Sam Gimbel

Tech, Beer, and Strange Thoughts.

entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are Privileged

I'm about to launch a business with a few other wonderful folks. You can check us out at invite.brewcrate.com. It's incredibly exciting, terrifying, and awesome, and I couldn't have done it if I weren't incredibly privileged.

Which is to say, I built this business not just by putting in tons of hard work (although this did happen is happening), but by being in the right place at the right time with the right educational background and the right [incredibly supportive] friends. I am so very thankful that this has been made possible by all the wonderful people and circumstances surrounding me these days, but it's also quite troubling, because it means that not just anyone can start a business.

How To Start A Business

There are so very many articles on the web about how easy it is to start a business. They're all helpful, and they're all written by the same type of person: well-educated, great support network, and access to valuable, limited resources. If that describes you, great. You're set. You can probably start a business today if you really want to. If that's not you, things are trickier.

Why? Think about what goes into starting any business, even after you've thought of that incredible idea that just has to see the light of day:

  • Legal Work
  • Startup Capital
  • User Acquisition
  • Lots of work (time)
  • Networking within your industry
  • Marketing
  • PR
  • Production (of some sort)
  • Accounting

Each of these has an opportunity cost associated. For me, I've saved some money, I work at a tech company with an established User Acquisition funnel I can model my own after, I'm blessed with only having one job and not having any serious time obligations, and I know a lot of people in relevant industries. Out of the list above, only Legal was a real issue for me, and in light of not having to worry about the others, it turned out not to be a big problem.

Fair's Fair?

This is typically where someone would step in and say something like "if you are scrappy enough, you'll get anything done." wrong wrong wrong. Scrappiness can help you surmount one or two of the major foci above, but not all.

For example: If you're a person without much money, you can concievably go and take out a loan or find investment. The former is only possible with good credit (requires a good understanding of how credit works), and the latter only with a good network at your disposal. Contrary to what you may hear, money doesn't just fall into your lap because you have a great idea. The same goes for folks without a good support network, those who work more than one job to make ends meet, etc.

In truth, the landscape is far from fair, and some people will have a much, much harder time than others. I'm not saying that every person with more initial access to necessary resources will be more successful than those who don't, but the trend does exist. Additionally, barrier of entry is certainly more of an issue for folks without that access, a factor that accounts for many good ideas not being built.

You're Privileged. Get over it.

Here's the part where I tell you you're a horrible person for being privileged. Except, that's not the case either. There is a huge, implied question mark here regarding what to do with this information, but the first step is recognizing that entrepreneurship is a stratified world. The next step is to stop repeating the myth that it's a level playing field, because it's simply false.

For me, on the cusp of launching this new venture, I have hope that the lessons I learn will be applicable to others who want to start their own business, and that by identifying where my own privilege played into the launch of BrewCrate I can help folks without a guidebook find a starting point that works for them.

In the meantime, I'll never suggest you start your own business just because "anyone can do it." Do it because you love it, not because it's easy.