11Feb
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Put The Pedal Down or Get Out of the Car

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The title of this post is something that I often repeat to myself.

This is a challenge for any motivated entrepreneur; when do I hit the gas or when do I turn off the engine? Many entrepreneurs simply do not know how to say no to a deal, so they empty their tank before really going anywhere.

Focus On Your Strengths

I think that the Warren Buffett method of successful entrepreneurship is the one I like to subscribe to – stick with what you are good at. You can still have a lot of different deals, companies and opportunities in your “wheel house”, but I really don’t think you should over burden yourself with deals outside of your core expertise.

Reading is a great tool that I use to learn about other industries and opportunities. There was a time, not too long ago, when reading was actually a huge catalyst for me to try to build opportunities out of. However, about two years ago, I realized that although I had some decent ideas and was working on some reasonably interesting projects, I still was making money from my core set of skills. All of the other stuff was just busy work meant to stimulate opportunity, but not necessarily to make money.

Learning in and of itself has value of course, but for the purposes of this post, I am talking about making money as the primary goal when looking and learning about new opportunities.

Clearly there is a time in one’s life when not everything you do in your career should be based on whether you can profit from it. I am not saying you shouldn’t have hobbies. Nor am I saying it is a bad idea to broaden your interests and improve your abilities in a variety of areas. I’ve posted a lot about doing these things in fact.

What I am saying is this; find out what you like and what you are good at and focus your time and efforts (company after company, deal after deal) in that area.

Ultimately you will find enough success (and cash) that you can pursue your other interests and hobbies. For example, I have decided I am good at technology companies, social media stuff, web and mobile products, internet marketing, and franchising. I have ideas about other stuff. I read a lot about other stuff. But I don’t spend much time working on other stuff.

Follow Your Passion

It isn’t a groundbreaking message to say “find what you are passionate about, and good at, and do it”. But it is harder than it sounds. Sometimes money doesn’t equal enjoyment. In fact, many times it doesn’t.

Case in point. I have a friend who decided he wanted to be an investment banker. He worked hard in school, got two great degrees, and worked his way into a high paying job at a relatively young age. He is making great money. So now what?

He talks to me all the time about what he “really” wants to be doing. His passions are nowhere near the investment banking industry. In fact, he really has some great entrepreneurial ideas.

Unfortunately, he is trapped.

He’s married with two children and has a lifestyle, and a mortgage, that must continue to be supported by the job that he has.

I have not told him this yet because I don’t want to make him feel bad. I know that with the talents he possesses, had he chosen to follow his passions and his talents more closely, although it would have taken him longer to get to where he is now financially (maybe), he would eventually have gotten there.

Either way, I am sure that his life would be much more enjoyable. Maybe he will start the company he wants to when he makes so much money that he can’t “lose.” I ask him sometimes how much that amount needs to be and each time the number gets a little higher. I hope he makes the leap before it is too late!

In the meantime, he is just another one of the millions of frustrated want-repreneurs trapped in corporate America.

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About Alex Lawrence

Alex has been a successful entrepreneur for 20+ years. His current venture Lendio ranks #34 on the Inc. 500 list. Alex earned a BS degree at the University of Utah and his MBA at Weber State University, where he is Vice Provost and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program. If you want to talk with Alex about business and entrepreneurship (or other questions), email him (alex AT startupflavor DOT com), or you can find him on Twitter @_AlexLawrence.
  • Emily Tolton

    This is all gold Alex! Very timely for me; thank you.

    • Alex Lawrence

      Hi Emily! Thanks for reading. Glad it was helpful. Excited for you and your business. Keep the pedal down :)

  • http://www.ivanmazour.com Ivan Mazour

    It’s all about the Warren Buffet method – stick to what you know. His biography was an eye-opener, if only because it led me to give up any ideas of playing the stock market and being an investor. The man lives and breathes it, does nothing but read the Wall Street Journal and analyse figures. It’s not my passion, and so I don’t want to dedicate that much time to it, and so I will not succeed the way he did. So find a passion, dedicate yourself to it entirely, and success will come!

    Ivan Mazour
    My entrepreneur blog – http://www.ivanmazour.com

    • Alex Lawrence

      Hi Ivan – I’ve enjoyed a few WB biographies myself. Thanks for the comment…

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