I have a few guy friends who are into fantasy football. It amuses me how “real” the decisions seem, how much time they spend thinking about their team picks or talking about their “teams.” It really is like the real deal but it’s all up in their heads. It’s just fun for them, entertainment, a hobby. One guy calls himself a “wannabe” big time coach.
I’ve just been at the Novice to Advanced Systems (NAMS) conference that takes place in Atlanta twice a year. This was the 11th NAMS conference. (The next one will be August 1-4, 2014 and if you’re interested in attending you can check it out by clicking here.) I enjoy NAMS for a few reasons – there are always some top-notch marketing brains teaching there, the crowd is like family because we’ve all met together for so many years, and I get to see friends in the internet marketing industry I otherwise only “see” on my computer’s web cam.
But this time around I realized that for some of the long-time NAMS attendees their internet-based business is just like fantasy football – it’s all in their heads. And that makes me incredibly sad for them – for their shortsightedness, for their fear-based behaviors, for their excuses that seem to them so rock-solid and real.
As I sat listening to some of the friends I’ve made over the past 5 years at NAMS I realized I was hearing the exact same conversation I heard from them back last August at the last NAMS, and even before that at the previous year’s NAMS. They are “still thinking” about doing an internet-based business. They are “waiting until their jobs get less busy” or “waiting until they know more.” (That last one is particularly sad to me – you can never study your way into a business.) To them, their excuses and holding back seem perfectly normal and justifiable. Those of us listening know that this coming August we will hear the exact same thing again.
I suddenly realized that these people have fantasy businesses. They spend an incredible amount of their time thinking about what they might do, spending money and going to conferences and training about what they might do, talking to anyone who will listen about their great idea. Their internet-based business is actually entertainment for them. It fills whatever free time they have. It’s a hobby for them to think and plan about having their own business. They are “wannabe” small business owners. The only difference between them and fantasy football players is that they don’t realize it’s all a fantasy – they honestly believe that one day they will just up and do what they’ve been talking about for the past 5 years.
In another two years these people will still be showing up at NAMS (and probably other conferences, too.) They are in love with the idea of having their own business but they are far too excuse-ridden and fearful to ever actually take the actions needed to open their business. They are risk-adverse. They analyze options endlessly but never decide, fearful they might not be making the one most perfect decision. They will talk your ears off about what they “are going to do.” What you hear from them is the same “idea” or “plan” you heard 2 or 3 years ago. Their lives are standing still and the years are going by. They are unconscious about their own impending death. They talk like they will always have the “room” in the future to do their thing. The truth is, they won’t. None of us do.
There are solid opportunities around which to build one’s own business. None of them will come to fruition without action and taking risk. I’ve realized that there are fantasy business owners just like there are fantasy football players. For these people the idea of having their own business is an entertaining hobby. They’ve got the capability but they don’t have the will to implement.
Want to read more about life as a small business owner (real life, not fantasy). Here’s an article about how to turn fear into profits.