The Entrepreneurial “Leap Of Death”

That’s author Adam Grant above, but the title for this post came from Derek Halpern of Social Triggers.  It’s Halpern’s phrase for those entrepreneurs who go “all in” by quitting their jobs when they start their own business.  The myth is that this is the best way to entrepreneurial success.

As Halpern says, it’s also a huge myth.  Adam Grant proved that it’s a myth in his book, Originals.

Going all in sounds so courageous and it has some attraction to entrepreneurial types – go for broke, give it your all, put everything on the line…

… and some do make it big.  But many more fail.  For every success story, there are probably nine failures.  I’m basing that on the failure rate of internet businesses.  While focus is very important for success, putting everything on the line can also cause stress in a number of different areas – in your business, at home, and with friends – and you personally can suffer immeasurably.

In his book, Originals, Wharton School professor Adam Grant reports on a study of 5,000 American entrepreneurs.  These entrepreneurs were tracked from 1994 to 2008. The finding of the study was that those who kept their regular jobs had a 33% less failure rate than those who quit their previous work.

From their study, we have to conclude that it is better to create your business as a source of additional income and allow it to grow into a full-time job before making the leap out of whatever is supporting you financially right now.  Handling the transition this way lowers your risk of failure, increases your chances for success, and also gives you a continuing stream of income that will lower your stress throughout the process.

Let’s dig into more of what Grant has to say in Originals.

        1. Originals who succeed try a lot, fail a lot, and succeed a lot.  It’s not that successful entrepreneurs are smarter or that they have better ideas than others.  It is that they are persistent, they keep at it, and they don’t stop until they’re successful.  In fact, they generally don’t stop when they’re successful either.
        2. Originals generate a lot of ideas.  By the sheer number of all their ideas, every once in a while, a great idea pops out and the rest is history.  Best ideas come out of the pool of most ideas.
        3. The First Mover advantage is a myth.  There is no advantage to being first; it’s actually a disadvantage.  The failure rate for First Movers is 47%.  The failure rate for Second Movers is 8%.

      An example of this is Google.  Before Google, there was Ask Jeeves, Lychos, AltaVista, and Yahoo.  Another example is Facebook.  Before Facebook, there was Friendster and MySpace.  Don’t be afraid to build a better mouse trap.  Be cautious if your business idea is something completely original.

      4. Originals are pretty ordinary people with an extraordinary work ethic.  So, work hard, don’t be afraid to try new things, spill out plenty of ideas, and be extremely persistent.

    1. I welcome your comments and questions, your likes and shares.

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