THE ENTREPRENEUR DETOUR
I live in one of the fastest growing cities in the country: Frisco, Texas. It has become a magnet for companies investing billions of dollars into development. Even one of the world’s most valuable sports organizations, the Dallas Cowboys football team, has moved their world headquarters and training facilities to this suburb of Dallas. Go Cowboys!
Because of construction in Frisco, traffic is absolutely crazy! Our area is growing so fast that even Google Maps has a hard time keeping up with the day-to-day road detours. Do you know what this means?
Many times, my GPS directions are not accurate. In fact, sometimes the route Mr. Google tells me to take is flat-out wrong. Driving anywhere in North Dallas has become unpredictable at best.
Not too long ago, I jumped into my car, turned on my Maps app to route me to an address, and started driving. I knew that there was a major construction delay ahead. If I followed Google’s directions, it would take me much longer to get to my destination. Naturally, I was not in the mood to sit in my car any longer than necessary.
The voice from my phone kept telling me, “You are on the fastest route,” but I had some personal information that said otherwise. A detour I was aware of would get me to my destination much quicker, so I went that way. My GPS kept trying to reroute me and telling me to turn around. Finally, I just turned the app off and continued on my detour.
As I drove, I realized that what I was experiencing related very well to entrepreneurship. That moment became the genesis of this book.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how the entrepreneurial life is a rough road, replete with potholes and detours.
I don’t know about you, but I have a terrible sense of direction. That’s why I find it so remarkable when I jump into my car, speak the words “OK, Google” into my Android smartphone (sorry iPhone users), then say an address or business name, tap “DIRECTIONS,” and, just like magic, a voice from Google Maps directs me to my destination.
It is so much better than fumbling through a Rand McNally Road Atlas. Do you remember those things? Sheesh, what a pain!
Before using the GPS navigation on my mobile phone, I was constantly pulling over to figure out where I was. As I drove around Dallas using an outdated map I could never fold back up correctly, traffic updates on the radio became mission-critical. We have it so much better today!
How does all this correlate to being an entrepreneur? When we jump into our cars, we plan to go somewhere. And we usually know how we plan to get to our destination: which roads to take, what times are best to avoid rush-hour traffic, and how weather may factor into our journey. We also know that sometimes we’ll run into a detour. As we are driving, we encounter something we didn’t plan on, and it causes us to make a U-turn or go down a street we did not expect to take.
If you are an entrepreneur, you have a destination. Everyone who’s ever had an idea for a business has a place they want their business to arrive at. They begin their journey to that destination, but almost immediately they encounter a steady stream of detours. Then, as time grinds on, they can become frustrated with the process and begin to question everything.
Can you relate?
There is a better way to live as an entrepreneur, but it will involve going against the grain and not following conventional wisdom. In fact, you will be forced into taking some unconventional detours if you are to succeed in the current business climate.
EMBRACE THE DETOUR
I assume you wouldn’t be reading this book if you weren’t interested in entrepreneurship. You may aspire to be an entrepreneur, or you may already be a full-fledged, successful business owner. Either way, I hope to encourage you to keep on going and to warn you of potential hazards on the road ahead.
Does the road you’re currently on look like the one you envisioned for your business at the start of your adventure? I doubt it.
Has the progress of your journey seemed to have slowed down, or maybe even stalled? Most likely.
Or worse, do you feel like the path you’re actually on is taking you in the wrong direction?
If that’s you, welcome to The Entrepreneur Detour.
Most detours are unexpected and usually inconvenient. This messes with our emotions.
We become impatient.
We become confused.
We wonder why in the world did this happen to us right now.
Here’s the good news: entrepreneur detours can actually be good events that often feel bad. They can end up being very positive moments for you and your business. Just make sure you’re responding to them correctly.
“Entrepreneur detours can actually be good events that often feel bad.”
As veteran entrepreneurs know all too well, making the right decisions is usually hard and can feel extremely uncomfortable. But, if you aren’t careful and react incorrectly, your situation could go from bad to worse—to a lot worse. This is one of the many reasons so many businesses fail.
I will be the first to admit that every entrepreneurial experience is as unique as the person having it. Business ownership is very personal. The Entrepreneur Detour will take you to unexpected places you never planned for.
There is a ton of information available detailing how to be a Rock-Star Entrepreneur. That is why I didn’t write a “how to” book. I will leave a lot of those tactics to those who are much smarter than me. Besides, I would never pretend to have all the answers.
Rather than waste your time repeating advice that’s already out there, I will help you create better questions for where you are on your entrepreneurial journey—questions that are specifically applicable to your situation. Then you will have a framework to use to arrive at your own answers (making what you read relevant to you personally).
“Ask better questions to make better decisions.”
I’d much rather make sure you understand the context and implications that go with being an entrepreneur than tell you what to do in your entrepreneurial journey. My goal is to lay out some of the unchanging truths on what every entrepreneur has gone through, is presently going through, or is about to go through.
I hope my story, with all its twists and turns, will simply bring another perspective to those interested in entrepreneurship. My driving force for documenting some of the unpredictable events I’ve encountered in my life is to have what I’ve shared help you win.
Life in general is messy, unpredictable, and pretty amazing. Entrepreneur life is all those things times fifty. Do you feel as though no one else is going through the same things as you? You’d be surprised to see how normal your crazy entrepreneurial life really is. When I’ve detailed parts of my story with others in an unvarnished way, a common response is, “Hearing about what you’ve experienced makes me feel normal.”
I’m here to hopefully impart some wisdom and understanding so you will know how to make better decisions as your journey unfolds. What I’ve gone through will demonstrate that you can be on the right road even when life seems to be going all wrong.
Despite the obstacles that await us all, I believe we are living in the greatest era in all of human history to be an entrepreneur.
The barriers to entry for business have come crashing down because of technology and automation.
The playing field has been leveled.
The market awaits.
So, together, let’s #EmbraceTheDetour.