- By Luke Fitzpatrick
- Posted May 6, 2016
The Long Hard Road to Becoming an Entrepreneur
By Luke Fitzpatrick
One thing that nobody tells you - being an entrepreneur is really hard. There are no rules - only the rules that you chose to live by. The best advice I can give you – “Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. One day, you will start to think and act like them.”
The long road to becoming an entrepreneur is tough, and fought with countless obstacles.
I have even done some unimaginable things like going homeless for a night. Not because I was ‘homeless,’ but to experience what countless others experience each and every day. When you an entrepreneur, you have to be aware of the risks and what is at stake.
Over the years, my journey has taken me to some interesting places. I’ve saved a company millions of dollars by introducing technology that reduced process inefficiencies, made national sales records, launched several companies, write for tech newspapers, have guest lectured at colleges, met with dozens of influential people around-the-world and have consulted with countless startups.
At the end of the day, what do I have to show for this? Not much really. I have gained incredible knowledge that allows me to accomplish almost anything. But at the end of the day - my net worth is based on how much my companies are worth, and how I invest and save my money.
I’d like to share some valuable lessons that I have learnt from my experiences. Rarely, do I talk about my personal experiences openly, and it is a pleasure to be first sharing these on WealthNation. Here’s what I’ve learnt:
Difficult Times Do & Will Come
My wife’s father went through a difficult time in his life. He had a business deal that went bad. He did the work; their client didn’t pay the amount owed (in excess of 500K). He lost his house, his business – everything.
We sold our car, and gave away all of our savings to help him. In total, we gave away over 30K. This completely wiped out our savings. All of a sudden - we went back to ground zero - or what I like to call ‘financial hell.’
The moral of the story is, difficult times do and will come. The only way you can adequately prepare is by saving and managing your money wisely.
And whilst saving money is probably the most important habit you can form, it’s often far easier said than done. ‘I’ll start next week’, I don’t earn enough’ ‘it’s too hard to stay disciplined’ - all seemingly valid reasons to put it off. But ask yourself this - when the hard times come, will you be ready?
Money is Just Money
Even though I lost all of my savings, money is still just money. If you have any amount of entrepreneur DNA, you will understand this.
Money can be lost and you can make it back. Love him or loathe him, Donald Trump is a great example of this. He lost it all, went bankrupt, and made gazillions more. One very important thing to remember here - not everyone is able to do this.
When I was growing up in my teens, I witnessed my uncle raise a $1M investment from Rupert Murdoch – and, I also saw him lose it all. Over the last 20 years, he has gone from broke to millionaire several times, a constant repetition of this cycle. One thing I can share from witnessing this first-hand, my uncle is a genius when it comes to creating a business – and he is terrible at managing his money.
As an entrepreneur, a college student, an employee or a world leader - you can let the world control you; or you can control the world. This theory holds true for money. Money can control you or you can choose to control it.
The Smart Entrepreneur
A smart entrepreneur knows how to gain access to capital and the importance of creating a second source of income.
Making the move from corporate to entrepreneur can be both the hardest thing you will ever do – and at the same time, the most rewarding.
Key to this is - if you do want to start a business in the near future, you will need capital to do this. This will take the form of your own personal savings, and quite often attracting an angel investment or VC money.
I’ll share a powerful secret with you. Create a second source of income. It helps you to make this transition easier and your life will be that much better off for it.
Out of all things that I have done, and all of the things that I will achieve in the future – this is by far the smartest financial move I have ever made, creating a second source of income with ghacklabs.
Ghacklabs is a startup consultation service that let’s you ask a question, and get valuable help for just a dollar. This has given me financial freedom. The ability to save and if so be it – create new businesses.
In the future, I plan to turn ghacklabs into the number one place startups go to get help (consultation, college brand ambassadors, get press – plus a lot more).
From having countless discussions with fellow entrepreneurs – I have seen one trend that remains to be consistent: “A great control of and respect for money.” They don’t let money control them - they control it.
Entrepreneurs create different sources of income, save a portion of this, and use the remaining amount to create new businesses or new revenue streams, which in turn, creates more money. They get richer because they are in control.
They have learnt how to save money and use it wisely. This allows these successful entrepreneurs ‘to do more of the things in life that make them happy.’ You can too. You just have to start.
I leave you with this “save, create, enjoy.” Make a change. Don’t get stuck in financial hell like I was.
Luke Fitzpatrick - a.k.a The $1 startup guy, founder of ghacklabs and guest lecturer at Sydney University (Entrepreneurship).
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