Becoming an entrepreneur is absolutely not for the faint of heart. When you become an entrepreneur, you’re basically going against everything that you ever learned in school and everything that society has taught you. You’re giving up safety. You’re giving up a paycheck. You’re giving up health insurance.
You’re pretty much going against everything that is the norm in society to try to do your own thing, which is incredibly challenging. Yet, every single year, there are about 600,000 small businesses that get started in the US alone.
That being said, I contend that one of the key characteristics of individuals who are successful as entrepreneurs is delusion. I know you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about, so I’m going to explain that in this post.
Let’s go ahead and get started.
WATCH THIS BLOG POST IN VIDEO FORMAT
Entrepreneurs Think Every Idea Will Be Wildly Successful
Okay, so this applies to almost every entrepreneur out there. When you start something, it doesn’t matter what it is—a website, a restaurant, or whatever it may be—you think that anything you do is going to be wildly successful.
If you didn’t think that, then you wouldn’t start it at all. So, you start something and you think, “This is going to do it. This is going to be the one.” You may not be 100% sure, but you’re pretty sure that it’s going to be wildly successful.
But the truth is—and I know this from experience—most of them are not. They may be kind of successful or they may be complete and utter failures. The point is, you’re always hoping for a fully successful business, and most of the time that’s not what happens.
For every one successful website I’ve had, I’ve probably had four or five that were complete and utter failures. However, my ratio of success to failure over the years has gotten better because I’ve gotten better at what I do. Yet, I still have failures all the time.
Now, let me tell you a quick story. I’ve talked about my websites being failures and some dumb things I’ve done in the past, but probably the dumbest idea I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot of dumb ideas) was to create a website that was called “picturesofbabiesinthewomb.com.”
The idea was to get pictures of babies at different stages of pregnancy in the womb, post them onto the internet, and then have people click through the images and go to the website to make money from ad revenue. I thought that was a good idea.
This is why delusion plays a part in being an entrepreneur because I thought it would be wildly successful. I didn’t think it would make me millions, but I thought, “Oh, this will work.” It was just ridiculous.
After Failing, We Go Right Back At It
This leads me to my next point—after failing, entrepreneurs always go right back at it. We don’t stop and say, “Well, that was a failure and I should just quit.” The good ones say, “I failed, but that’s okay,” and they learn some lessons and keep going.
A common thread among entrepreneurs is that failure is normal. It really is, especially in the beginning, because you have to learn. You don’t even know what you don’t know, so you have to learn a lot of different things. Yet, we continually make new business plans and new businesses all the time.
We’ll try something, we’ll fail. We’ll try something, we’ll fail. If you know someone like this, or if you are someone like this, don’t worry, because one of these days you’re going to try something and you’re going to get some legs behind it.
When it starts working, you’ll be like, “Oh my God, this is actually a real thing,” so keep hustling baby, and keep going. It does really happen that way.
How most entrepreneurs deal with failure is to fall down, let it hurt for a day or two, or maybe even a week or two, and then dust themselves off. They’ll probably say, “Man, that really sucked,” and, “This is rough,” and, “I don’t know if I can do this.”
But then what do they do? A month or two goes by, and they get the itch again. That’s what good entrepreneurs do, but again, they’re delusional. They just keep getting that itch even though they failed over and over and over. They keep failing, but they keep thinking, “Hey, I get to bounce back and do it again.”
Every Project We Start, We Imagine Selling for Millions Later
I’m going to get into another story here. I don’t know about everybody else out there, but every single project that I start, I imagine selling for a large amount of money.
For example, a good friend of mine and I created a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business. This was a business that was focused on helping condo owners speak to the renters of their buildings in a more seamless way to improve communication within the building. It really wasn’t a bad idea—in fact, it was actually a pretty good idea.
So, we had started this company, and we were ready to go. Before we did anything, we literally wrote a whole business plan. However, you should only do that if you’re trying to get investors; otherwise, don’t waste your time. You could just jot something down in Microsoft Word on one page and get started.
We planned so much, but we ultimately failed miserably. We were planning on selling this thing for millions, but all we did was create a really long business plan, spent a couple thousand dollars, got trademarks, and failed.
Yet again, I was delusional. In that case, it wasn’t necessarily the idea that was bad, but the way we executed the idea. Although we completely failed in that in that particular situation, I kept going.
Delusion Is Crucial to Successful Entrepreneurs
Let’s talk about why delusion (which really is the word for it) is crucial to entrepreneurs. Every business is a grand-slam in theory; I don’t think any entrepreneur going into business is going to say, “This is going to be an amazing failure.”
They’re going to go into it and say, “This is going to be the one that will really do well,” but inevitably, they will fail many times. They’ll fail over and over, but the thing that keeps entrepreneurs delusional is that they think most of the ideas they have are so good that they have to act on them because that particular idea could be the one.
They’re like, “We tried this last idea for six months, and it didn’t work, but this new idea is really going to be the one.” I still lose sleep over new business ideas because I can’t sleep when my mind drifts. My wife knows all about it. I’ll think of an idea for a website and be like, “Okay, this is a great idea.” Then I start thinking about how I could monetize it, market it, and get some PR by doing this and that.
Ultimately, this is pure delusion. I’ve had some pretty successful websites and I’m doing relatively well for myself, but there’s never been a website that I’ve sold for a million dollars or even close to a million dollars.
Right now I’m focused on a website that I think could be gigantic. Do I know if it will be? No, but I’m going to try my best to work hard and make it that way. Delusion is so important in this, because if you don’t have delusion as an entrepreneur, you’re going to give up.
If you try something once or twice and you fail once or twice, then you could say, “You know what? I’m just going to accept reality. I can’t do this. My ideas aren’t that great and I’m probably not going to win. I’m just going to quit.” So then you quit, and that’s it.
Good entrepreneurs are delusional because they keep pushing forward when everything’s stacked against them. Society is stacked against you. Your ideas probably aren’t going to perform as well as you want. You have to make your own money. Basically, it’s stressful.
You’re trying to wear many different hats, and you can’t do it as well as you think you can, but you’re delusional enough to believe that you can actually succeed. However, some of you who fail (like I do) keep pushing through it. Eventually, you’ll find something that will actually get some legs, so you’ll keep working and start to have a little bit of success.
Why Do Good Entrepreneurs Continue?
So why is it that good entrepreneurs continue after they fail? Well, as I said, we’re delusional. So we just think, “Hey, that idea wasn’t it, but this next one is going to be the one. I just know Google is going to come crawling to me and try to buy me.”
Or, maybe you’re just going to compete. Maybe you’re even going to beat Facebook. There are people out there who think that they’re going to create the next website to beat Facebook, and someone probably will.
At the end of the day, most of us who try will absolutely fail. But as good entrepreneurs, we think we have a chance, and that’s not a bad thing—that’s actually a great thing.
We also know that deep down, not every idea is a winner. You may think, “Hey, this is going to be the next one.” You grow it in your head and you’re like, “It could be this.” Then, at the end of the day, you’re like, “Okay, let’s get grounded in reality here.” Especially if you’ve had a few failures, you understand that you need to start early and start slow to build up to success.
Because good entrepreneurs are delusional, we believe that every idea is a grand slam. We think every idea we have is probably going to be the one to beat out Google or Facebook.
Though we ground ourselves, we always get excited first. We always think, “I need to start this because this is going to be the one that’s really going to grow.” And again, most of the time it isn’t the one that really grows.
Good entrepreneurs cannot fathom working for someone else, especially after they’ve had a little bit of success and they’ve been able to work for themselves. There’s a quote from Lori Greiner (Shark Tank), that goes, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week for themselves to avoid working 40 hours a week for somebody else.” This is very true.
I recorded the video format of this blog post at 10:20 PM. I would never do this for an employer. I did it for myself for two simple reasons: 1.) Because I promised you guys I’d make videos, and, 2.) Because I want to continue to grow. I want my business to keep going, so I am willing to work those extra hours because I am trying not to work for anyone else again.
Another reason why good entrepreneurs continue is that we want to control our own careers. It’s funny—other people who work for employers look at me and say, “You’re crazy,” because they have a safe paycheck.
However, I actually think they’re nuts because I’m like, “You could lose your job tomorrow.” Look at how many people got laid off during the pandemic. It was like, “Oh, I have all this income. Oh, it’s gone.” Yes, my business got hit, but you know what? I didn’t completely lose it.
The last reason why we keep going, even though we are delusional, is because we want freedom. We’re all about getting that freedom to be able to make our own choices and our own work schedule, and to be able to work from wherever we want.
The ability to manage and dictate what you want to do as a human being is so important. Working on things that you’re passionate about keeps you happy and makes you want to continue to push forward, even if you’re a little bit delusional while you do it.
Now Is a Good Time to Get Started
I just want to say that if you haven’t started your business yet, and you’re about to turn on Netflix when you’re done reading this—stop. Stop right now, and don’t turn on Netflix. Instead, visit my homepage and read “The Truth About Online Business”. At the end of that, you’ll get a free mini-course to start your path to owning websites.
Forget about all your objections of, “Oh, I don’t have time. I don’t understand tech. I don’t have money.” Just start by going there and reading what I have to say about online business, and then get a free mini-course at the end of it. It’s free—what do you have to lose?
That’s it you guys; that’s why I feel that good entrepreneurs are completely delusional. I think I’m pretty accurate in that because not many sane people would want to do what we do or would think the way that we think.
So, kudos and bless all of you out there who are like me—continually losing sleep over ideas that probably aren’t the greatest, but executing them anyway.