ambiguity, the level of threat that we deal with, both perceived as real and actually real are overwhelming. That's why we have to overcome the entrepreneurs' dilemma. There's a bridge to your full potential, there's a way to get out of this. We both know you're not going to stop, you can't turn it off and you probably wonder why anyone would even try.

This is the path to your greatest contribution. It's one as entrepreneurs, we're willing to increase the level of transparency with which we deal with the world. I've studied some of the most successful people in history. I've gotten the opportunity to work side by side with them and here's what I can tell you about people who move the world around like puzzle pieces, they are proactively transparent. They tell the people around them what they need because they know in order to reach their full potential, they must have the protection and support of the people around them. That's why billionaires are wholly and totally dependent on the people around them, but they're also dedicated to people.

Now, I know it can feel intimidating. I know it can feel like too much to think about asking for the level of support, the level of protection it takes to actually build a company, build a team, create profitability and grow. Here's what I want you to know, you can do this one step at a time, and it doesn't have to be all at once and it doesn't ever have to be overwhelming too much or a lot. In fact, when you look at some of the most successful companies in history, the teams who built them were small.

Warren Buffet needed less than 60 people at Berkshire Hathaway Corporate to control the most successful company in history. Sure, there were tens of thousands of people working in the companies, that they controlled but Berkshire Hathaway, had only 58 and it was the number one most successful company in history. Warren Buffet knew his strengths and it was not being around people, not one of them is being around people. It's not just Buffet. When we look at recent history, Instagram only had 13 people on the team when it sold to Facebook for a billion dollars. That's overwhelming, 13 people created a billion dollars in wealth.

See, the opportunity for us to get the protection and support we need today, is easier, it's more available, it's more ready than it's ever been at any time in human history because so much of that protection and support has been provided by the entrepreneurs, that have walked our path before us. They've written the books and they've left the programs behind and the code and the information and the short cuts and the lessons for you and I to learn and absorb so that we can do even more.

WhatsApp only had 55 people when it sold for 16 billion dollars. So, don't think that protection and support has to be overwhelming. Don't think you can't do this, not even for a minute because here's the fact about people like you and I, we need protection and support because we have strengths that should be protected at all costs because that's where our success comes from. We should be supported everywhere else.

The challenge for most entrepreneurs today is that they've been convinced there's something wrong with them, so they're constantly focused on improving their weaknesses. This presents a challenge, if you spend your entire life trying to improve your weaknesses you will find that at the end of your life, you have some pretty strong weaknesses. If you lean into your strengths and get support everywhere else, you will find that you have lived a transformational life and you will live a transformational life.

You see, strength or what we have that move us forward, our entrepreneurial attributes, when we are properly supported and we lower pressure and noise, come out and our abilities show and our ability to grow a business, influence, help people, make our greatest contribution, shows itself throughout commitment to be transparent and overcoming the entrepreneurial dilemma. When we get the protection and support we need, we become transformational leaders.

In my next episode of The Entrepreneurial Personality Type podcast, I'm going to cover how you become a transformational leader over time. How you understand the path to success for you as an entrepreneur and how you get the momentum that you want, because I'm going to dive deep on how entrepreneurs lower pressure and noise and some of what I bring up, may surprise you. I look forward to seeing you on episode 15. Lowering pressure and noise.

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