I would classify myself as an entrepreneur. But what does being an entrepreneur really mean? “Entrepreneur” derives from the French word “entreprendre,” which literally means “to undertake.” And that’s exactly what I believe it means to be an entrepreneur.
In order to be an entrepreneur, you just have to undertake a venture. This is not the same thing as having an idea. Billions of people have ideas. But only a small percentage are willing to pursue those ideas.
It’s not easy being an entrepreneur. You have to take a lot of risks. You risk your time. You risk money (even if you are using investors’ money, there is still personal financial risk in the opportunity cost of your time). But you also have to risk what is often most precious to people — your reputation. What if you fail? I believe this is the subconscious impedance that prevents most people from undertaking a venture.
To relieve your worries, I’d like to share with you that everyone has this fear. Let go of your ego, and go for it. No one knows whether or not they will succeed. All entrepreneurs have no idea what they’re doing. You must play everyday by ear and figure out things as you go.
I remember starting 2400 Expert my senior year in college. People looked at me funny. They thought I was crazy. “Why are you starting an SAT prep company, when you’re going to med school in a few months?” It didn’t make sense. I didn’t know what I was doing. I can specifically remember a student who was going to med school with me saying, “Why are you doing 2400 Expert? You’re can make way more money being a doctor.”
Unfortunately, this classmate failed to realize that entrepreneurship is not necessarily about making the most money — it’s about building something impactful that you love and going through the ups and downs to get there (yes, the downs are just as important as the ups). In my opinion, there is nothing more fun and fulfilling. If you have passion for your idea and are willing to work harder than anyone else you know, become an entrepreneur by undertaking a venture.