Have you ever been camping in the pouring rain and experienced the sense of accomplishment, even thrill, of cooking up a simple dish and successfully serving it, despite the difficult circumstances? Why is it so satisfying? Deep down, you know that you could pack up the car and head to the closest restaurant and motel, maybe only a few minutes away, but you persevere and you’re rewarded with a possibly nourishing, definitely sopping, plateful of lukewarm Hamburger Helper. You hold it up as though it were a diploma from an elite school. “Despite all the difficulties,” you think, “I made this!” Somehow, it tastes better than a featured dish from a five-star restaurant.
That feeling of accomplishment despite the challenges is what drives entrepreneurs. Which is strange, because most people think it’s the money and other trappings of success. That’s understandable. Popular culture often conflates entrepreneurialism with money and excess. Think Fyre Festival excess. Images of nice cars, jets, helicopters, with our hero striding confidently, usually in slow motion, with his (yes, it’s usually a guy) eyes on the camera. The reality is far from the image.
© 2017 Bloomberg Finance LP
Entrepreneurs might be more prevalent than you think. More than 6% of Americans get their primary income from their own business. Despite all the publicity that “unicorns” and IPOs receive, fully 80% of small businesses are self-funded. And more than half start out in a primary residence rather than an office.
In my experience, entrepreneurialism more often means top ramen out of a cup sitting at