Wannabes vs. Real Entrepreneurs

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Wanna-bes vs. 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.

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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

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

57 Comments on “Wannabes vs. Real Entrepreneurs”

  1. Hi Perry,

    Absolutely loved the Twelve differences between Wannabes vs Real Entrepreneurs, used it to qualify and disqualify myself. Truly proud and gave myself 12 out of 12. Last 10 years running businesses, thank god, i am not a wannabe, and this list proves it, PHEW..

    I now also train and make Entrepreneurs, so it was extremely important for me to know whether i am one myself first or not. It helped me to self validate.

    thanks for posting it

  2. Good shake! And best thing is that everybody can change for Wannabe to Entrepeneurs.

    Congratulations, Perry. One of the best messages. Got my heart and brain!

    Thanks a lot

  3. Brilliant. Many thanks. I had set a goal of getting at least a bare bones landing page up by October 1. It bears almost ZERO resemblance to what I have in mind, everything will be re-done but it was up September 30. My ‘line in the sand’ from which to move forward. Your comments made me feel better ‘getting ‘er up’, warts and all, rather than waiting till everything was the way I wanted it.

  4. You know something Perry,
    This is the most impactful email I have read this year. After reading this and making a decision to be brutally honest with myself I must conclude that I have been operating on wannabe mode for far too long.

    The buck stops here. I committ to being an entrepreneur. Being a wannabe is far too expensive, and it has run its course. Enough is enough.

    Things will change from here on out.

    Thanks for this one. It really hit me deep in the heart.

  5. Nice one mate,

    Totally agree with the contrasts you throw forward.

    I also think that those that are reding your list and owning each one, because for them it’s a no brainer and they have been doing these things by nature can teach the thought process to those who find these traits learned skills.

    Some by nature some by nurture.

    Cheers mate.

  6. HI
    Great post.! Its now hanging in my office.
    I was happy to see some of my focused thoughts were not all wannabes

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. 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?

    1. Tim,

      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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 2/26/2013 3:03 pm EDT

    This popped off the page: “long-term success is a good trade for short-term loss of dignity.”

    It’s like going outdoors or to the gym and sweating like a pig, looking very unattractive. All the while, be thinking of how amazed people will be at your transformation after you shower and groom yourself. I’ve heard more than one man say, “I clean up nicely.” Great comment for a mechanic or outdoor laborer who dresses up to go to a black tie event.

    Sometimes you have to look ugly for a while in order to become beautiful.

  21. Are you a mind reader? How come you send this – and other like this before – like the procrastination texts few weeks ago- Exactly when I need them most?
    Great stuff
    Also – I think that all we pass thought different stages in our lives and business – and we don’t have to be to hard on ourselves if we saw ourselves as a wannabe
    I would add on your list s thirteen one:

    Wannabes think they are true entrepreneurs.
    Entrepreneurs admit they were wannabes at one point in their life.

  22. ahhh yes – there is a difference between wanting success and expecting success. Different decisions and actions. There’s only one of them I’m wondering about. No 1. I take it you mean the difference between identifying what would work and making it work.

  23. Another post that hits the nail directly on the head, Perry. Your experience and insight from working with so many wannabes and real entrepreneurs is priceless to the rest of us. This should be a wall chart.

  24. Another brilliant Perry post. Great insight and copy. As I read this, I thought about my own vertical. What kept popping in my head is “fear” vs. “courage & risk taking”. Thanks Perry.

  25. The best thing I’ve read in a while.

    Thanks so much Perry for the post.

    I will read this every day until I become a Real Entrepreneurs.

  26. Thanks.
    I will print this one, and translate it to Spanish, for my customers / Visitors.
    Agree with Brian. Time to check myself…

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