Be Entrepreneurial (even if you never start a business)
- by: Hank Berkowitz
- May 8, 2018
With graduation season upon us, the latest crop of smart, ambitious and hopeful young adults will officially enter the world of adulthood. For most, that will mean entering the workforce immediately or perhaps after one last overseas trip.
Today’s kids have more pressure on them than any previous generation to show ROI on their monstrous tuition bills and/or student loans. These young people aren’t stupid (or lazy). Sure, they want to put their hard-earned knowledge to good use, but they know they’ll be changing jobs every year or two for the early part of their careers. They know they’ll have to jump ship often in order to get a significant increase in pay and responsibility. They know they’ll have to reinvent themselves continuously so they don’t get “disrupted.” There’s no ladder for this generation to climb except the one that they build for themselves. They’ll have to go out and find their own mentors, too.
Many universities and most business schools offer courses like “Principles of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” It’s debatable whether or not you can really teach entrepreneurship, but you can certainly make natural entrepreneurs better at their craft. It’s also helpful for all of tomorrow’s future leaders to learn how to become more entrepreneurial.
Our client Anthony Glomski, founder of LA-based AG Asset Advisory told me recently that “Entrepreneurs figure things out. Problems are puzzles they solve. This requires actually ‘doing’ and lots of self-study like podcasts, reading, TED Talks, etc. This is the stuff that matters,” added Glomski, author of the new book: Liquidity & You: A Personal Guide for Tech and Business Entrepreneurs Approaching an Exit.
Our Take: You don’t have to be in a California garage working on the next billion dollar startup to benefit from Glomski’s advice.
Another of our clients, Blake Christian, CPA of Long Beach, CA-based HCVT, said that regardless of your major and career, “always keep your eyes open for other business and investment opportunities that you may be able to handle in your off hours. Most passions can be turned into profitable business ventures,” added Christian, author of the new book, The Benefits of Becoming a CPA-Preneur .
Our client Kyle Walters, founder of Dallas-based Atlas Wealth Advisors and a partner of L&H CPAs told me, “Most people think success is about being right and not failing. With entrepreneurship, you need to be ready to fail a lot because it’s the only way you are going to grow. I’m not talking about catastrophic failures in which your business shuts down. You need to be ready for things NOT to work and you need to keep going. It’s going to happen a lot, added Walters, author of the forthcoming book The Personal CFO.
Can entrepreneurship be taught?
According to Glomski, “Some people are born with entrepreneurial DNA, but I believe it is a learnable skill set. In writing my book and in my existing capacity I’m fortunate to be around some incredibly successful entrepreneurs. There are some commonalities amongst all of them—most are voracious readers and lifelong learners. More than half seem to have read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.”
Glomski said he began his career on typical Big Four corporate path at age 22 and was miserable by age 22-1/2. “One day I was assigned to go review the financials of the Stone Foundation. I assumed they sold rocks or something. It turned out to be about a completely self-made guy who had amassed an enormous net worth and founded a Fortune 500 Company. I went to our administrative assistant and asked her, ‘how did he do this?’ She replied: ‘He wrote a book about it…Take a copy.’
I read the book and it forever altered my life and who I work for (entrepreneurs). The book was Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude. It was authored by W Clement Stone and Napoleon Hill. Thirty days later I quit the firm and never looked back. So if I could offer one piece of advice, read Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich.”
According to Christian, today’s students graduate with a more entrepreneurial outlook than prior generations because they know their first job will be a short layover on their career flight—not their ultimate destination. “Having more open-mindedness and flexibility to risk job changes is healthy overall, but must be balanced with dedication to the job you are currently doing,” said Christian. “Geographic flexibility, including foreign assignments, also allows for a stronger resume and life experiences,” he added.
Are younger people more reluctant to fail?
“I don’t know if it’s one generation versus another,” noted Walters, “but there’s definitely more pressure than ever on people entering professional careers NOT to make mistakes–not having a dreaded ‘ding’ on your record. That’s completely the opposite of entrepreneurship where you are figuring things out all on your own. Mistakes are all part of the learning curve. If you have family and peers who have all built a narrative around you based on success, then the self-imposed pressure to be perfect can be higher.”
Many of the experts we consulted for this post stressed the importance of reading and lifelong learning. HCVT’s Christian said writing skills and math skills “continue to be deficient” in the young people he comes across. “I strongly suggest that every college student take bookkeeping (QuickBooks) class and a business writing course in order to be more ready for the real world.”
According to Walters, very little of being an entrepreneur is about success or being perfect. “The person who can fail forward over and over and over again is the one who’s going to win. You need to be ready to ‘fail successfully’ and not let it discourage you and realize it’s all part of the process to growth, observed Walters.
Most of you on this distribution list have been entrepreneurs at one point or another in life. Michelle Galligan, Managing Director of Columbus, Ohio-based accounting and consulting company, ViaVero, said that being an entrepreneur is an integration of work and life. “When you really love what you do every day, it makes it so much easier to put in all the time and effort that it takes to run a business. I don’t dread Mondays and I don’t count the days and minutes until the weekend.”
Our Take: If you can make a living with Galligan’s outlook on work and life, you are well on your way to success.
*** Take our Insta-Poll and see how you stack up to your peers.
TAGS: Anthony Glomski, Liquidity & You, Blake Christian, The Benefits of Becoming a CPA Preneur, Kyle Walters, The Personal CFO, Michelle Galligan, ViaVero