Saturday, March 14, 2009

Life as an Entrepreneur

Life, future, is all about choices and trade-offs. And when you set your foot off the campus, you can single out one of these two choices; work to a business enterprise or make your own business. I’ll advise you a thing. The last option is the one you want to choose if you fancy your chance of having an exceptionally prosperous future

Success is defined differently in every man’s mind. On one hand, one says that success is when you have a decent job and good family in the future. The ambitious one, on the other hand, says success is being extremely rich and living a jet-set life. For them, success is nothing but having your names in the headlines; president, minister, CEO, economist, world-class athlete, actor. The question is: what headlines? Yes you are rich, but if you choose to live a salary life, you will never be rich enough to be the richest.

Entrepreneurs. Atypical and extraordinary, creating their own path rather than follow others. They are opportunistic, which means that they have a lot of savvy in seeing every opportunity and will waste no chance to make full benefit from it. They don’t fear risk; they see it as a challenge to hurdle instead of an obstacle. The fascinating part is, those shrewd and risk-taker guys, in reality, dominate the world richest person headlines.

You may say that footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is very rich for having a $ 200,000 salary every week in Manchester United. Let’s say with that salary, Ronaldo brings home $ 9, 6 million every year, and with the assumption that he’s playing football for 20 years, he will make approximately $ 200 million by the time he retires from football. Well he also makes money from advertisement and whatsoever, thus let’s also assume that he gets $ 50 million from those things. Total Ronaldo’s wealth: $ 250 million full of hard cash. If you were a successful entrepreneur, you will laugh off that amount.

In fact, his wealth is nothing even compared to Hary Tanoesoedibjo, entrepreneur and owner of Global MediaCom Group, whose wealth was summarized not less than $ 900 million by the end of 2008. By the way, Mr. Tanoesodibjo is ‘only’ listed as the 10th richest person in Indonesia, still trailing behind the names like Aburizal Bakrie or Putera Sampoerna, both are entrepreneurs as well. The gap is even larger if Ronaldo’s wealth is compared to world’s prominent entrepreneurs like Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC whose total wealth and asset are said to be around $ 10 billion.

Yes, what makes entrepreneurs extremely rich is they don’t live a salary life –which is a high-risk choice with a high-return in hand aftermath.  In a company, employees are always distinguished about how they run their business –and that’s why they are salaried. Conversely, for entrepreneurs, it is not about how you play your business; it’s about how the business plays you. When their businesses title success, they are the ones who get the money at first. Manchester United got $ 70 million for becoming the winner of European Champions League last season and of course, most of the money will go to Malcolm Glazer’s wallet, an American entrepreneur and the club’s owner, rather than to Ronaldo’s. Ronaldo may do most of the hard work running in the football field, yet Malcolm Glazer is the one who benefits most from his effort.


Entrepreneurship issue in recent times

Unfortunately, there’s not much to say when we are talking about entrepreneurial issue to most of university graduates these days –it falls on deaf ears. Ask them about their dream jobs, and you’ll find answers like accountant, banker, lawyer, architect, IT technician, doctor. Ask them about their soon-to-be workplaces; Ernst and Young, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Microsoft, Citibank are the most likely answers. Well, you have to start thinking that when those places are congested, soon you’ll run out of options. The world will run out of jobs if all university graduates wield the same perspective about where they will work the time they graduate. That’s why at present we are waiting for new entrepreneurs in the wings. In the midst of high unemployment worldwide caused by this current global financial crisis, we desperately need someone who is able to make jobs instead of living the job itself.

Thus, imagine. What your future will likely be? Or, precisely, what do you want it to be? Accountant, lawyer, doctor, banker…yet amid all those common pathways, there’s one that is simply paved for the outliers. The path is unlikely, as unlikely as Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s decision to drop out from Harvard to build Microsoft. The path is chancy; your future still can be either sunny or gloomy, and no one can guarantee you to have the same fate as Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Mark Zuckerberg, Howard Schultz, Ciputra, or Sandiaga Uno’s. But at a time like this; with current global economic crisis has swelled the unemployment rate significantly, with job becomes something worth a hassle for all university graduates, and with your future seems hazy and you don’t even know where to go after you finish your study –being entrepreneur may be the path that you ought to walk.

Think again. By any chance, there must be an idea that has been gnawing you for long, “In the future, I wonder if I can make money from this thing.

Bingo. It may be your getaway path from your once vaguely future, to an exceptionally prosperous one.

This article was published in AIESEC University of Indonesia's 2009 Newsletter


Theresia Bhekti Putranti said...

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Anonymous said...

your writing reminds me of what my English teacher said to me two years ago. I guess the purpose of living is more than just surviving ( I can this pain avoidance). Now it's heading towards well being (I call this pleasure seeking) and I think in the end, we want freedom in life. Entrepreneurship is one the ways to attain freedom; time and space freedom.