Of Risk and the Entrepreneur

What is risk?

That question was posed by a professor to sixty MBA students who were executives of public corporations.

Is it risky to be an entrepreneur?

I was reviewing my notes from the book, The Millionaire Next Door this week, and transferring them to digital format. My copy of the book is so old, I think Gutenberg himself printed it. E-readers were a fantasy when this gem came out. And yet, the book is still relevant today.

In the book, when the professor asked that question,

One student replied: Being an entrepreneur?

His fellow students agreed. Then the professor answered his own question with a quote from an entrepreneur:

What is risk? Having one source of income. Employees are at risk…They have a single source of income. What about the entrepreneur who sells janitorial services to your employers? He has hundreds and hundreds of customers…hundreds and hundreds of sources of income.

I was asked a similar question recently at dinner with some new friends. When I mentioned that I went out on my own almost two years ago, one man replied, “Wow. That must have been scary and risky.”