The 21st century has been and still continues to be the era for the entrepreneur. There is no better time to be an entrepreneur than now. Startups are getting funding from venture capitalists. Crowdfunding has made it much easier for anyone to raise money for their project. Incubators are popping up all over the country, which gives aspiring entrepreneurs access to tools and resources to set the foundation for their innovative idea. Despite our uncertain economy, entrepreneurship in the U.S. has hit a record high. 69% of new businesses start at home.
You may be thinking the following: “If that’s all true, why aren’t most employees becoming entrepreneurs?” One reason is that some people do not desire entrepreneurship. They may marvel at the success of others but they are honestly happy and content with their own careers. There is an adage that says: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” If a person has their ideal career, he or she may find it risky to invest time and money in developing an entrepreneurial project. The other reason that explains why most employees don’t become entrepreneurs is the fear within them. Being an entrepreneur is not easy and the likelihood of failure is the main factor that dissuades people from entrepreneurship.
These people will legitimize their fear by blaming the government as the reason for not being successful. They may point to the data provided by The Brookings Institution, which highlights that the number of businesses failing is outpacing the number of new businesses. I do not discount the validity of these statistics at all. However, if you have made up your mind that it’s too risky to be an entrepreneur, you will find countless statistics to justify your reason. On the contrary, I can point you to countless statistics showing why this is the best time to be an entrepreneur. Your initial mentality plays a significant role on your perspective of life. The government doesn’t determine my success. Do they determine yours?
It’s not uncommon that I get replies suggesting a reality check. Here are some examples:
- “Do you realize how Obamacare is hurting businesses?”
- “Over 25% of Americans have no savings, 40% can live 3 months without a paycheck and your answer is entrepreneurship. Wake up to the real world!”
- “Why would you recommend people to be entrepreneurs when the Dodd-Frank Act is allowing the big banks to gamble with FDIC-insured deposits and taxpayer subsidies? This is not the time for Americans to be taking financial risks.”
I actually believe that being an employee is even riskier. How many employees are truly happy with their career? 14%. That’s right. Only 14% of Americans believe they have the perfect job. If you ask me, it is far more risky to put your financial security in the hands of someone else. There is risk in everything. The question that I want you to ponder is: “How well are you minimizing your risk?” and “Can you sleep well at night, living in your current state of affairs?”
Do entrepreneurs face the possibility of bankruptcy or lawsuits? There is no doubt about it. Anytime, certain innovations disrupt the current market; those innovative businesses will be under attack, whether it is from unions or government. Uber and Lyft have been under attack for disrupting the market of the cab industry. It’s not fun for any business to face lawsuits but these cases are only in a fraction of their served cities. They operate in 200+ cities and have faced 15 lawsuits in the last 12 months. While lawsuits are expensive, Uber is worth $40 billion as of last month. A dozen or so lawsuits are nowhere close to breaking the bank. Furthermore, I don’t think the co-founders of Uber are worried about Obamacare or the Dodd-Frank Act either.
Thankfully, most employees will never become entrepreneurs. Our economy wouldn’t function well if everyone or even the majority of people were entrepreneurs. My question to you is: “Which side do you want to be on?” It looks like co-founders of Uber chose the right side. They were aware of the great risk but they also were aware of the rewards. I don’t think they’re complaining about the outcome.
 Forbes – U.S. Entrepreneurship Hits Record High (May 27, 2013)  The Brookings Institution – Declining Business Dynamism in the U.S. (May 5, 2014)  Reuters – Dream job? Most Americans want to change their careers (July 1, 2013)  CNN Money – Uber raised $1.2 billion at a $40 billion valuation (December 1, 2014)
Kallen Diggs is a small business owner and author of Reaching The Finish Line. Since the Great Recession, he has helped over 2000 people reach their finish line.