Startup Advice

Why US entrepreneur James Clear says business success is “rarely as sexy as it appears”

Dominic Powell /

James Clear

Source: JamesClear.com

When it comes to stories of success in the world of entrepreneurship, things can seem impossibly rosy. There’s no shortage of stories about new companies raising millions and then the founders of those same companies exiting years later for more millions.

In many cases, the years of hard work and sacrifice that made that apparent success possible are glossed over or simply not mentioned at all.

That’s why one entrepreneur wants to send a message that the timeless adage of “what goes up must always come down” applies to the world of business as much as in any other situation.

In a Twitter thread and accompanying blog post, prominent US author and entrepreneur James Clear outlined why “the success you see others experiencing is rarely as sexy as it appears to be”.

“When an entrepreneur talks about making $80k/mo, they neglect to tell you about the $65k in expenses. $15k/month profit is still a great life, but it’s not the $1M/year lifestyle you thought that person had,” Clear said.

“When a company talks about raising $7M in funding, they neglect to tell you about tensions with investors or lack of profits. When someone posts a video of themselves squatting 500 pounds, they rarely talk about training 5 days a week for a decade.”

Clear says companies and entrepreneurs are usually willing to publicly share the results of success, but keep the process behind it hidden from view. And this “deception of success” is becoming more pronounced due to the prevalence of social media.

“When your screen is filled examples of the strongest, richest, and smartest, it’s easy to overvalue the outcome & undervalue the process. You start to think there are people out there who have somehow “hacked life” such that there are only rewards and no consequences,” Clear writes.

Revealing the “great trick to success”, Clear said entrepreneurs have to want the associated “costs” just as much as the rewards.

He believes “jealousy and envy” in the world of entrepreneurship would fade if people were more open about the full story behind their success.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is a journalist at SmartCompany and a tech and music geek. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading or browsing record shops.

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