Dream Big, Sleep Small

I get it. If you are Latin American, you have roughly 1 in 14 chances of becoming an entrepreneur. Wait, it gets worse. Only around 1 in 22 of you will make more money than the “safe and relaxed” full-time employees.

Like most of you, I was excited about the possibility of one day leaving my full-time job to finally have my own company. That could place me in that 1/14 of the population and hopefully maybe one day, I could be in that 1/22.

Bad news, it doesn’t get easier. Except for “eating glass,” I can confirm Google’s thoughts first-hand.

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One of the main issues failed entrepreneurs find is that they need to eat and (usually) feed their families too. Eating is something really annoying, not only because it takes valuable time out of your busy day that you could be using to work on your ideas or new business, but also because you need money to buy food. And yes, entrepreneurs don’t make any money at the beginning. With some luck, you won’t have to spend all your savings resulting in your first of many divorces (did I mention that when you become an entrepreneur, your personal life doesn’t exist anymore)?

Then what? Well, if by now you still want to be an entrepreneur, only two minor challenges lie ahead: dream big and sleep small, really small.

Considering that you probably don’t want to stop eating, you most likely don’t want to quit your full-time job either. Then don’t. You don’t need to have the courage of William Wallace to start your own business. But you do need to be ready to sleep small, really small. For the next two years, you’re looking at sleeping an average of five hours a day and, yes, that includes weekends too. Don’t expect things to be easy, you will actually have to pause all the things you enjoy in life to pursue this dream of yours. It’s unrealistic to think that working only 20 hours a week in your new endeavor will get you where you want to be. It won’t. So reconsider your sleeping habits, reducing your social and love lives and now you’re one step closer.

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Ok, you made it. You spent two precious years going through life like a lonely zombie, but you finally made it. You quit your full-time job and your new business is giving you 75% of the income you used to have, but you’re a happy entrepreneur. Welcome to the 1/14.

The road is not over; I have more bad news. Now you have to become a successful entrepreneur.

The problem here is that you’re happy with what you achieved. Unfortunately, happiness and fulfillment don’t lead to success. It’s actually the opposite.

You dreamt about having your own business, but did you really think about being very successful? Because as far as I can tell, you’re now dealing with 20 times more responsibility, a lot of instability, and you’re not even making that much money.

Well, now it’s time to dream big, really big.

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Part of the reason why you will fail to be in the 1/22 is that you have achieved what you always dreamed. I don’t blame you. If you have been sleeping only five hours a day for the last two years, maybe you didn’t have time to dream bigger.

Here’s the secret: take your short-term dreams (“quit my job,” “own my company”) and then take your long-term bigger dreams and put them in a completely separate box.

Don’t get me wrong. Short-term dreams are super important and also a prerequisite to achieving your big dreams. So make sure you’re methodical, tenacious, organized and get things done. However, the only thing that will take you to the next level is your ability to dream big.

Just a final warning. If you’re a really good entrepreneur, you will never achieve those big dreams. And if you do, you’ll set even bigger dreams. However, chasing those dreams is what will not only make you a part of that 1/22, but also keep you alive and happy for the rest of your life. At the end of the day, what are entrepreneurs if not Big Dreamers?

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