A couple months ago, GoPro founder Nick Woodman fulfilled an old promise to his college roommate, who also happened to be the first GoPro employee. Back when Nick started the company, he promised Neil Dana 10% of the sales from GoPro when it goes public. He kept his promise and now Neil Dana’s net worth has increased by about $229 million dollars.
That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen anyone get rich.
A lot of people today are looking for a quick way to get rich. If you go on the internet, you will see headlines like “This housewife made $20,413 in one week using this weird old trick” and “Here’s how to make 350k a year!” Obviously these ads are working, because I still see them everywhere.
When writing about entrepreneurship, most publications report on the one-in-a-thousand company, the college dropout who starts an app that makes $300 million in a year. When this is all future entrepreneurs read, they start to think that the only way to start a business is to find a million dollar app, build it, and throw it on the app store.
But here’s the real truth behind getting rich quick.
The people that I’ve seen “get rich quick” actually took a lot of time to do it. They got the right education and the right experience. This usually takes years and decades instead of weeks and months. Then, when they’ve learned what they need to know, usually by failing a lot, and they’re in the right place from all of that experience, they find an opportunity and they take advantage.
So while it looks like they may have got rich quick, in reality, they were earning those riches in the years before opportunity came knocking.
A lot of people dream about starting a small business with the idea that it’s going to bring in the giant safe full of money with the diving board. While this can sometimes be the case, honestly, the average salary for entrepreneurs is right around $65,000 (according to indeed.com), which I think most people wouldn’t qualify as being rich.
So why start a small business then? If you’re not likely to get rich doing it, why deal with all of the risk and stress?
First, pride. There’s a special sort of pride that comes from owning your own business. When you own your own business, the buck stops with you. Your employees and your customers look to you to make the right decisions for their interests.
Second, accomplishment. There’s something about building a company with your own two hands from the ground up that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Every win at work feels personal and drives you to the next success.
Third, passion. Most successful businesses started with someone who passionately believed in an idea. There was something about the business plan that drove them, whether it be a hobby, a change they wanted to see, or just the entrepreneurial itch. Whatever your business idea is, you have to be passionate about it, because that’s what drives you through the hard times and the setbacks. If you spend your entire life working on something you’re not passionate about, you’re going to get to the end of your life and look back with regret.
If you dream of becoming an entrepreneur, start building your skills now. Start networking, start inventing and start preparing today for that future moment when opportunity knocks.
Entrepreneurship is a journey with a lot of ups and downs. You’re going to be ecstatic one day, and crushed the next. The important thing is to just hang in there, work your hardest, and enjoy the ride.