1

Living With Uncertainty

UncertaintyLiving with uncertainty is a fact of entrepreneurial life.

It's so emotionally brutal a fact that most people can't face it. They shy away. The job road is so much easier.

It has torn apart marriages, destroyed friendships, and hurt families.

Uncertainty is something you and those around you are going to have to get a handle on if you are going to travel this path.

Far Fewer People Than You Think Are True Entrepreneurs

Let's take a look at how many people are really taking that leap.

The number of real businesses being created every month is far fewer than you might believe.

Let's take the US. Population: about 319 million.

More businesses are shut down than started, according to Forbes. Other sources say births and deaths are about even.

At any rate, we're talking about around 500,000 people who have decided to open a new business this month.

Most of these, however, are not "employer firms," meaning they don't employ anyone and have an average annual revenue of $44,000. Enough to support one family, perhaps.

Also, a large fraction of these startups are created by people who already own one or more businesses--thereby cutting the total with entrepreneurial commitment even lower.

Historical data (p.3) says 10-12% of firms with employees open ever year, and about the same amount close every year.

So let's say over a year we have over 650,000 new businesses being created. About the same number are closing, but let's focus on the births. I couldn't find the source I'd seen before of how many startups were opened by people who already had a business, but I remember the number was close to 50%. Let's say conservatively that it's 25%.

So that leaves us with about 4.9 million true entrepreneurs who took the plunge this year, and that's being generous.

Out of a population of 320 million, that's about 1.5%.

And I believe it's less than that.

Not Many People Can Stand Living With Uncertainty

Now there is some statistical fuzziness in here, because every year new people do make the entrepreneurial leap...but so too are those who failed in a previous venture and are returning, or starting a second or third or twentieth business and would be double-counted. Estimates vary from around 8% to 13%.

This article from Entrepreneur.com explores the question of "Who is an entrepreneur?" The answer is not so easily defined as you may think.

My takeaway from this little analysis is about 1 in 10 persons in the US is comfortable with the idea of being self-employed, and another 1 or 2 in 100 takes the plunge over a given year.

Meaning the vast majority of the people who say they'd like to start their own business are scared to death of the uncertainty.

Most stay employed with the "regular people", where they feel it's safe.

And who can blame them? Most businesses fail, and quickly.

The first two years are often a terrible struggle.

And most businesses fail before the end of their fourth year.

As we entrepreneurs know, however, your job can be whisked away from under your feet at any time.

There are no guarantees.

How To Be An Entrepreneur and Stand Living With Uncertainty

The fear of living with uncertainty is paralyzing.

If you are really going to take the leap and become an entrepreneur, open your own business and face the heat, be ready for the uncertainty.

Make sure, if you have a family, that they are ready for the uncertainty.

Know your budget before you begin.

How much revenue do you need to bring in every month?

What are your expenses?

Have you figured out what is absolutely necessary, and what is optional?

If you have family, are they prepared for possible cuts in the lifestyle they have now and expect to continue?

The truth is there is uncertainty in everything.

If you step outside of your home, uncertainty raises its ugly head.

As a self-employed professional, there's nowhere to hide. Nowhere to go. No one to fall back on. You simply need to get it done yourself.

And this highlights an important fact: Personal responsibility trumps uncertainty.

Have you figured out your budget?

Do you have a revenue plan?

Do you know, in detail, what you need to do and how you are going to carry it out to make that revenue?

If you do, the pressure of uncertainty will retreat. Your sense of personal responsibility will be taking control.

If you don't, and you are trying to make "as much as you can get," then you are leaving everything up to chance. Small wonder the bugbear of uncertainty is right there in your face.

The numbers are scary.

Most businesses fail in a pretty short time. Well over half. What does that say about the entrepreneurs who founded them?

They don't have a budget or revenue plan. They don't have leaders who have taken personal responsibility for results.

They've left everything up in the air.

Less than 1% of the US population knows what it takes to be successfully living with uncertainty. To make it no big deal. You can be a part of this group.

>> For help with your revenue plan, talk with Jason Kanigan. <<

Jason Kanigan

One Comment

  1. What a great post. Thank you for this. There is no doubt many people are thrown into this role because they can’t see another way to work. There are not a lot of step-by-step manuals to guide a person throughout the ups and downs that reach as high as a mountain and stoop lower than an abyss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.