Why Employees Make Great Entrepreneurs

I agree with Dharmesh on why students make great entrepreneurs. Together with Paul Graham’s reasoning, it is enough for me to let go of my need as a parent for total safety for my kids. I will certainly encourage them to consider “riskier” paths as well as “safer” paths.

However, for myself, this is a bit too late since I am already one of those employees, with a family, mortgage, loans and what have you. So I will now list the reasons why I would make great entrepreneurs, partly to see whether something can be salvaged for us salaried employees in a corporate environment.

Here’s my list, in no particular order:

  1. Realistic Optimism The optimism that we do have are realistic rather than starry eyed. We’ve seen mini-startups (internal projects) succeed or fail enough times to know what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Great Customer Contacts We already met the all important customers, or at least we know exactly where to find them. They’re the ones that our current company does not want to engage, or maybe they want to but cannot.
  3. Good Networking Because we go to board meetings and trade shows and conferences and user groups, we know many people who can help in our startup, either as an investor, partner, a consultant, beta tester, or whatever.
  4. Financially Aware Hey, we survived long enough to read Dharmesh’s blog, didn’t we? Yes, we have bills to pay, but we managed somehow to find enough cash to pay them (well maybe not ALL of them). So we already know the importance of hard cash rather than eyeballs or strategic partners stuff. We know being profitable is not enough, you need excellent cashflow as well.
  5. Excellent People Skills We know that great products come from great companies because they have great people. We already have the skills to weed out deadbeats from our projects. To give our star programmers freedom to innovate. To impress our boss enough to be given the resources. To impress customers enough to always buy and upgrade to new technologies from us.
  6. Kids If all else fails, we have kids in school. We can tell them to start a business, taking the role of a business angel instead. How cool is that?

There you are, for all employees, rejoice. We can be great entrepreneurs as well.