Project Practitioners > Critics Are Your Friends

Critics Are Your Friends

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


“So you think you are an entrepreneur?” This question was asked of me by a boss that fancies himself a super entrepreneur (whatever that means). It came as we exchanged email addresses for scheduling purposes. This question took me by surprise.

There is no class to take, college to graduate from, or certificate to show you are an entrepreneur. So, to me, if you state you are one, you, at the very least, have the entrepreneurial spirit. Whether that spirit turns into a business is a topic for another day. The fact that I hate working for someone else gives me a pretty good indication that there is an entrepreneur somewhere in there.

People question your risk-taking, especially your parents. This current world offers everything at your fingertips, which is something they did not have. You can quit your job and start working for yourself on the same day. There is no grace period. If you want to sell baseball cards for a living, people are doing that. If you want to produce socks made from sheep you raise, people are already doing that.

A hobby can turn into a business with the stroke of a keyboard and the click of a mouse. Like they say in jiu jitsu, “A black belt is a white belt who never quit.” Entrepreneurship is very similar. You have your ups and downs, but the key is never quitting. Not everything will always work, so how you experience those failures in vital to your success. Either you win, or you learn.

Here are some criticisms you will hear throughout your entrepreneurial journey:



The reason you are promoting your product or service is that you realize its importance to the world. You know it will help people, and they have to hear about it for them to realize its benefits. Sure, making money is required, but helping others comes with the territory too.

Making money and promotion does not make you greedy. Trying to slice away at everyone’s pie without realizing you can just bake more pies is greedy. There is room for everyone else. Just because someone else has the idea first does not mean you cannot make it better and therefore your own.

Sitting behind a desk putting in forty hours or more while depositing checks for work you scheduled starts to eat away at you. That money could be yours. However, stealing that client is greed. Starting your own thing and building up a client base is entrepreneurship. Perspective is tricky.


Work Too Hard

Why do you put so much time and effort into this thing? Your belief is so strong that others start to wonder why you have gone insane. You spend your time at work thinking about it. You wake up in the middle of the night to add to it. This product or service has taken over your life. When you enjoy what you do, you do not call it work.

Do something you love, and you never work a day in your life. Happiness is the end goal of this journey. I would rather work for myself at half the salary than work for someone else. My hard work for others has made me realize this even greater.

That 5 pm email sent by an owner frustrates me when I am under the umbrella of a boss and organization. Working for myself, I invite those emails knowing I will respond while others will not. It is an opportunity to shine rather than a bothersome message too late in the day.



Because of your obsession, you start to alienate the people in your life naturally. If they are not helping, they are hurting, and you do not have time for people who inhibit your progress. This ‘change’ is you progressing and them trying to pull you back.

They want you to succeed, but they do not. They see the difference in your swagger and posture, and it becomes arrogance to them. Meanwhile, you are the happiest, most confident person you have ever been.

You start to make the product or service priority, and everything else must fit around it. In jiu jitsu, I hear excuses all of the time as to why someone does not show up more often. Work, family, location, and so on are all ‘reasons’ why a person can only come two days per week. What they are really saying is jiu jitsu is not priority enough for me to show up more often.

That change in perspective helps a great deal. The excuses only hurt the person. An entrepreneur and a black belt made sacrifices others are not willing to make to achieve great things.



There is no work/life balance for an entrepreneur. That work becomes their life. That obsession is what drives them to wake up early and go to bed late. That lifestyle eliminates people who have been in your life forever. Your passions do not intersect, and therefore, you become distant.

The life of an entrepreneur is not rainbows and roses. Social media makes it look like easy peasy when reality kicks a lot of ‘influencers’ in the face. The goal is to be in it for the long haul, not the short term 15 minutes of fame.

Most people, like my parents, say get a job with a stable organization that pays a consistent paycheck over time. Open that 401k and deposit small amounts that add up over time. Retire when you are 65 and live happily ever after. That life sounds miserable.

So I ask, “Do you think you are an entrepreneur?”

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