For some reason I increasingly see a lot of young people coming up to me and talking to me about their business ideas and how they want to take the leap and try doing something of their own.
Yet, they always somehow get discouraged by others with all sorts of excuses.
So I have finally decided to write this to clear the air of many of my readers so you all don't get discouraged ok.
A true entrepreneur does not get discouraged by what anyone says about him as long as he knows he's doing the right thing.
The Top 5 Excuses People Will Use To Put You Down as an Entrepreneur
"Cannot wan lar your idea will never work!".
This is the very most basic excuse that you will face and if you feel discouraged after people put you down using that line, then maybe you don't believe in your idea as much as you need to and you should think of something else.
"You don't know anything about running a business".
And you will NEVER know... unless you RUN one yourself.
Before a baby learns to walk, she watches other people around her walk but she never really really learns to do it until he/she tries. Very often she will stumble first before she walks, but that's just the way nature made us to be.
If I were to list all the billionaires today who jumped straight into business without working a day in their lives... I would start with Richard Branson of Virgin, Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, Philip Green of Topman, Sergey Brin Larry Page of Google, Jerry Yang of Yahoo, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and the list goes on and on.
If I were to list all the billionaires today that DIDN'T jump straight into business and worked a few years from now... the list ALSO goes on and on and on...
Point is... whatever path you take, all that matters is what you do and not what you did.
"Business is all about contacts and it's not like you know anyone in the industry."
Yes business is about contacts... whether it's ALL about contacts or not I can't say but I do know contacts play an important part.
That doesn't mean you can't go head in without any contacts. You make your own contacts.
When Ming and I started Nuffnang, neither one of us knew anyone in the advertising industry. Cold calling and begging for meetings was how we got any of our first ads but eventually after much persistence and some luck, our clients welcomed us through the door and today we run campaigns for Maxis, DiGi, Honda, Nokia, Nestle, Uniliver, HUGO, Air Asia... you name it.
"You no money how to do business?"
Venture capitalists... there are so many around and so many who are willing to put money with you as long as they believe in you.
Notice I said BELIEVE IN YOU (NOT believe in your idea).
When you pitch to VCs, sure they'll like to see how your idea plans to generate revenue but there's only so much homework they can do. The rest of the weighting on their decisions are based on the entrepreneur... and that's YOU.
If they believe in your idea but don't believe in you... they won't invest in you (Trust me, I know many many VCs).
But if they do invest in you, they will sometimes even allow you to draw an allowance from the company so you can still run your own business and live with a salary.
"For every one Google and Microsoft you have 100,000,000 failures.. what makes you think you can make it?"
That's right. That line is true. Very very true.
For every one success story there are a thousand or more other failures. What people forget to see however is that its the way everything else in life works.
For every one General Manager at Citibank there is at any point in time another 1,000 people who tried to get to that position at one point in their lives but failed.
For every one student studying Law at UCL, there are another 150 that tried to get that same spot but failed.
For every one employee at Maybank, there are another 100 who interviewed for that job but failed to get in.
So what's the difference?
Whatever you do in life, you are still going to be faced with the same challenge that obviously not everyone is going to make it where you want to go, short of you going to live in a Communist country.
So if you want to be an entrepreneur... NEVER let anyone put you down.
At the end of the day, whatever opinion anyone gives you is only as good as who that person is.
If a lowlife or nobody tells you that you suck or says that you're a failure, you won't take it seriously right?
But if Lee Kuan Yew says that you suck.. you'll believe ever word of it.
Hence, I have sought advice from a lot of very successful entrepreneurs in Malaysia, some of them among the richest men in Malaysia today... and when I ask them about going to be an entrepreneur, none of them ever once discouraged me.
The only ones that ever discouraged me are the ones that never tried.
You should never be discouraged yourself!