A new era for small business emerged a few years ago and most aspiring entrepreneurs missed it. Still reeling from a decade during which the U.S. experienced a dramatic 36% drop in new start-ups, many prognosticators and small business owners alike were caught unaware and unprepared.
The entrepreneurship game has changed. Google returns 710,000,000 results for “entrepreneurship” and 91,700,000 results for books on entrepreneurship – hardly an indicator of a slowdown, so what’s happening? It’s estimated that nearly 10,000,000 entrepreneurs exist in unexpected places like Ebay, Etsy, Poshmark, and Amazon, where they launch micro-businesses through which they earn all or part of their income. Another 1,000,000 are involved with Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and Turo. Approximately 10% of the U.S. workforce isn’t tracked as an employee or an entrepreneur. More than 25 million Americans are starting or running businesses, and 500,000 new businesses are launched each month.
The gig economy and the rapid rise of independent contractors, freelancers and on-demand workers is leading the US job growth and driving new business opportunities. This is the future. 50% of the Gen Z members say they will launch their own business, and the existence of the marketplaces and entrepreneur platforms reinforces that possibility. Entrepreneurship opportunities are more available than ever.
In this era of possibilities, and new models of business, sage advice from an old nursery rhyme seems most appropriate.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses
And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Humpty Dumpty, stunned and shattered, serves as an icon for entrepreneurship and resilience, and his lessons withstand time.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall because there was one. Eliminate all walls and obstructions, emotional, physical and intellectual. The comfort of a wall provides a safe space for an entrepreneur who must embrace change, risk and courage.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Entrepreneurship epitomizes vulnerability. It is uncomfortable, often results in failure, and is judged constantly. Courage and fear meet at the crossroads of entrepreneurship. There are those nagging walls and emotional hurdles that require terrifying confidence and commitment. Entrepreneurs fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. Recovering from a fall can’t ever be delegated. Entrepreneurs get back in the game. No matter how shattered, an entrepreneur puts the pieces together again, and often in new and more resilient ways. Entrepreneurs survive the fall and learn from the experience.
Humpty Dumpty’s story of complacency, risk, failure, and recovery is a story of entrepreneurship. Traversing the walls, falling from complacency, leaning into vulnerability, viewing the world from the bottom while aspiring for the top, recovering gracefully, and facing an uncertain future is the world of entrepreneurship. Are you ready?