Independent Thinking Blog

Cracking the Entrepreneur Equation

Some days I wish there were a magic potion, a special key, a secret sauce. A wand I could wave that would mystically make my business hum along without having to worry simultaneously about budgets, business development, clients, networking, professional development, and all those pesky administrative activities.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just spend a day doing the business instead of working in it?

In The Entrepreneur Equation, Carol Roth explores what it takes to be successful and posits that “entrepreneurship-fits-all” is a big misconception. She’s right, and I love her for pointing out that:

“You can do anything you put your mind to, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”


The book is broken down into two key sections.

In Assessing Your Fit, Roth talks about running a business (and often doing less of what you love to do), the customers/investors/employees who are often your real bosses, the importance of both experience and business savvy, your risk tolerance, and the difference between ideas and execution. Sample Fare: “You may have gotten your hair cut every two months for your entire life, but that doesn’t mean you know how to run a beauty salon. When you are familiar with something, you may have a perspective on it, but that does not equate to business experience.”

In Assessing the Business Fit, Roth focuses in on understanding the opportunity and what you have to give up to start up. Sample Fare: “If you do not (or cannot) evaluate whether you will be making an appropriate return on your investment, and whether the financial trade-off of the business is worth the risk from a financial perspective, stop, drop, and absolutely do not quit your day job.”

While I don’t agree with all the author’s assessments (for example, I believe you can have far more control over your business than the book suggests), Roth has written a useful book for wannabe entrepreneurs to assess how much of their enthusiasm is about the idea of owning a business versus the reality of running one every day. So the next time someone tells you how lucky you are to “work for yourself” or “be your own boss,” just hand them a copy of The Entrepreneur Equation.

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