Friday, November 30, 2007

It’s Like Milking a Fish

So far this week, I've met with four entrepreneurs here in Nashville – all doing different things, but all incredibly passionate about what they're doing. Next week, I'll make my first trip to the very cool city of Madison, Wisconsin to talk to a group of current and aspiring young entrepreneurs about how they can turn their passions into a profession by paving their own path.

Those who know me know that I never planned on being an entrepreneur, but that I enjoy every single minute of it. There's risk, there's reward, there's freedom, there's excitement, there's disappointment, there's opportunity – and that's just Monday before lunch. And so when people ask me what it's like to start my own company and be a social entrepreneur, I tell them:

It's like trying to milk a fish.

I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure fish don't produce milk. Which is exactly my point.

When you're driven to live out your passions in a way that pays the bills, you have big dreams, big desires and big plans. You want to sell milk to anyone and everyone who wants and needs it.

But, reality sets in and you are restrained by budgets, staffing issues, development deadlines, social connections, and time. All you have is a lake full of fish.

And so I'm in a spot where I've got to try to figure out how to milk my fish.

On the one hand, I could sell my fish and buy some cows. Then, I could sell the milk I so badly dream of having. Or, I could decide to sell seafood instead. I'm not as passionate about it, but it's what I've got at the moment.

And so the entrepreneur finds himself or herself in one of two places: follow the passion or follow the opportunity.

If you're lucky, the two of these will intersect perfectly, and you'll be happy and rich. But if they don't, you may spend a lifetime trying to get dairy from aquatic life and it will never happen.

But at least you tried. Better to spend part of your life trying something new that you believe in than all of it wondering what could have been.

You have to at least try. Because as it turns out you can milk fish - but for eggs, not milk. But you'd never know it if you didn't take the time to try and figure it out.

Comments (45)

MACnopoly

1:46 PM

Its funny that you speak of trying to milk a fish. I have recklessly been beating my head against the wall trying to figure out how to make a million dollars out of two nickels and five pennies. So I'll give you a penny for your thoughts.

Its sensible to believe that no one enjoys living paycheck-2-paycheck. As most of us complain about having to go to work on Monday's As we go about our everyday lives trying to get milk from a fish. Your words have inspired me to do something different.

I've sat around long enough having big dreams and not waking up long enough to put them in action. Dreaming of milking a fish in its very literal since. It appears that there are people out there just like me looking for someithing new to do. Tired of this same ole' Sh*@! runnin' in this hampster wheel.

Thanks alot homey! I feel like investin' in an exotic cracker company, inkin a partnership deal w/ a small glass bottle distributor, and buying a boat.

Good look!

----macnopoly

Jeffrey

2:14 PM

hmmm, what are ya saying here Sam? CPC taking another direction in the future?

Jason at www.thriveal.com

1:25 PM

Great insight. Sometimes, you gotta just jump... it's the greatest jump I've ever made.

I found your blog from The Entrepreneurial Mind. I'll be following it.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

"On the one hand, you could sell your fish and buy some cows. Then, you could sell the milk you so badly dream of having. Or, you could decide to sell seafood instead" I am totally Confuse that what you could?


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We catch the fish in nets that will allow us to release it healthy and unharmed after milking them.

Very funny... yeah I have milked a fish.
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