Dare to Be an Entrepreneur?

One of the reasons I came to this country is because “America is a land of opportunity and a country of freedom.” It sounded so romantic. At the time, all I wanted was to be in this great country!

It must be true, in some sense, to make America a great country as it is today. One can easily think of so many examples: , although born amid racism in the South, recalled her mother once told her: “you can be anything you want to be.” And she did – chasing excellence to the White House. Our governor used to be a body-builder and movie actor (you can’t find this in other countries).

While all these stories are inspiring, I am often troubled by the questions that implicitly or explicitly came across to new entrepreneurs: “Have you done this before?” “You have never been a CEO before ….” “What P&L; responsibilities did you have in the past?” One person even told me openly (with good intention) that I should be prepared to be replaced six months after I raise the funds for my own company.

For a first-time entrepreneur, these questions can be very intimidating; and if you were not strong enough, you could even begin to doubt yourself. The most dangerous thing is that, after enough people think that way, it can be taken as a truth. I see some founders, before they even tried, were looking for “a CEO who can lead the company to the next level.”

While it’s important to examine many facets of an entrepreneur’s background – especially if he or she is raising institutional funds, the very notion that founders cannot lead their companies to success is totally fallacious. If a body-builder and movie actor can be a governor, why can’t you and I be an entrepreneur?!

I would encourage all the first-time entrepreneurs to challenge themselves to learn fast, fail fast, and grow fast – in real time with their new ventures. Condoleezza’s mother is right. There is no limitation of our true potentials, except the limitation of our own imagination!

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9 thoughts on “Dare to Be an Entrepreneur?

  1. Bonnie,

    Thanks for the comments. I understand your frustration and depression… as I have felt the exact same way. From your articles, I am certian you are an intelligent, talented and capable person, and you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. I am glad this article provided some inspiration to you. Please keep hanging in there and you will get it!!

    Cheers!

  2. Hi Helen,

    I’m finally getting around to reading your articles and I am so impressed! You are beautiful, talented and I am so in awe of the success you have achieved!

    When you left the links on your comments to my article The Great American DREAM, you mentioned they are about your experiences as an immigrant to this country. I never expected to find such well written articles on highly pertinent topics from the perspective of someone who has pushed through the barriers to realize her dreams and has become a success! I am surprised you don’t have more activity here! You are one of the true hidden talents at Gather! But I also visited your other blogs and I hope you don’t mind connected, as I will be a regular reader now!

    This topic and comment are particularly interesting to me:

    While all these stories are inspiring, I am often troubled by the questions that implicitly or explicitly came across to new entrepreneurs: “Have you done this before?” “You have never been a CEO before – .” “What P&L; responsibilities did you have in the past?”

    I am not an immigrant to this country, I’m just a woman who at mid life decided to change careers. After 15 years with the same company I found myself stuck in a middle management position and decided that the only way out was to go back to school. Last year I graduated with an MBA in Technology Management. And for the past year I have not been able to find a decent job. Not because I’m not intelligent, well educated and personable, but because I don’t have the experience on my resume for the types of jobs I am seeking.

    What’s frustrating is that unlike a new grad in their 20’s, I can’t afford to start over at entry level, and nor should I. Perhaps that may be the commonality we share. I’ve been an entrepreneur, I have had sales and customer service experience, and have been in a management role for over 10 years. That’s got to count for something! So I feel like saying, “No, I don’t know your software – but teach me, I’ve demonstrated in other ways that I can learn and translate that knowledge into success”, and “No, I haven’t managed projects before but I’ve successfully managed people, and I’ve been an active and dedicated contributor on project teams”.

    Could that be similar to someone who comes here from another country with a wealth of knowledge and experience, only from a different perspective? Although, I must say that I almost think being from another part of the world today, especially Asia is an advantage if you are in the technology sector.

    I’m nearly broke now, and I’ve been depressed and discouraged, and yet I keep trying. So thank you, thank you – for being such an inspiration! You make me realize that if someone who came here from another country could hang in there in do it, perhaps so can I! In fact, I love your last line! It’s one that I will have to be sure and keep in mind:

    There is no limitation of our true potentials, except the limitation of our own imagination!

    Sorry for such a long response…guess I’m making up for all the people who haven’t been fortunate enough to come and read your articles!

  3. Dear Helen wang, you are absolutely right! You really desearve to be a CEO and Founder because you really have the potentials to be a real leader. you opened my eyes to Be an Entrepreneur. you inspired the dare inside me.

    Thanks alot.

    Imran Hakro
    MBA (Finance) student @ SZABIST, Pakistan