I got into a conversation recently about whether entrepreneurship is a case of nature or nurture. I really look at it like a skill thing, like singing or basketball. Some people were born with it and had circumstances where they never even had the chance to realize their skill. I’m sure there are hundreds of people around the country who could play for the NBA right now, but maybe they were never exposed to it in high school, or maybe their interests lay elsewhere when they were younger.
On the flip side, basketball may have been a “way out” for some people, and they worked their way up to a high skill set through sheer determination. But I always think that, at the end of the day, it’s about betting on your strengths, so finding a way to figure out what you’re good at and then going all in on it is extremely important. Whether that’s being an entrepreneur or an accountant or a teacher, it’s all based around skill sets.
So do I think there are outlier situations in which you can be forced into something that you become great at? Sure. But do I think that for the most part it’s a DNA thing? Yes, I really do.
I had no choice in the matter. I HAD to make a lemonade stand.
It was the only thing I thought about. When everybody went outside to play and make forts, I just had to stand on the side of the street, make signs, and sell stuff all day. Now, I’m an extreme version of it, but there are a lot of places in between, and I think most of them are predicated on skill and DNA.
So now, you’re probably asking, “How do I know if that’s me? If I hate my job and want to get out and explore my options, how do I know if entrepreneurship is in my DNA?”
I’d say that it’s like anything else. You don’t know if you’re going to be good at something until you do it. Now up and quitting your job isn’t practical. I know that people have lots of variables in their lives, like kids and mortgages, that don’t allow them to flip on a dime, but that’s why, in Crush It!, I wrote about the idea of 7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Now, if you really hate your job, that is a powerful thing. Hate is a tremendous motivator. Hate is worth working from seven at night to two in the morning. And what’s great about the time we live in is that, twenty years ago, you couldn’t have done that, but with the internet, 7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. is just as useful as any other time of the day.
If you want to know whether you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit in your blood, here is what you do: You cut out watching your favorite sitcoms at night, you cut out playing more GTA5, you cut out going out for beers, you cut out being on the softball team, you pick a dream, and you attack it.
And if you prefer all that downtime over the upside of building your own business? I honestly think that’s great! That’s totally fine, but you’re not allowed to complain about how much you hate your job, just like I am not allowed to complain about my lack of free time or sleep.
Gary Vaynerchuk is, first and foremost, a storytelling entrepreneur. He is also a New York Times bestselling author, and his digital consulting agency, VaynerMedia, works with Fortune 500 companies to develop digital and social media strategy and content. Business Week selected him one of the top twenty people every entrepreneur should follow, and CNN voted him one of the top twenty-five tech investors on Twitter. He lives in New York City, where he avidly roots for the New York Jets.