Lessons in entrepreneurship (I didn’t say they were good lessons…)

An arty picture of desk taken somewhere in Shoreditch (most likely)

I am nobody special. I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, I haven’t been exposed to business owners throughout my life, I’m not the smartest, nor the hardest working person you will ever meet. When I look at those listicles of “7 skills that all great entrepreneurs have” I struggle to convince myself that I am endowed with any of them. I am not a prodigious 16-year-old programmer, in fact I could barely scrape two lines of code together if forced to at gunpoint and I don’t have an MBA from Harvard (or anywhere else for that matter).

All I really have going for me is that I feel life is too short to not try things out. It got to a point this year where I asked myself, if I carried on doing my current job, was successful, and looked back in 10–15 years’ time, would I have any regrets? The answer was enough for me.

I am not going to pretend that I came to this decision over-night (I definitely didn’t, there was considerable umming and ahhing). I sat on it for several months, I talked to a lot of people: friends, family, colleagues, etc, I made all the lists of pros and cons you are supposed to make in times such as these, I read countless articles and points of view from various sources online (some more reputable than others). At the end of it all however, it just came down to the fact that I really wanted to give it a proper go, and so all the advice and information I had accumulated had relatively little sway in my final decision.

Whatever happens, my decision won’t ruin my life — I might have to scrimp a bit more here and there, work a little harder and be a bit more proactive, but there is a tiny, infinitesimal chance I might be able to do something really, really cool. And if (when) it fails I’ll just carry on (and probably go back to the drawing board). The more I think about it, the more I realise that the problem is that I, and people in general, overthink the decision to start their own business; this isn’t a life or death decision. It might slow a career-progression (but could accelerate it), it might mean you have to put off that big purchase for a little longer, but if you are smart about how you approach it you should always be left with something valuable at the end of your experience.

So you should probably just give it a go, no?

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Entrepreneur/Founder (Tmup, Devas) startup and innovation consultant (No Gear Consulting) and fascinated by all things tech