永福

I Hate Entrepreneur Fanfiction

startups

by Jon Yongfook

August 23, 2014

It messes with people's heads and it has begun to make me cringe at the word "entrepreneur"

There is too much entrepreneur "fanfiction" on the internet.

By this I mean articles or materials aimed at current (or wannabe) entrepreneurs, telling tales of how hard it is. Tales of being a social outcast, tales of personal pressure.

For current entrepreneurs, this stuff is a form of moral boost, a recognition, a badge of honor that you can share on social media and show other people how tough your life is.

For wannabe entrepreneurs, it's a form of escapism or entertainment, a fantasy in a land far away from your office cubicle at a big company, and in frequent doses can become an excuse to put your own entrepreneurial aspirations on hold.

It's unhealthy, it wastes time, it messes with people's heads and it has begun to make me cringe at the word "entrepreneur".

How to avoid entrepreneur fanfiction

People who write this content are more interested in "the life of the entrepreneur" than in "the business of the entrepreneur". If you ever read an entrepreneurship article that doesn't actually include any business advice, then you're probably reading entrepreneur fanfiction.

Real entrepreneurship advice is stuff like:

  • how the entrepreneur got their first 10 customers
  • marketing tactics the entrepreneur used, what worked and what didn't
  • how the entrepreneur found product / market fit
  • how the entrepreneur earned their first dollar
  • the top 5 tips for running a business like theirs
  • amazing customer stories
  • business disasters and how to avoid them in the future

This is the kind of information that is actually useful to the ecosystem. Entrepreneurial knowledge that the next generation can use. If I may toot my own horn, posts like my ones on building a business by the beach or setting up SaaS billing in Singapore.

The reason most fanfiction authors don't write about the above topics, is because they can't. Every single entrepreneur fanfiction article I've seen lately has been written by someone who calls themselves an entrepreneur, but lacks the credentials to back that up. This is a symptom of the media's glamorization of entrepreneurship - the proliferation of the "self-labeled entrepreneur".

This is not who you should be learning from.

And I'm not saying you should be learning from me, either (lord knows I hardly ever update this blog anymore anyway!). For whatever industry you're in, there are real entrepreneurs out there sharing excellent advice on their blogs or twitter etc, from years and years of experience in a business that is specifically relevant to you. Find them, read their content.

As an entrepreneur, those are the people who you will learn from.

The fiction writers are just a distraction.

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