That lesson was: I love solving problems. I hate trying to make money solving problems. I consider the incubator a success because it cost me $700 not to waste $30,000. A great investment.
Where does that leave me? I'm a great #2. Or #15. Just not #1.
Being an entrepreneur is hard. Incubators are typically less about nurturing the idea itself and more about nurturing the entrepreneur. It is said that most investors in early stage ideas believed more in the founders than they did in the product itself. Many entrepreneurs that enter incubators with an idea will end with a vastly different business launch (if they make it to the end).
But it seems that society tends to oversell the idea of entrepreneurship. That being your own boss is the dream. Something we should all aspire to. Being your own boss is the ultimate path to freedom. Yet, if we all were #1, then who would be left to be #2, #15, and so on? And isn't the #15 at Facebook or Airbnb still massively better off than all of the #1s at most businesses that never gain any traction?
I want to live free, with less stress
When I was first diagnosed with ADHD, I remember being told that having ADHD makes me very well suited for entrepreneurship. This is because of our hyper focus and keen interest in new shiny things. But I counter that not everyone experiences ADHD the same and for some of us, being able to "turn it off" when we come home is important for our well-being. Entrepreneurship can come with the crushing pressure that you can never get out from under, like...
Having to make compromises on your idea to appease investors, and having to add features you don't want to because they are the ones that will start generating revenue.... felt like limiting my creativity and not nurturing it. Going through the incubator showed me the compromises that great ideas have to go through just to make money which gets prioritized over solving the real problem.
After stepping back from the incubator, and discovering the FIRE movement, I realized that once I reach financial independence then I will have the the freedom to pursue solving problems without worrying if I make money at it or not.
Bonus material: calling it a side hustle is just slapping lipstick on a second job
Poor people have 2nd and 3rd jobs. But aspiring rich people have side hustles. Same same?
I think it is important to differentiate these 3 things:
Let's break it down further:
What isn't a side hustle? Dog walking. Driving for Uber on the weekends. You can't automate that and turn it passive (unless you hire employees but then voila you are an entrepreneur). We need to stop letting 2nd and 3rd jobs masquerade as side hustles. There is too much hype on social media about the side hustle these days, people get the FOMO that they need one. But there isn't enough education to help people distinguish side hustles from 2nd and 3rd jobs which leaves people sacrificing their time for the extra money. Let's try these two out:
I'm not here to teach a course on side hustles. But it was worth mentioning as the topic is very closely related to entrepreneurship. If you otherwise didn't have it in your head that you needed a 2nd or 3rd job, then don't feel bad not jumping on the side hustle band wagon.
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Unfinished human, currently v.5.0. Expecting at least 10 more versions. Aspiring adult.