A couple of days ago I published a blog entry about my reasons for become an entrepreneur. I poured out my heart about the my founder journey, going for brutally honest over stylized, and focusing on the message. I didn't think anyone beyond a close circle of friends would chime in, but 48 hours, over 500 reads, and a handful of personal messages later, I felt compelled to share this advice. Here goes!
Being a business developer and an active member of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of a big city gives you a lot of exposure. Not only that, but you get to meet all sorts of people: crazy solopreneurs, big business mavens, tech gurus, investors with shitloads of money, government people and all walks of life.
I always ask them what their story is because I believe that everybody’s got a story to tell. In return, I sometimes get asked about myself. The more people I talk to, the more I get the following question: why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
False myth: Most entrepreneurs want to be their own bosses. Wrong. I never wanted to be my own boss. I always wanted to work at Google.
But it wasn’t until I read this article by Dustin Moskovitz, where he listed good and bad reasons to be an entrepreneur, that I found my inspiration.
A little bit of background
After completing my degree in Computer Science and getting my first professional experience in Munich, Germany, I moved back to my hometown: Barcelona. I decided to work as a developer, but back in 2009 there weren’t many options besides the obvious “you need to endure 5 years in consulting and then you’ll be ready for something else”.
Even if I often state that I started too late my own business, the truth is I am very grateful for the time spent at the two companies I worked for: Deloitte and VASS. In almost five years in consultancies, I learnt both how to do things right, and how to do things wrong.
But most of all, I learnt the reasons why I wanted to set up my own business - and why you should, too.
1. To set your own limits
It might be a thing of my generation. But most of my friends and acquaintances were brought up by overprotective parenting methods. “If you do this, you’ll get hurt”, “if you pick up things from the floor you’ll get bacteria”, “eating this is bad for your brain”…
We were probably one of the first generations that could counter these established dogmas with facts & research. We first had CDs with encyclopaedias (Encarta) and then the Internet came along — but with that, I am not implying that everything on the Internet is true, I am just saying that we’ve got more sources than ever to contrast opinions and biased information.
That applies to the professional world as well. I coded my first lines at age 8 — a calculator — and coded more or less frequently throughout middle- and high-school. I coded at home for fun, and I coded to help other people with their projects.
But when I landed my first position at Deloitte, I was pigeonholed as Junior Programmer. In my first week, I was already correcting & refactoring the code written by the technical analysts in my project.
Luckily enough, in my second company, VASS, they were more flexible. Even if they also had the career plan, I was able to climb up faster than at the giant Deloitte. Not because I was more talented, intelligent or skilled than the rest, but simply because I was driven and motivated. That gave me a real boost of confidence in myself, but it also taught me that I didn’t want to belong to this business.
You have probably heard the famous “no one gets fired for buying IBM”. Well, no one delegates important stuff on non-managing roles in such companies. Therefore, if I wanted to learn about managing, I had to look elsewhere.
Over and over again I regarded myself to be more capable, competent and motivated than the people above me — even if I was really wrong about that. But I was motivated. I could do higher level stuff and I was ready to do it.
I believe that if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. So I decided to quit my job and test my hypotheses.
Two years after that, running a successful business like MarsBased, I still keep pushing my limits to higher grounds. I have not regretted it a single second ever since.
2. To get out of the comfort zone
Another well-established myth is that everyone can be an entrepreneur.
In my opinion, this is plainly wrong. Some people want to live in their comfort zones, and that is perfectly OK.
Some people like to be led, some people want to lead. Some people want to work for other people while others want employees to work for them. Some people see their job as a chore while others see it as their passion. There’s room for everyone.
However, being an entrepreneur is tough, and I do not recommend it to everyone.
There’s a saying that goes “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t."
This means: you will burn out, run out of money, lose friends, lose hair if you’re a man, work too much, sleep too little and other caveats. But all beginnings are hard, and very few people like to risk in order to achieve a better status in life.
Investors take risks in their wealth to reach a higher financial status later in life. Entrepreneurs do it with their lifestyle.
If you’re not ready to invest in your life, you can’t be an entrepreneur.
3. To enhance your superpowers
I believe everyone builds their own projects in order to enhance their abilities. Good designers will freelance or start up a design studio. Good singers will join a band. Good coders will create tutorials or bootcamps, besides their steady jobs — just to name a few.
One of the reasons I created MarsBased is to make things happen. As a consultant, I understand my clients & partners needs and turn them into reality. I am good at discovering needs & satisfying them to the benefit of those I work with and myself. As I work, I'm constantly improving my superpowers.
I also reckon my partners to be the best in their fields. Xavi, our CTO, is the person I’d trust all my technological projects to, while Jordi, our COO, is an extremely efficient strategist to drive a company to success. In this way, I build my Justice League.
Finally, as a company we want to give back to the community that helped us when we started. Not only did we develop the Barcelona Startup Map and empower Startup Grind in Barcelona, but last week we launched an open community for startups and entrepreneurs in Barcelona using Slack. If entrepreneurs are really to to be superheroes, our biggest service will always be to our community.
Now, what are your reasons to become an entrepreneur?