Throughout my short but sharp life, I've come across more counterfeit entrepreneurs than authentic real ones.
This is a disappointing reality, but as the classic movie Robocop reminded us, "that's life in a big city".
In truth, I can see the attraction, built on the jelly walls of silicon valley. The freedom to work from a villa with splashing water and the handcuff release of 9-5 is undeniably attractive. But the truth is very different. Twenty two hard long days in a row, followed by one good day is the gold standard.
In my opinion, out of all the new business owners I've met, 75% of them have made the wrong choice and shouldn't be trying to lead. They've watched an excessive amount of movies, abundance of tv shows and have built a perception in their mind of who they are which might not be reality.
Here's the difference between authentic entrepreneurs and counterfeit ones.
An authentic entrepreneur will at various stages of life, continue to sacrifice their lifestyle and social standing in order to continue creating value, build the walls of uniqueness and develop humans, for nothing else than for their own satisfaction, infused with the need to try to improve the world and the current systems that operate it.
A counterfeit entrepreneur quickly wants to talk at events, upgrade their car, house and social standing. They want to be seen at marquees at the races or polo. Whilst the authentic entrepreneur is at home working away for the week ahead, the counterfeit entrepreneur builds an ideology that they are a success in their own head and aims to portray this to the community via various platforms.
An authentic entrepreneur doesn't need a pat on the back, every blue moon they'll give it to themselves, then quickly move on and get on with the next task. A counterfeit entrepreneur needs weekly, if not daily appreciation and approval (see above).
An authentic entrepreneur understands that the tough days and difficult discussions are the most important part of the day, the times where they grow the most. The counterfeit entrepreneur complains to people about these incidents and thinks "why me, what did I do to deserve this"?
An authentic entrepreneur realises that superb leadership is the cornerstone of their business. They would rather see their staff grow then themselves, and they would rather see them paid before they pay themselves.
Authentic entrepreneurs use the term 'we' even if they are working on their own, because they know people are helping them in some way or another. A counterfeit entrepreneur uses the word 'I' as they want people to know they are doing all the work.
Success for those who don't care about it, is about much more. Authentic entrepreneurs will actively aim to make themselves humble and continue to see and feel what it's like to do it tough, as a reminder of how to appreciate the little things. The counterfeit entrepreneur stays away from this feeling, as a need to feel like they are better than that, that they've surpassed that part of their life or those people.
From the time I opened the business in June 2013, for 3 years, I washed the Evolutio physiotherapy clinic (located in Richmond, Melbourne) towels either at home or down at the laundromat. That's around 1500 times I washed a towel on my own, to save money and to set an example.
We recently progressed to the stage that we go through around 50 towels every fortnight, so we now get them picked up, washed and dropped off. A celebratory whiskey moment. So now I've been promoted to cleaning the bathrooms, but I still venture down to the laundromat every now and then, to do a load of washing and remind myself that nothing changes. It's just our perception that we shouldn't be doing a task that we're too good for, that changes.