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Real Entrepreneurs Are Addicted to Risk And Coffee

I just read Michael Arrington’s post "Are You A Pirate?" and I think it can resume quite well what being an entrepreneur is all about.  In the article, Mike says that "Most people have an aversion to risk".  Of course, we all know this.  But you don’t quite notice it so well until you try being an entrepreneur yourself.

I’ve always tried to start my own business.  Any kind of businesses.  I remember doing my first business money by selling candies in my high-school.  There was only one store in school selling mainly chips and sandwiches, so I figured I could buy chocolate bars and candies and sell them to friends.  As it turned out, after one week I gained so much traction that students were lining up during breaks to buy my stuff.  Two weeks later, the school’s director called me for a meeting and told me to stop since I was killing the store’s business.  At that moment, I had my first taste of being an entrepreneur.

As the Internet started to become popular, I started to create different businesses around it.  I sold T-shirt online, did digital postcards, text ads, video game, news software, RSS caching, micro-blogging and more recently, video recording with Nimbb.  I was building these projects to have fun, but mainly because of the challenge that I could build my next business out of those.

Either I was still in school or having a job somewhere, I never stopped doing those projects on the side.  The excitement often didn’t let me a lot of sleep and I could work until 4am with a lot of coffee.  I always got my kick out of working on my own stuff.  I never enjoyed much working for a company.  I actually learned a lot about what I DIDN’T like to do in those companies.

For most people (I would say 80%), having a stable job and a nice salary is what is important in life.  These will work for the government or big companies like Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.  Then, there are those (15%) that want a little more challenge and will work for a startup, but still require the nice salary and some security.  Then, there are those (4%) that dream of having their own company but still work for someone else because they are afraid of the risk.  Finally, there are those (1%) that really jump in and become real entrepreneurs.

I say only 1% will become entrepreneurs out of my own experience.  Around me, I see people with ideas and dreams.  And I mean guys that really want to make it work.  But they have one real problem: they don’t want to lose their security.  They don’t want to leave their secure day job.  They don’t want to use their own money in their start-up. They don’t want to take any risk.

When I jumped in full time on my own start-up, I knew this would be really risky.  No salary.  No security.  Only the unknown.  But this is worth it because of the excitement of building something out of this.  Potentially building something big.

Now, I’m working how I want, when I want.  I’m working out of coffee shops with my laptop in San Francisco (and writing this post at Jebena coffee).  Each day, I enjoy what I’m doing.  I love this risk I’m taking.  I love being an entrepreneur.

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