The Unintended Entrepreneurs

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Please forgive the cliché.

Before you slam down your laptop lid in disgust — having heard this countless times before — please read what I have to say.

This article is not a bromide for entrepreneurs stuck by the recession or any other typical problem we all encounter.

This is a wake-up call for all the hard-working men and women who have invested in their education, or cut their education short, because there are no jobs.

They are the ad hoc business survivors of a completely unexpected economic earthquake.

They have become entrepreneurs by default.

They have joined an entirely new business class — the unintended entrepreneurs.


Unintended Entrepreneurship is a Gift in Disguise

If you are one of these new entrepreneurs and you find yourself saddled with enormous student loan debt and seemingly shattered dreams, you have every reason to be angry — but deal with it briefly and then move on.

I am here to tell you that your present situation, as disagreeable as it may seem, may well be a gift in disguise; one that will keep on giving throughout your business life.


Start By Facing Facts

Your degree was never a magic bullet.  It was a symbol of something much more significant.  It said to the world that you had learned to think.  Through much effort and discipline you had fashioned yourself into the raw material from which greatness may emerge.  That ephemeral quality, once gained, can never be taken away.  Whether or not some nameless company is willing to pay your salary is not important.  You were destined to lead that company to profit — but by happy accident you will now be leading your own company to the prize.

Stop and consider the following 13 examples of others — your tough predecessors — who “got going, when things got tough.”

  1. Paul Allen, billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers. Dropped out of the University of Washington to work for Honeywell. A year later he convinced Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard and move to Albuquerque, New Mexico to start up Microsoft.
  2. Steve Ballmer, billionaire chief of Microsoft. Graduated from college, but dropped out of the Stanford MBA program to join Microsoft.
  3. Richard Branson, billionaire founder of Virgin Music, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Mobile, and other Virgin enterprises, balloonist. Left boarding school when he was 16.  His enormous Twitter success with Virgin Airlines is already legendary.
  4. Warren Buffett, billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Dropped out of the University of Pennsylvania after two years. But later he did get his bachelor’s degree and MBA.
  5. Pete Cashmore, founder of Founded the blog website when he was 19.  Did not complete college. Retired from active blogging three years later.
  6. David Ogilvy, advertising executive and copywriter . Was expelled from Oxford University at the age of 20.
  7. Dustin Moskovitz, multi-millionaire co-founder of Facebook. Harvard dropout.
  8. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! Dropped out of PhD program.
  9. Kevin Rose, founder of Dropped out of college during his second year.
  10. Larry Ellison, billionaire co-founder of Oracle software company. Dropped out of two different colleges.
  11. Michael Dell, billionaire founder of Dell Computers, which started out of his college dorm room. Dropped out of college.
  12. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, billionaire. Did not complete college.
  13. Theodore Waitt, billionaire founder of Gateway Computers. Dropped out of college to start Gateway – one semester before graduating.

These 13 entrepreneurs are just your present-day predecessors in the technology industry.

There are countless others following non-technical pursuits that are equally rich and famous.

Like you, they learned to think.

They never gave up.

And they actually lived the cliché:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

 If you found this post useful, you will love my eGuide — Trajectory: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Successful Business with Twitter






About Michael R.H. Stewart
"Give me faith, freedom, resources, and a little time ... and I will make things happen that matter." Michael R.H. Stewart is a respected Internet executive with broad experience in all aspects of online business, with an emphasis given to social networking development, and company management. He has over 131,000 engaged Twitter followers. He enjoys 22 years of direct experience with corporate, entrepreneurial, governmental and non-profit clients, having advised them on all aspects of their online initiatives. Prior to his Internet career, he served as a Senior Vice President of AIG Marketing, doing business in 135 foreign countries as well as the United States. Stewart is an experienced public speaker and communicator, with worldwide experience; an expert on corporate branding; an accomplished writer, a creative thinker and problem solver.


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