The Truth About Entrepreneurship Porn

Aren’t you drawn to the startup life by entrepreneurship porn?

Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? You are lured by the perfect picture of entrepreneurial life? Do you love the title entrepreneur? Come on, there’s a ring to the title? You love freedom and living on your own terms? Are you aware that it could be dangerous?

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What’s entrepreneurship porn?

Morra Aarons-Mele, the founder of Women Online and The Mission List, fingered to have coined the term entrepreneurship porn in a 2014 Harvard Business Review described it as “an airbrushed reality in which all work is always meaningful and running your own business is a way to achieve better work/life harmony.”

Entrepreneurship porn is as a result of the media and online coverage of an idealised lifestyle for entrepreneurs. The entire journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur will not be exhausted in a book let alone an hour talk show. To get you to consume these media contents, the media build some sort of fantasy around the life of entrepreneurs. This fantasy life is regarded as entrepreneurship porn.

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Just like porn, the idea of what it means to be an entrepreneur lures you or leads you on to aspire to entrepreneurship. Besides, it’s cool to introduce yourself as an entrepreneur.

Again I ask, why do you want to be an entrepreneur?

Statistics have it that about 80% of new businesses last longer than a year, about half of businesses make it past the first five years, and only about one-third make it past 10 years. This hasn’t changed since 1995.
Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates, etc made it after 1995. And a few other billionaires and successful people did. But if the statistics are anything to go by, then the chances of being a Zuckerberg is slim. Yet we are in an era where only a few are open to doing 9 to 5 jobs. Worse off, these chaps jump in without adequate preparations. Thanks to entrepreneurship porn.

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While entrepreneurship porn paints beautiful pictures of the startup life, it glosses over the dangers involved. So before you embark on that entrepreneurial journey you should know that:

1. Entrepreneurship isn’t about diving in: I know you have read the beautiful stories of your role model entrepreneurs. You have read about how Zuckerberg, Gates and a few other entrepreneurs dropped out of university to pursue their career. But that’s not the whole story. I am pretty sure you have heard that failing is part of being an entrepreneur. You definitely have heard all the gist about learning from your failures and failing forward. But it’s not always the entire story. Entrepreneurship involves lots of risk taking. But the risks are always calculated. Before you dive in, just remember that a University of Wisconsin study found that entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs were 33% less likely to fail than those who don’t. An MIT study found the average age of a successful startup founder is 45.

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2. Passion can be your biggest problem: Follow your passion you hear every day. The media makes it look like passion is all you need to succeed. Some entrepreneurs believe that all that is needed to succeed is a good idea and a market for the idea. What happens to people? If you are going to be an entrepreneur you will work with people. It doesn’t matter if you bootstrap, you need people and getting the right people is hardly ever possible. It is a big risk to assume that having your best friend as a co-founder means that everything will be well. Passion can actually make you kick off earlier than you should have. Starting before you are prepared is a red flag. And you can create a product that people do not need because you are passionate about. Tame your passion.

Before you begin your journey as an entrepreneur, remind yourself that everyone won’t be a Zuckerberg, Gates, Bezos and the billionaires churned out with the existence of the Internet. One can only run a successful business with adequate preparation. There’s not always a magical idea to be stumbled on. Be sure you are not lured by entrepreneurship porn as the journey isn’t always as smooth. In the words of Jen Rubio, co-founder of Away, “Be really specific about why you’re doing it and what problems you’ll be able to solve in a meaningful way for your customers; don’t start a business just because you think you have a great idea.”

Victor Ugoo Njoku

I am human. I love life. I learn as much as I can every day and share the knowledge on my blog.

2 thoughts to “The Truth About Entrepreneurship Porn”

  1. Entrepreneurship porn…lol. tbh, I totally agree with you. Entrepreneurship requires massive growth mentally and intellectually that a lot of 9-5ers aren’t ready to devote their energy for.

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