How many times have we heard Mark Cuban say, “It takes 5 years to become an overnight success”? What is success? What you talking about Willis!?
I’m not going to get into the percentage of people who go on Shark Tank and after weeks of working with the producers, don’t make it to air. Or the number of “deals” that do air and then don’t work out. Or the number of people who think getting on Shark Tank is the beginning of their dream come true but later find out it’s turned into a nightmare. I’m not going to waste my time telling you that if you want to be an entrepreneur there is no easy way and that any easy way is a trap that can take you – well – to the shark tank!
There’s a saying out there:
“Doing what you want is freedom, liking what you do is happiness.”
The first step is to ask: what motivates you to start a business?
1. If your answer is money: ERRR, WRONG! Houston, we have a problem. Let me just say that if that’s the case you’re pursuing the ring of power from the Lord of the Rings and you’ll end up with your life sucked out of you like Gollum. Money cannot be your end goal.
2. If you’re motivated beyond money then it’s possible you’ll make it to the next level.
So the first thing is:
To have a motive for your business endeavor and to have clarity within yourself where you are and where you want to go.
That said, let’s get started:
1. A successful pitch on Shark Tank can be both the beginning of your business and the end of you – as a an entrepreneur. So the question is whether or not sacrificing your enjoyment and motive is too much as a self proclaimed entrepreneur.
2. No Mr. Wonderful, it’s not all a matter of money. (By the way, Kevin O’leary has gone the way of Gollum, don’t you think?). As an investor I’m interested in knowing what inspires entrepreneurs. Again, motive. Your motive is the “gas” that fuels movement. But what happens when you mix water with oil? What happens if you have a social motive and you mix with an investor who’s only interested in the returns? What’s the price? What does your project have to give up and what do you have to give up for it? Is it worth it?
3. Shark Tank is not the objective. The program sells the idea that money is quick and easy. I have an idea, this idea becomes a concept and BOOM I want to be a millionaire. If this is your approach then go ahead. There are people who do it….and then what?
4. Always look at the price tag before you buy. There is a price to getting on Shark Tank. Did you know that during the first seasons the sharks whether they invested or not, asked to every participant to keep 5% of their business for life just because they were on the show? – no matter if it aired or not. Is it worth it? In many cases you might say “yes” provided your product or business was exposed to 8 million viewers. But you always have to be aware of the fine print.
The BIG LIE behind the Shark Tank is that it promotes entrepreneurship as being something that it is not. It gives people the sense that entrepreneurship is about MONEY and I believe entrepreneurship should be about happiness, that’s the motive.
Getting back to the water analogy. Entrepreneurship is like surfing. We all see the awesome photos and videos of someone riding a huge wave with the grace of a ballet dancer. But that’s not really surfing.
Surfing is waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning, going to a cold beach, getting inside the freezing oceans, and waiting hours for a wave to arrive. And once it does arrive and you’re able to catch it, you’ll probably end up crashing time and time again. After hours you’ll come out of the water with sand in places you didn’t even know existed and you’ll realize you’ve swallowed two gallons of seawater.
That’s how you’ll spend your days, sometimes months and years. A good day will come when you’ll ride that wave inside the tube for 10 glorious seconds. Then it starts all over again. Surfing is not just those 10 seconds. Surfing is enjoying the whole process.
The million dollar question is, would you ever go surfing in an ocean full of sharks? Who do you want as a travel buddy? This is a very personal matter. Are you looking for lifelong happiness or quick cash? There are so many ways to answer these.
I suggest searching for motives, not for money.
That is to say, Mr. Wonderful, I prefer to surf at another beach.