I have a startling confession to make: For most of my life, I have been a wantrepreneur.
The Urban Dictionary’s top definition of a wantrepreneur is: “Someone who thinks about being an entrepreneur or starting a business but never gets started.” But, I think the guys over at AppSumo, who coined the term, say it best on Google:
“Definition of “Wantrepreneur” -Someone who “is gonna” start a business. -Someone who “will find the right idea some day!” -Someone who wants to “act” like an entrepreneur. Someone who “thinks about starting a business” all the time.”
I was the poster boy for the wantrepreneurial crisis. Thankfully I’ve changed for the better. I don’t have awesome traffic numbers and conversion percentages to regale you with. I haven’t made a million dollars yet or achieved a top ranking on Alexa.
What I have done is made the leap from someone who wishes to someone who does.
The Short Version of My Life as a Wantrepreneur
I’ve wanted my own business ever since I was a child. I remember playing with my cousins and always being the successful “business guy”. My father had several businesses while I was growing up as well, so I guess some of his motivation rubbed off on me also.
Over the years, I dabbled with this and that. I read all the “Start Your Own Business” magazines and wrote in my journals about all the ideas my brain would constantly come up with.
But, nothing ever materialized and my career life consisted of what most people get pigeon-holed into: an existence of trading valuable time for money in the corporate world. I was miserable most of the time, working for someone else, because I always felt I was destined for something greater.
I also got progressively sicker and sicker, which I won’t talk about too much because I won’t allow myself to use it as an excuse for my life of inaction. The blame for not living my dreams is completely my own. I wished and never did, I planned but never acted.
The fault was not an illness or some other challenge, it was an emotion of my own making.
It was fear.
How Fear Robs a Person of the Life They Want
Fear is one of the strongest emotions a human being experiences. Fear triggers a “fight or flight” response and sadly most people choose flight.
The fear that most people feel is not just fear of failure. Granted failure is what most people are most nervous about:
- What if I take a chance and I am not a success?
- What if my friends and family don’t believe in me, or worse, laugh at me?
- What if I do everything right and still lose everything?
Failure is a scary proposition. People are condition to avoid looking like an idiot at all costs.
The other fear that is not talked about as much is fear of success. If you are at all an introvert like me, the thought of being in the spotlight is frightening. There is all the things that come along with success to be afraid of also:
- What if I get so busy I can’t handle it?
- What if I succeed, only to find out I hate what I am doing?
Invariably, there is always one situation that scares us the most. The fear of success and failure:
- What if I get really successful, only to fail in the end?
I was afraid of everything, but still held on to the idea that I was destined for greatness. I went through phases where I would come up with an idea, make a plan, take a few steps to get started then inexplicably quit when fear got the best of me.
So what has changed now?
For Me, Success is Measured in Small Victories
Even though I am 47, I think I realized before it was too late that my thinking had to be changed. I couldn’t keep thinking in terms of “all or nothing”.
Like I said, in terms of what most people call success, I haven’t gotten there yet. My business is still young and I am in the learning phase. But, I feel like a success because I finally broke down the entrepreneurial process into small steps, and each milestone along the journey is a win for me.
No, I haven’t completed all my goals yet, but I have finished enough of them that every day I walk with my head held high.
I am a success!
6 Steps to Stop Being a Wantrepreneur
I’ve analyzed my successes up until this point and broken them down so you too can break the pattern of inaction and get on the road to being a thriving entrepreneur. I won’t tell you it’s an easy process, but it is very rewarding and something to be proud of.
1. Entertain Ideas, but TAKE ACTION! Ideas are great in the beginning, but eventually you have to take action. At first it can be as simple as taking a course or picking a niche. As long as every day you are taking measurable action towards your main goal, you are being effective.
2. Break the Process Down in to Small, Easy to Accomplish Steps. Don’t get in the “all or nothing” mindset and think you have to finish everything in a few days or weeks. Have some patience and break your main goal into daily steps you can measure. Ensure that every day you are reaching your goals and soon you will find you have accomplished a great deal. This was the most important part of how I went from feeling like a failure to walking on “Cloud Nine”.
3. Set Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Goals. It’s easy to set goals when you have broken the process down into small steps. I will say that setting goals is not for everyone. Many people will tell you that setting goals is a waste of time, but for someone like me who was a wantrepreneur for life, defining my steps as small goals was the key to getting where I am now. If you struggle with inaction, take some time to set goals and make sure you reach them. It’s a great feeling to consistently reach your goals on a daily basis.
4. Don’t Over-Think It! The mark of a true wantrepreneur is to over-think and agonize over each step. There comes a time when you have to stop ruminating and start taking chances. Read stories of successful entrepreneurs and you will find at some point they took chances, and for all it was the key to their success.
5. Celebrate Milestones. When you have reached a goal, celebrate your achievement. I have small celebrations each day because I consistently strive and reach my goals. Pat yourself on the back or go buy an ice cream. It doesn’t have to be a huge party every time. Not only will you be more willing to reach your next goal but your self-esteem will improve dramatically.
6. Never, Ever Quit. Becoming a success will take time. The majority of successful people didn’t get that way overnight. They pressed on through adversity and when they hit a wall, they regrouped and pressed on again. Know that if you quit today, tomorrow was the day you would have succeeded.
The End of Wantrepreneurship
Like I said, I’m not a millionaire yet, but I am succeeding every day and above all, I am happy! Celebrate the small things and enjoy the process of becoming an entrepreneur. Life is too short to do something you hate, so strive to only do things that excite you and make you smile.
My hopes for you, my fellow “former” wantrepreneur, are very high.
Get out there and take action!
Jason Weiland is a freelance writer, blogger and internet entrepreneur. His main area of focus is writing about entrepreneurship and internet marketing. You can find out more information about him on his website/blog at JasonJamesWeiland.com.