Let’s get a few things straight.
Talking about entrepreneurship, just to talk about entrepreneurship, and then selling a “private video series” at the end of the talking, isn’t actual entrepreneurship.
The purpose of entrepreneurship, while it certainly has a self-serving element to it, is primarily service to others. Embedded in all ethical businesses is an intrinsic element of social good, even if the owners profit wildly as a result. You see a problem that you can solve, you fix it for others at scale and, if you do it right, you’re rewarded. If you don’t solve the problem, the market will tell you. By not buying.
But these days, we have confused marketing for entrepreneurship. We’ve confused the whistle with the train. We’re all eating Hostess without the cream filling.
And the marketers have got it backwards. Instead of identifying a real problem and fixing it, they’re creating problems that nobody had before, exaggerating the created problem and linking a lot of pain/FOMO to it, then charging to solve it.
This creates a sense of constant neuroses in the entrepreneurial community. It perpetuates the feeling that we are always in the dark. That we will never know what we are doing and that there will always be a guru whose robes we must cling to as we genuflect in awe of their unattainable achievements. “Teach me, wise one.”
This approach is highly profitable for people untroubled by preying on the confusion but it doesn’t make anything better. It makes money. And that’s the confusion: just because something makes money doesn’t mean that it’s useful. Or helpful. Or wise. (See: Bernie Madoff, Enron, et al.)
If you’re going to make something, make something better for someone else.
Solve real problems. I have some good friends out there who are living this:
Maneesh Sethi literally created a magical device (Pavlok) from scratch that could be the most powerful habit changing device of the last century. Jordan and AJ Harbinger are teaching men (and women) how live on the edge and become the best versions of themselves at The Art of Charm.
Jon Goodman is writing books and creating programs to help the next generation of leaders get their clients into shape with the Personal Trainer Development Center.
They’re making things a LOT better for people. As a result, their lives are getting better, too. That’s what real entrepreneurs do. After all, what are you doing if you’re not making things better?
Screw the hype. Screw the Facebook ads with stock photos of impossibly ripped, smiling couples high-fiving as they complete their 45-minute work day from the beach.
Screw the textbook “hero’s journey” viral videos about guys who started with a few dollars and ended up in a garage full of exotic cars.
Screw this inception of ideas about ideas about ideas. Solve a problem, or allow the people dedicated to improving the world the space they need. You’re hogging the newsfeed.
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Photo credit: Getty Images