Entrepreneurs are our modern day rock stars. Is this an accurate assumption? I don’t think so. Being an entrepreneur is more like being a boxer, and here’s why.
Society seems to have a particular opinion of entrepreneurs nowadays–that we’re rock stars.
At first blush, it might appear to be a pretty accurate title, especially with the examples we have to look to. These examples include Virgin’s Richard Branson, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Larry Page, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, Latin World Entertainment’s Sofia Vergara and MakerBot’s Bre Pettis.
The rockstar comparison, however, in my mind isn’t the best way to portray the lifestyle that comes with starting an endeavor from the ground up and keeping it running. In fact, I think giving it the rock star stigma is misleading to people who may be evaluating whether embracing it is right or not.
Yes, the people I mentioned earlier lead incredible and awe-inspiring lives. We unfortunately often get blinded by the glory and forget to remember what went on in the background as we formulate our opinions on the lifestyle.
From my experience–and from what fellow entrepreneurs have shared with me–being an entrepreneur is more like being a boxer than a rock star and here’s why:
Entrepreneurism Requires 100% of You
When someone sets out to be a boxer, they have to accept that it’s going to take 100% dedication. This dedication has be coated in 100% determination to withstand the training, dieting and other intense preparation.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to be ready to devote yourself to your cause. You have to train for it, diet for it, prepare for it and stay determined to accomplish your goals.
I’m of the mindset that you can’t be half-hearted or wishy washy. Those who go into an endeavor without full conviction often end up giving up at the first sign of trouble.
Entrepreneurism Requires You to Face Opponents
A common misconception of entrepreneurialism is that you’re completely independent–that you don’t have to answer to anyone.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. You always have to answer to someone. If it’s not a boss, it’ll be clients, customers, investors or other stakeholders.
Stepping into the Ring:
In addition to answering to someone, you’re required to step into the ring and face opponents much like any boxer.
These opponents can be people, but most times they manifest as challenges and obstacles. These can range from anything from gathering enough funding to launch your business to eventually stepping toe-to-toe with a goliath-sized conglomerate competitor.
The Opponent Ladder and the Championship:
A boxer makes it to the championship round by defeating a ladder of fighters.
Making it to the top with your big idea and business is much the same. The challenge ladder unique to your business type has to be conquered–each one bigger than the next–to make it to a championship-level match.
Defeating the opponent at the championship-level equals hitting profitability, social awareness and overall success. The point is that you don’t start fighting the champion–you have to be willing to work your way up the ladder.
Winning is Just the Beginning:
Just because you win that champion-level battle doesn’t mean you’re finished fighting. Every good champion has to defend the title they just earned.
When you’re successful, you have to continue fighting. You have to defend your success from any foe that may step into the ring to challenge you.
Entrepreneurism Requires You to Have People in Your Corner
Famous boxers often get all of the credit. Granted, they deserve quite a bit of it for persevering and putting their bodies on the line, but the people in their corners need to be recognized for their dedication as well.
These are the trainers behind the scenes pushing these athletes to the limit. These are the coaches teaching them new ways to punch, block and dodge. These are the staff members handling the little details of the fight so that the boxer can focus on the fight itself. These are the guys in the corner who patch up the wounds on the boxer’s face between rounds. Yes, some of the people handling these roles may overlap, but the point is that each is necessary.
As an entrepreneur, you need people in your corner. You need people to support you, push you and coach you. You need advocates and powerful resources willing to jump in and bear the burden with you.
Entrepreneurism Requires You to Know How to Take a Hit
Starting a business from the ground up is never a cake walk. You face opponents, but those opponents don’t just stand there like your personal punching bag–they’re active fighters trying to knock you out as much as you’re trying to knock them out.
You’re going to take hits as you continue to step into the ring of entrepreneurism–it’s inevitable. Every boxer accepts that the punches are going to be coming and that’s why they prepare to take and/or dodge them.
Being an entrepreneur requires the same preparation. You have to keep your hands up. You have to block and dodge through every match and challenge. You have to stay alert and on guard or else you will get knocked out.
Entrepreneurism Requires Rhythm
A boxer who tires themselves out in the first round of the fight is going to get beat. Boxing isn’t about throwing as many punches as possible–it’s about having a rhythm and being strategic with your punches.
An entrepreneur has to get into a rhythm as well. You can’t try to do everything at once. You can’t hurl every single idea you have savagely at the wall—you have to strategically manage, implement them and take one step at a time.
Entrepreneurism Requires You to Drag Yourself Back Up
Every once in a while, a boxer will get rocked by an unexpected punch that slips through the guard and sends them to the ground.
For the entrepreneur, this could be that huge client that suddenly discontinues service, your local government yanking your permits or that bad spot of publicity that results in a crisis.
There are times when you’ll get knocked to the ground, but you have to have the will to get back up and continue fighting. Dreams don’t come easy—they come at the price of blood, sweat and sometimes even tears.
Entrepreneurism Requires You to Get Back into the Ring If You Get Knocked Out
Unfortunately, sometimes that unexpected punch is too much to come get up from. In the business of boxing, someone is bound to eventually get knocked out.
There are times in business pursuits where an entrepreneur will get knocked out.
Knock outs are bankruptcy, lawsuits and other major failures. Some never face the knock out, but a large amount of the big names we have to look at today have faced not one, but several knock outs.
Walt Disney’s is a prime example of this.
He faced several major set backs that nearly kept him out of the ring forever. At 22, he faced bankruptcy after the failure of a cartoon series. And after experiencing his first real wave of success with a character named Oswald the Rabbit, Universal Studios seized ownership and hired all of Disney’s artists from under him leaving him with nothing.
Regardless of the knock out, Disney kept going back for more. He never quit. Nowadays, we see the results of his efforts and the empire he established by getting back into the ring.
Is Entrepreneurism Right for You?
For anyone considering the lifestyle or chasing the dream of entrepreneurism, I just have one question for you: are you ready to start boxing?
Back into the ring,