Wannabes vs. Real Entrepreneurs

audience clapping Wannabes vs. Real Entrepreneurs

Twelve differences between those who dream and those who act:

1. Wannabes obsess about ideas. Entrepreneurs obsess about implementation.

2. Wannabes want more web traffic. Entrepreneurs focus on sales conversion.

3. Wannabes focus on positive thinking. Entrepreneurs plan for multiple contingencies.

4. Wannabes want to get on TV and get ‘famous.’ Entrepreneurs build their list.

5. Wannabes seek a perfect plan. Entrepreneurs execute and adjust the plan later.

6. Wannabes wait for their lucky break. Entrepreneurs engineer four, five, six plans and execute them in tandem, wagering that at least one plan will get traction.

7. Wannabes fear looking stupid in front of their friends. Entrepreneurs willingly risk making fools of themselves, knowing that long-term success is a good trade for short-term loss of dignity.

8. Wannabes shield their precious ideas from harsh reality, postponing the verdict of success or failure until ‘someday.’ Entrepreneurs expose their ideas to harsh scrutiny as soon as reasonably possible.

9. Wannabes put off practicing basketball until they’ve got Air Jordans. Entrepreneurs practice barefoot behind the garage.

10. Wannabes believe what they’re told, believe their own assumptions. Entrepreneurs do original research and determine what paths have been already trod.

11. Wannabes believe they can do anything. Entrepreneurs do what they’re gifted for and delegate the rest.

12. Wannabes think about the world in terms of COULD and SHOULD. Entrepreneurs think in terms of IS and CAN BE.

Perry Marshall

Photo by Flickr/blmurch

About the Author

Entrepreneur Magazine says: "Perry Marshall is the #1 author and world's most-quoted consultant on Google Advertising. He has helped over 100,000 advertisers save literally billions of dollars in Adwords stupidity tax."

He is referenced across the Internet and by The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and Forbes Magazine.

Last 5 Posts by Perry

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Posted by Perry on February 22nd, 2013. Filed in Marketing Blog. Tagged as . Follow responses thru Comments RSS. Follow responses thru Comments RSS.

Comments on Wannabes vs. Real Entrepreneurs »

  • Glenn says:

    Perry each one right on – might adjust the last one from “can be” to “will be”

  • Great list. I’m a HUGE fan of act now and perfect later which is something a few of your points alluded to.

  • George says:

    I would like to add something to the list.

    Wannabes are afraid of failure, entrepreneurs understand that failure is an important element in the learning curve.

  • Carl says:

    Awesome post,

    It is very reassuring when you see your self more comparable to the entrepreneur examples :)

    With that said I do feel like, in a few cases I can sometimes be in the wannabe category, for example for every idea I implement, I have lots of great ideas I obsess over then never get going. Then again if I did everything I thought I would never get any sleep

  • Meg says:

    Sometimes I am and Sometimes I am not; the KEY is to be more and more and less and less. Not too difficult if you know where you intend to be.

  • Mad Guy says:

    Nice Job Perry!

    I’m particularly partial to #9…

    “Wannabes put off practicing basketball until they’ve got Air Jordans. Entrepreneurs practice barefoot behind the garage.”

    Kinda like waiting for all the lights to be on green before proceeding.

    Thanks Perry.

    Mad Guy

  • Antoni says:

    Number 2 advice is golden (and I think is the best of all 12) because if you have the best conversion rate, you can buy all the traffic you want and grow your business like crazy, but you have to test like crazy to get there.

  • I know this is a little of topic, but it’s slightly related. I wanted to thank you for a recent renaissance club cd regarding the ‘interview technique’ used to create shorts book. When you discussed it’s use for SEO, it just hit me. Within days we were using it. It’s now a core part of our strategy for article marketing for clients. It provides fantastic quality copy. It keeps clients involved and importantly happy.
    The important point is that I could have just thought that’s not a bad idea. But, ideas whilst inspiring aren’t enough – you’ve got do do something with them. Action speaks louder than words.

  • Tim says:

    Perry, since I don’t have a business up and running, your monster “Writing For Influence, Authority And Impact” event is not something I can attend, although I’m wondering if there will be recordings or a similar product in the future for purchase? I would love to buy, devour and master that sort of content as it is fascinating. I want to ask you if you could give some sort of mini “to do” list to become an influential writer. I know this isn’t something that just ‘happens’ but I’d like to hear your opinion on your top recommended ‘bare minimum’ books and courses on writing for sales and influence, and also daily plan of attack? Do you have a daily writing schedule?

    • Perry says:


      You ask great questions.

      I write at least an hour a day. Typically more like 2. Half that time is on very specific projects like books.

      I can’t commit one way or the other on recorded versions of this material. That’s usually a judgment call after the fact. We aren’t going to be selling recordings of our consulting seminar from 2012 for example.

      Strong recommendation is our Niche Celebrity course, http://www.perrymarshall.com/celebrity/

      Also I recommend http://www.perrymarshall.com/lops/

      I think epic literature is a must. Shakespeare, Homer, the Bible, Mark Twain; great books and novels that have lasted 50 or 500 years. Also – seeking to develop a keen awareness of the difference between tactic vs strategy and technique vs principle.

      Also… I’m not that much of a Facebook guy but I do have a few Twitter feeds that I always enjoy. I haven’t read my Twitter feeds and all the bloggers I find there in a month, and I find my mind less cluttered. News, Social Media and shallow conversations all war against your quest to be influential.

  • Wow, this stuff is lighter fluid for the fires of creativity, Perry! Thanks so much for your Marketing DNA test and the autoresponder series. I’m commenting here for you and others to see, since there isn’t a way to reply directly to your DNA emails.

    How does a person as creative as myself (the test results are right on target) find opportunities to develop USPs and content for clients who need exactly what I have to offer?

    Marketing my creativity as a real entrepreneur(over 20 years of self-employment and counting) is the trick now. Sifting through the wannabes advertising on craigslist and the big online sites that expect writers to work for free there must be a pool of real entrepreneurs willing to pay for the help they desperately need.

    How do I find those people now?

    Thanks again, Perry.

    • Perry says:

      A good start is to ask your prospective clients to take the marketing DNA test.

      Sounds like you are a high alchemist which means you have a natural capacity for thinking out of the box, which a normal business operator desperately needs.

      Sell to your ideal client by describing the symptoms and pain that a person lacking an alchemist has – feeling too much like what they do is “me too” and constantly battling based on price and delivery and shaving pennies. The way to fix that is a great usp and they need an alchemist to create a better one. But focus on the PAIN long before you start talking solutions. Talk about what it feels like to have escaped the commoditization trap.

  • lee says:

    Number 12 is the best!! Great article and very true.. Especially taking the scrutiny from friends early on only for them to realize later that your idea was fantastic

  • Thanks for the article, helps put a few things in perspective for myself. As a leader of a small marketing firm in Detroit, I realize #10 and #11 have always been a challenge for me and continue to be the case!

  • I think I embody 7. VERY WELL! “-Wannabes fear looking stupid in front of their friends. Entrepreneurs willingly risk making fools of themselves, knowing that long-term success is a good trade for short-term loss of dignity.”

    Copped a lot of crap from friends for this video!

  • Fantastic post! I really resonate with #10. My take is very similar – entrepreneurs go broke for one of two reasons. They either blindly follow their passions or they blindly follow what others tell them to do. Great stuff – thanks!

  • Julie says:

    Great advice! It’s so easy to get caught up in followers, web traffic, and Facebook friends and forget the real purpose of it all.

  • Wendy says:

    This is SO PERFECT for ME, in this space and time. I’ve been the Wannabe and finally ready to take that huge leap into Entreprenurville (though I’ve been there for years now). Thanks to Don Coggan for forwarding this to me!

  • Ross says:

    Great read! Just printed this out to hang on the bulletin board in the real-estate office!

  • Where do I keep this so I can always read it? Maybe I will make a graphic. Who wants one?

  • Adam Weber says:

    Pure genius Perry. You are spot on.

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