There’s a fun game entrepreneurs play over drinks:
Imagine starting over, totally from scratch.
Probably in an unfamiliar country or something.
You have zero access to any of the capital or physical resources you have now.
You get to keep everything that’s already in your head: All the experience and hard-won learnings.
But that’s it.
How long would it take you to get back to where you are today, success-wise?
People like to imagine that the Richard Branson or Elon Musk types of this world would wake up unrecognizable in some exotic place and immediately concoct a scheme. They’d figure out some re-brand, re-selling of bananas (or whatever).
Within a week, they’d be being driven around in a Rolls Royce. They’d be wearing a five thousand dollar suit. They’d be hailed by the locals as an entrepreneur genius.
Or so the popular wisdom goes.
I think there’s one important question to ask about this game:
Do you get to take your Rolodex with you?
If you were to really “start from scratch”, do you get access to that mentor who set you on your path when you were young?
Do you get access to that first boss, who taught you everything you know about X?
Do you get that first client who unknowingly financed your first website… the website that landed you your second client…
You get the idea.
You can’t really remove entrepreneurial success from the environment it happens in.
An intricate and invisible web of social, psychological relationships weaves around you. It lifts you up and is as much a part of your success as your attitudes and thinking.
Entrepreneurs struggle when they operate from a place of total entrepreneurial isolation.
The internet enables more people to build small – and large (but decentralized) – businesses from home than ever. The side effect of this? Entrepreneurs are more disconnected than ever before in history.
It is now absolutely normal for a business owner to operate from home and only socialize with “civilian” 9-to-5er friends, or – at best – people in wildly different businesses to theirs.
The days of spending your time in close physical proximity to the people you’re accountable to – as an entrepreneur – are over.
This is problematic.
Isolation makes entrepreneurship harder than it should be.
This is why – if you really were to start over from scratch – your results would skyrocket the second you got someone in your corner. Genuinely support does tremendous things for the entrepreneur brain.
To drop into any situation and show up immediately as a focused, high leverage, execution powerhouse… requires help: Business success requires other humans to activate your social-primate brain that, in turn, motivates and focuses you.
The first thing Richard Branson would do if were he dropped (unrecognizable) into Marrakesh with ten dollars in his pocket… would be assembling a team.
You’re not supposed to do this by yourself.