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Dare to Be an Entrepreneur

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 9, 2006

One of the reasons I came to this country is that America is a land of opportunity and a country of freedom. One can easily think of so many examples: Condoleezza Rice, although born amid racism in the South, recalled her mother once told her, “You can be anything you want to be.” And the governor of California used to be a bodybuilder and movie actor — something you can’t find in other countries.

While all these stories are inspiring, I am often troubled by the questions that implicitly or explicitly come across to new entrepreneurs: “Have you done this before?” “What P&L responsibilities did you have in the past?” “Do you have experience as a CEO?” One person even told me openly (with good intentions) that I should be prepared to be replaced six months after I raise the funds for my own company!

For a first-time entrepreneur, these questions can be very intimidating — and if you are not strong enough, you can begin to doubt yourself. The most dangerous thing of all is that, after enough people start thinking this way, it can be mistaken as a truth. I have seen some founders looking for “a CEO who can lead the company to the next level” before they themselves even tried!

While it’s important to examine many facets of an entrepreneur’s background, especially if he or she is raising institutional funds, the very notion that founders cannot lead their companies to success is totally fallacious. If a bodybuilder and movie actor can be a governor, why can’t you and I be entrepreneurs?!

I encourage all first-time entrepreneurs to challenge themselves to learn fast, fail fast, and grow fast, in real time with their new ventures. Condoleezza’s mother is right. There is no limitation of our true potential, except the limitation of our own imagination!

Helen Wang
CEO and Founder
Silicon Valley, Calif.

Reader Comments

Imran Hakro

February 9, 2006 12:35 PM

Dear Helen wang, you are absolutely right! You really desearve to be a CEO and Founder because you really have the potentials to be a real leader. you opened my eyes to Be an Entrepreneur. you inspired the dare inside me.

Thanks alot.

Imran Hakro
MBA (Finance) student @ SZABIST, Pakistan

Sherrie Matlock

March 1, 2006 6:58 PM

Thank you so much for the motivation. I have become so discouraged about my vision because of all the "what ifs" I'm getting from everyone. Even those closest to me.

Wei Luo

March 4, 2006 12:14 AM

You are the role model for many! Thank you so much!

Helen Wang

March 8, 2006 6:11 PM

Imran Hakro,

I am glad you find this tip helpful and inspirting. I wish you a great success in your endeavor!

Syed Imon Rizvi

March 13, 2006 2:47 PM

This article is amazingly moving and very encouraging. There is no doubt that anyone can go beyond the limits. Sometimes it's your situation which keeps you away from doing it but determination, persistence and hard work absolutely can take you to the heights of success.

Sagar Jethani

March 16, 2006 12:40 AM

Condoleeza Rice and Arnold Schwartzeneggar are your examples of what's great about America?

One is a self-described beneficiary of affirmative action programs who wants to end such programs for others, and the other is an immigrant who wants to make it harder for people to emigrate to this country.

Is this what we are reduced to?

Phuong Pham

April 19, 2006 1:41 AM

Hi Helen,

Thanks for the motivating tip. That's given me more confidence in doing in what I am trying to do - setting up my own business.
All the best!
Phuong, Vietnam
Future-to-be Entrepreneur

Felix Nyong

August 31, 2007 11:39 AM


I find your tip very, very inspiring. I'm really motivated.


Felix Nyong, Nigeria.

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