Twice in the last two weeks I had the honor of speaking at Northeastern University’s Health Sciences Entrepreneurs Program. It’s a terrific program, dedicated to fostering the creation of health care businesses by helping the people who build them figure out how to do it. That it exists is a testament to how strong the American spirit of entrepreneurship really is – and how the 21st century economic engine is going to be health care.
But the hundreds of students and alumni who attended the events already knew this. What they wanted to know were the answers to more practical questions – how do I know if it’s a good idea to try something? What happens if I make mistakes, or fail? Do I really need to start a business to be an entrepreneur? What opportunities does the changing world of health care create?
They’re the right questions because they’re hard. Being an entrepreneur means you’re willing to look at the world as it is and want to make it as you think it should be. It means being willing to take risks, try new things, and not being afraid to fail. In fact, if you listened to the panels of highly successful entrepreneurs, you’d think failure was a big part of what entrepreneurs do. You can’t create something new without making mistakes along the way.
At the end, we were all asked to give one piece of advice to the budding entrepreneurs.
Mine was this: Do Something Cool. Always put yourself in a position where you’re doing something that is so cool you want to tell people about it. When you don’t think it’s cool anymore, leave, and find something else that you think is cool. Don’t worry about whether it means starting your own business or working with someone else who has. Put yourself someplace where you think you are changing the world.
If you can do that, you’ll be an entrepreneur.
Evan Falchuk is President and Chief Strategy Officer of Best Doctors, Inc. Prior to joining Best Doctors in 1999, he was an attorney at the Washington, DC, office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson, where he worked on SEC enforcement cases. You can follow him at See First Blog where this post first appeared.