lightbulb ideaBusiness is hard, especially as a start-up or a small, entrepreneur-driven venture.  You’ve seen the statistics, and you know the odds are going to be stacked against you.

So when the going gets tough – and it will – you can either step up or fold under the pressure.  There’s no shame in taking a shot, giving your all, and realizing that it’s not going to happen.  Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.

What really gets my goat is not the entrepreneur who does his or her best before calling it quits, but the “wantrepreneurs” who are all talk and no action.  (Or if I was from Texas, the expression would be all hat and no cattle!)

By any name, wantrepreneurs are the wannabes, the wafflers and the whiners.  They’re the prognosticators who love to preach, but won’t practice.  Wantrepreneurs play the blame game and are quick to point to all the external reasons why their business isn’t working.  Excuses often take the place of execution.

We all come across wantrepreneurs from time to time, but as a video marketing coach, I  feel as though I cross paths with wannabes all too often.

These wantrepreneurs say they want to grow their business, but then don’t invest in their business.  They boldly announce that they want to use video as a marketing tool, but they wait for that “perfect hair” day that never seems to arrive.  They claim they want help from a coach or consultant, but they need to get just one more client before they can afford to hire you.  (Chicken and egg, anyone?)

The truth is that wantrepreneurs are simply afraid:  Afraid of commitment; afraid of investing in their business; afraid to make the wrong decision; afraid of what other people might think; and just plain afraid they’ll screw up.

I get that.  We’ve all been there.  But you don’t have to stay there!  That’s when you’ve got to pull out the old expression, “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

If you think you may have “wannabe” tendencies, here is my unsolicited advice for the stuck, the scared and the snail-like:

  1. Decide and do something.  Or decide not to do anything.  As Geddy Lee sang in the old Rush classic “Freewill,” If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!  If you decide to stay stuck, just come to grips with the fact that you are where you are.  Simply accept your reality and make peace with where you’re at – and where you’ll stay.
  2. Act first and ask questions later.  Action is the only thing that will produce results.  Get going and adjust on the fly.  You may make mistakes, but even that is progress.
  3. Quit whining.  No one cares about your 17 lame excuses or your sad tales of woe.  We all have sh-t to deal with and life often gets in the way of business. If you must, give yourself a day of self-pity, and then get your butt back to work.
  4. Surround yourself with action-takers.  I could give you the old line about “soaring with eagles,” but suffice it to say that the colleagues and family closest to you exert an enormous amount of influence over your actions – or lack thereof.  Or, in the words of my Italian grandmother, “Tell me with whom you go, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
  5. Get help. Popular to contrary belief, there’s no badge of honor for being a lone wolf.  Getting advice or support does not mean giving up your independence.  It simply means that you’re man or woman enough to accept the help that’s all around you.  I was the same way.  I used to think: I don’t need anyone.  I am a rock.  I am an island. Well, with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel, it doesn’t work that way.  (No man is an island!)

So suck it up buttercup, and go from wannabe to the real deal.  Wanting is a dream.  Doing gets it done.