Go ALL in, they say. Go BIG or go HOME. This might be a nice sound bite for an Instagram quote, or a nice line in a rap song, but this advice is, in a literal sense, nonsense. If you were advised by a professional to ‘Go ALL in’ investing your money, they’d be struck off. You need some money to live, so you don’t put all your money into a business. But you gotta work 24/7, 365. Well actually, no, even the hardest workers sleep sometimes, right? Or is lunch for losers? Warren Buffett has never gone ‘all in’. Going all in dramatically increases risk, and diversification spreads that risk.
The problem is, these sound bites glorify entrepreneurship. They make for good YouTube videos, Netflix documentaries or book case studies. It’s the business equivalent of the ‘flex’. Look how hard I work. Look what sacrifices I make. For example, James Dyson, who had a working prototype, but developing it into a commercial product was an apparently ‘gruelling process’ that took another 10 years and almost bankrupted him. They say at one stage he owed his bank more than a million pounds.Well, was it really that ‘gruelling’? Working in the coal mines is gruelling. Walking 10 miles a day twice a day just to get water is ‘gruelling’. Maybe Dyson was doing evenings and weekends? Maybe there is more to the story. But we glorify this approach. If it’s not ‘blood, sweat and tears’, then you’re not doing enough.
After Elon Musk got $180M from PayPal, he put $100M in Spacex, $70M in Tesla and $10M in Solar City. Then, he borrowed money for his rent. He went all in baby. Flex and glory.OK, but are James Dyson and Elon Musk case studies to model, or media glorified unicorns of entrepreneurship?The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a ‘small’ business as one with 500 employees or less. In 2019, the failure rate of startups was around 90%. Research concludes 21.5% of startups fail in the first year, 30% in the second year, 50% in the fifth year, and 70% in their 10th year. So what are we NOT being told about the majority of entrepreneurs that go ‘all in’ and then end up ‘going home’ because they tried to go big, but went under?
How many James Dysons and Elon Musks are there, versus every other entrepreneur that ever started a business?I heard one small business owner say he maxed out 11 credit cards to get his business off the ground. I sure hope no one took this as ‘advice’.And let’s say you did go ‘ALL IN’ in business. How would your partner feel about not seeing you? Your kids feel about not knowing you? How would your mental well-being be if it was all hustle and grind, and no rest and recover? One small mistake, one slight change to law or a correction in the economy and you could lose it all if you went all in. What is wrong with going 70% in?70% of your time in business, 30% of your time for family and social and pleasure and pleasure. Rest, recovery and play. 70% of that 70% work time dedicated to your main business, 20% of your time in a second or related business, 10% of your time in researching trends and changes.
70% of your social media focus in your main platform, 20% of your time in a second/third platform, 10% of your time in researching trends and new platforms.Maybe 70% in for 10 or 25 years, is better than all in for 2 or 5 years, and then burning out, and being forced to take a year to recover, and then having to start again, again and again?Should I just go home now! What are your thoughts on this?
I put this question to my Facebook Community I love a lively debate so join in on the conversation over on my facebook group.
And remember, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.