Do you really want to be an entrepreneur?

I sometimes get phone calls or emails from people asking me for advice about whether they should set up their own business or not. For me the first question is always “Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?”. If people are not intrinsically motivated to build a new product/service/company, they will fail. Always. (well, except for a very few very lucky ones – don’t count on being among them). Then I tell them about the risks involved, that they should keep in mind that most companies won’t survive, that the business will be in their minds 24/7, and that it will be a long emotional roller coaster.

But from now on I don’t have to tell them most of this anymore, because I can send them a link. Marc Andreesen (among others co-founder of Netscape) wrote an excellent blog post today about why NOT to set up your own business. If you read his article and still want to do it, you might be a real entrepreneur. If not, consider staying in your current job and accept that not everybody is fit for this.

Marc’s story is only about Silicon Valley. If you want to do it in China things are even more of a challenge. Regulations can change overnight, permits are very difficult to get, the non-convertible RMB will cause you serious headaches… You name it, think of the worst possible scenario before you set out on your own, because this scenario might happen to you.

But, if you are confident and ambitious and realize you might fail, I think it is still better to be in charge of your own company and ideas, than to work in a 9-to-5 job for a boss.

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  1. Good essay by Paul Graham on why to not not to start a startup.