Business Insights


A question I hear often from journalists when they are looking for article insights is: What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?

I usually say the normal stuff: Grit, drive, ambition, intelligence, motivation, discipline, blah, blah…

What I really want to say is, you need to be a god damn cockroach to succeed.

And here are my 5 thoughts on why that makes sense:
  1. You Can’t Kill Me Bro: Have you read about the failure rates of startups? You have a better chance of winning a scratch-off lottery ticket than succeeding in a new venture. If you don’t fail for all the normal reasons then you have your competitors trying to take you out as well. Like a cockroach, you need to be hard to kill. Spray my ass with pesticide and it feels like a newly minted air brush tan. I will do shots of raid like an Irishman drinking whisky on a Sunday morning. Step on me and I flatten out and crawl away. Throw me in the Hudson river and I’ll hold my breath for almost an hour. That’s enough time to latch onto something. Just like a startup runs out of money and needs to survive, I can run out of food and still live for 30 days. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly trying to survive and stay in the game until you MAKE IT.
  2. I Am Quick As Shit: Consider a cockroach’s size. These little bastards can run at 3 MPH. And in the business world you need to be fast as hell. I once had an idea for a business on a Friday, stayed up 2 days building the site and made the first sale on Sunday. I must take a product or service to market quickly because if I don’t, someone else has first mover advantage. 
  3. I Like Alcohol: Ever wonder why every startup has some kind of beer around? Yeah we work a lot and it’s stressful. Cockroaches love beer believe it or not.
  4. The World Is My Buffet: A cockroach will eat anything, wood, fabric, left over pop corn, your shoe laces etc and I translate that into the appetite for sales. I need to eat, to eat I need customers and I need those customers’ cash to survive. Small client, bad client, annoying client, cheap ass client, I don’t give a shit. When you’re an entrepreneur and just getting started I don’t want to hear how “The 20% that are your bad clients cause you 80% of the problems.” Ok, assistant professor of “Shark Tank”, when you only have a handful of clients, you deal with their shit and get paid so you can keep the doors open. I want to get my snack on, so good or bad, I am taking your business.
  5. If I Am Going To Be A Cockroach, I Want To Be The Best Cockroach: I don’t want to be the slow-moving Florida retiree cockroach or the Las Vegas cockroach wearing a trucker hat like it’s 2002 again looking broke. I want to be a NYC cockroach. The best of the breed, jacked up on steroids, tough as those from the city that never sleeps, with that New York Hustle that nowhere else in the world can compete with. And that is how you need to do business. Not settling to be good enough, not giving it your half-ass best, letting the chips fall where they may. You need to hustle hard, grind it out every day, be tough as nails, smart as hell and getting smarter every day, out working everyone else in your industry and never resting while your competitors sleep.

Instead of something as unappealing as a cockroach, maybe I will do one about a honey badger or wolverine next time. What do you think?