Enough! You’re Not A Fucking Entrepreneur | A Sales Guy's Sales Blog Copy & Close
February 18, 2016 Keenan

Enough! You’re Not A Fucking Entrepreneur

I’ve gotta get this shit of my chest.

I fuckin’ love all the opportunity that is out there today. It has NEVER been a better time to start a business, to go out on your own, to pave your own path.  Never!

But to the majority of you running around calling yourself an entrepreneur, while you have a full-time job, collecting a paycheck from someone else, stop! You’re not.

Anyone can start a business in seconds. They can throw up a website. They can create a Twitter account. They can open up an eBay store. The can sell shit on Etsy. Anyone can call themselves an expert, a thought leader, a kingpin or a badass and start selling something.

But just because you have business cards, or slick website, or 1,00,000 Twitter followers, a million Periscope fans, or a savage Instagram account, it doesn’t make you an entrepreneur.

You’re an entrepreneur when your company is your job. When the only way you feed your family is when your company says you can. You’re an entrepreneur when the only time you go on vacation, is when your company says you can. You’re an entrepreneur when the only time you buy a new car, a new couch, a new house, go to a badass, kickass, dry aged steak dinner with a ’75 Chateau Lafite Rothschild is when YOUR COMPANY says you can.

Then and only then are you an entrepreneur.

In today’s world, everyone has a side gig. It’s easy to sell something to someone today. It’s easy to make money. The Internet has virtually removed all barriers to starting a business and it’s fucking awesome.

But the truth is just ’cause you can make a few hundred or even a few thousand bucks a month selling something, it doesn’t make you an entrepreneur — it’s a hobby.

An entrepreneur is in full tilt. An entrepreneur has bet everything on their company. They are all in. There is no safety net of a full-time job. If you have a full-time job, you’re not all in.  You’re not 100% committed to the business.  It’s a hobby or your dabbling.

Until you’ve felt the fear of missing your mortgage, you’re not an entrepreneur.  Until you’ve walked to the mailbox 4 times a day desperate for a check to come or you miss payroll, you’re not an entrepreneur. Until you’ve not been able to go grocery shopping, buy a new shirt, or had to skip a haircut, cause you couldn’t afford to spend the money, you’re not an entrepreneur.  Until you’ve woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat terrified your biggest client is about to switch, you’re not an entrepreneur. If you go to work every day for someone else and collect a paycheck. You’re not an entrepreneur.

With this said, there are two types of entrepreneurs, successful ones, and failures. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough, but being a successful one, that’s an entirely different discussion.

Guess who gets to decide if you’re a successful entrepreneur or not?  The market – not you! And this is why 99% of most people are not entrepreneurs or are failed entrepreneurs and don’t quit their real job. It’s fuckin’ hard.

When you’re at home working on your business, in between and after your full-time job, that’s the market telling you that your business doesn’t offer enough value to enough people. It’s the market saying to you,  hey not enough people (buyers) give a shit about your product, your service, your whatever so don’t quit your full-time job. That’s a real voice you need to listen to. If your offering provided enough value, and enough people knew about it, you wouldn’t have to work for the man. But, you do, because it doesn’t and you’ve yet to change that.

The market crowns successful entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs don’t crown themselves.

Now before you go get your panties in a wad, I’m not saying those that are successful didn’t do it themselves. You bet your ass they did, but what they did was get the market to see the value in what they had to offer in a manner that got us to spend tons of money. And they didn’t do that working on it “part-time.”

You can’t win over a market workin’ for someone else and doing your thing on the “side.” You just can’t, eventually you have to jump in, all in,  or it’s just a hobby.

Now that I’ve got most of you all worked up because I called your part-time hustle a hobby, take a deep fuckin’ breath.

You’re a good person. You hustle. You’ve got grit. You grind it out. You are worthy . . . you’re just not an entrepreneur.

You’re an entrebetweener (entre-between-er): Someone who has started a business but still works for someone else full-time collecting a paycheck.

If you’re an entrebetweener be proud, but have a goal, have a launching point, know when you are going to jump and commit your entire being to your business. In many ways, that should be more important than actually running the business. ‘Cause if you don’t pick a date, a moment, a milestone to go all in, you never will.

Reasons NOT to take risks are a lot easier to come buy than to take them

Not Taught, Chapter 5 Have the Balls to Make it Happen

To all those huslin’, grinding, passionate, entrebetweeners I salute you. But please, stop calling yourself an entrepreneur — ’cause you’re not!

  • ellenbristol

    Yay for saying it like it is! An entrepreneur counselled me when I was launching my business (21 years in business last month with no other sources of income). He said “when you’re an entrepreneur, you are willing to lose your house. But hey, once you’ve lost your house a few times, it doesn’t bother you as much.” In my case, the deep understanding hit when we ran out of clients and income simultaneously – for the first time. I spent about 20 minutes panicking and thinking about revising my resume until I realized, ugh, I was gonna puke if I had to interview and go to work for someone else. So I got on the stick and sold the hell out of the week until whadya know – the next group of clients came in. It’s hard work and it’s scary to run a business; you’re operating without a net. But if you don’t relish that, if you’re not willing to let go and jump off the cliff, you don’t get the deep satisfaction and thrill that’s possible with real entrepreneurship.

  • James P

    Sounds like a slave

  • Barbara Giamanco

    Rant on, Keenan! Absolutely love this post. If anyone reading this is upset because they think their hobby means they are an entrepreneur, even though we know they are not, so be it. The truth hurts. If you work for someone else and collect a paycheck, you are not all in. You are not an entrepreneur. I have no other sources of income. My business is it. I’ve felt and lived the fears you mentioned. There are days when it isn’t easy to be on your own, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Until you are willing to live without the safety net of a corporate job, you are NOT an entrepreneur. Deal with it.

  • feargallkenny

    Interesting rant. I personally don’t care if people call themselves and entrepreneur and admire the spirit of anyone who tries something new or on the side but I think there is a lot of leeway with the term so your frustration is really with your definition of entrepreneurship. I like Ellen’s comment below where the real definition is operating without a safety net. That definition too though has a lot of leeway – if you are VC funded and you have a salary does that count? If you have a traditional business with an industry-accepted way to make money (for example I run a recruiting firm) can you call yourself an entrepreneur? I personally don’t think so but lots of others do. What if you are being funded by a wealthy family or have the luxury of being entrepreneurial because you have a hard working spouse / partner ? Also, your definition undermines a pretty important rule of entrepreneurship – never ever give up the day job until you absolutely have to!!! Milk it for as long as you can or until you get caught.

    Here’s a fun idea for the next blog though “ENOUGH! YOU’RE NOT A FUCKING ANGEL INVESTOR” ; – )
    I think that might be a bit more clear cut

  • Truer words were never spoken. Thanks, Keenan!

  • Nicole

    This post reminds me of something I once heard Mark Cuban say. On an episode of Shark Tank I remember him schooling some guy about his pitch by saying, “You’re not an entrepreneur, you’re a WANTREPRENEUR.” I don’t think Mark invented that phrase, but it sounded perfect coming from him. And it sounds like it fits here, too.

  • Yes, love it!!!!

  • RT709

    I know this is highly unrelated to your excellent post, but i want to address a personal gripe I have about digital products.

    Some offers are too vague in their copy, like the typical psychobabble ramblings without giving more specifics of known whitehat techniques (“oooh yes, this ebook will show you how to get more traffic using our secret triple coded blah blah system that we cannot tell you about until you buy the product, but look at our 55 minute video oc testimonies who ramble on about how the product changed their lives so much!”).

    I am very wary now of ANY product giving 100% money back guarantee!

    I much rather a product that guarantees will deliver at zero money back!!! If the product works then say so, i need no money back guarantee…just means if customers don’t like a product, most time they’ll probably just count it as a loss…a MBG technique i now believe is very old, stale and irrelevant within online business today.

    How about a product that tells me i must PROVE the information product works THEN i will get my money back?

    At least then the ownership is not on the product but is on me!!!

    Why onlinemarketers don’t have the balls to do this i will never ever understand!!!!

    Very out of touch with what customers do actually need…good proven product…100% conditional guarantee based upon my actions…upsell me coaching if i cannot do it all myself!!!

    The 100% MBG actually leaves a lot of upselling income on the table…surely the confidence of the product is matched by zero money back guarantee because it plain darn works???

    I don’t even care if refund rates are low on MBG, its an old 1996-2013 copywriting technique and is very lazy!

    And buyers are not stupid today as dishonesty happens when buyers ask for refunds even if no action is taken, lie about delivery.

    I’m now looking for a list that can offer me information products with zero money back guarantee and is strong enough to say if we take no action and cannot even prove it then don’t even consider asking for a refund or credit note…simply because the author knows it works and will fully, steadfastly defend it!

  • RT709

    Oh, and I’m done with Grant Cardone, you the real deal!!!

  • Andrea Tyrones

    I realized I was an entrepreneur the day that I made payroll and I was the only one without a paycheck.

  • TheIrreverentSalesGirl

    THANK YOU! Spot on.