This may have always been a thing; entrepreneurs becoming celebrities. Look at Steve Jobs, Alan Sugar or the likes of Arianna Huffington; they’re all incredibly popular and in every sense celebrities, and not just in the world of business and entrepreneurship. What brought this to the forefront for me is how our world has changed since Arriana Huffington was growing her business.
When some young people think about entrepreneurship, they think about how popular they could be. Rather than whether the business they are creating could solve a problem for their target audience. There is a very instant approach to getting there too, with the ability to build and launch a website in a day if one wanted to; some of the younger go-getters believe that success is that simple. Little do they know that after a launch, comes the real grafting.
This is only some and does not sum up an entire generation, who are being called the millennials who are more focused on the fast route, rather than the patience one needs to become a successful entrepreneur.
On the other hand, when we consider how much work goes into not only launching a business, but sustaining and growing one, how could one not be seen as a celebrity? But, even when we’ve worked the long hours and built a successful business, could this mind-set hinder our ability to connect with others on the same journey? I was recently at an event with over 100 entrepreneurs and due to the nature of the event, we were indeed surrounded by individuals who are successful. This unfortunately resulted in a very icy and uncomfortable experience. It was as if everyone wanted to have their egos rubbed with every conversation and if that didn’t happen, they sure did it themselves.
To add to the question, I spoke with Keith White Head of SEO, PR & Marketing at Dobell Menswear and this is what he had to say:
“Entrepreneurs are already celebrities, and have been since shows like US & UK versions of The Apprentice, Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank, Peter Jones’ Tycoon and Duncan Bannatyne’s Seaside Rescue, plus the many, many more began flooding our airways back in the mid 2000s.
They are often the sought after names to be associated with, as their successes are real, and not fabricated or as fragile as a passing pop-star – the celeb of old. They are seen as approachable, real people, who others can replicate, but I do worry that becoming an entrepreneur is seen as the quick route to success and fortunes, in this day and age by Millennials, without a true understanding of what is really needed, in terms of ability, drive and sacrifice, to make it to the highest of levels.
You can look at the successful positions some of the big names currently have; when you start to do your research on them, and read their ever popular celeb-like autobiographies, you might discover off-putting financial failings such as bankruptcy and relationship breakdowns; things that not everyone could recover from, or want a part of, in the first place.”
Being able to connect is such a normal thing, because at the end of the day, we are all human beings, we are not our business. I know, we’ve spent a good chunk of our lives building a business we can be proud of, but people connect with people. I could love your business model, but fail to connect with you as a person if all you show me is your business model, and how much you turned over last year.
What happened to the person behind the business?
Oliver Warburton, co-founder of Ecigwizard, shared his personal view on the topic. As a younger entrepreneur, it was interesting to hear his perspective on instant success.
“I remember watching Dragon’s Den back in the first series in 2015, a fresh-faced 25 year old entrepreneur. Enthusiastic and driven, but very much living on a shoe-string budget as I built up my latest business. I instantly fell in love with the slick clothes, the fortress-like piles of cash and most of all the razor tongues. I was quick to buy my favourite’s autobiographies as they cashed in on the show’s success (Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis, James Caan).
Anyone with a hunger for success definitely latches onto these entrepreneurial-celebrities. You don’t just want their fortune, you want to adopt and carry off their entire appearance. The power, the swagger. However, for the next ten years I came to learn that Dragon’s Den is just a cameo of what really goes on in an entrepreneur’s life. The show is like a pantomime, and you are seeing just one act of an entire life’s play. Real success is not something you can emulate over-night, so there really is no way of playing out instant gratification.”
When you step foot into the world of running your own business, you quickly understand that the glossy magazines will only showcase what happened after the hard work, and after the failures. The title of an entrepreneur has somewhat changed too, and many are not aware of what it actually means to be one. In my view an entrepreneur is the person carrying out 5 different roles at the same time, the person who has practiced patience and understands that success isn’t fast, it takes time. They have the ability to pivot when the chips are down and are capable of maximising any experience to achieve success. Of course, success is personal, so this defers to each entrepreneur.
Ted Nash, Founder of Tapdaq and VP at AppBox Media also shares his view on entrepreneurs as celebrities.
"Entrepreneurs have one thing in common with celebrities: we recognise and seize opportunities that we know will grow our businesses and build our brands. We are normal, hard working people who have taken our success and grown it to a level that attracts attention inside and outside of our core industries.
In a world with 24/7 news cycles to fill, there is just more opportunity these days to be recognised for an achievement outside that of the celebrity norm. It is because of this hunger and demand for content that, occasionally, entrepreneurs transcend their businesses to become celebrities in their own right.”
It is about the grafting and the long hours that we spend at our desks on in our studio, because at the end of the day, passion and hard work can be rewarded for what it is. The hunger for success isn’t just about gracing magazines or winning countless awards for sure, but currently the more accolades you have, the more opportunities you have to share your business with the people who need it. This of course leads to more visibility, who doesn’t want more visibility; it’s why we have marketing.
He further leads on to say:
“It’s my past successes and my willingness to promote both myself and my businesses that have put me where I am today. I do it for the good of the business, not for personal gratification."
I also spoke with Adrian Nantchev and he shared some of his thoughts on entrepreneurs and how they may grow to becoming celebrities.
“I believe that entrepreneurs will become a celebrities over time as they are reported in the news; people will hear about their achievements and either be in awe of them, or despise them. Their achievements could be with regards to helping people or even financial results. The general public will recognise entrepreneurs doing the things they want to do.
Entrepreneurs make things happen, and this generates excitement from other people. We have the Alan Sugar, Richard Branson and James Dyson, as a few of the famous British Entrepreneurs. They make things happen and build things in their own way, so when people hear about these things happening: they talk and they gossip. And as they share stories of accomplishments: the entrepreneur's name tags along and people begin to recognise them.
When you've done something big, remarkable and with a purpose: people will hear about it. People will talk about it and people will talk about you.”
Entrepreneurship will always be a topic of discussion, because as our world changes, so does the challenges of achieving success. It isn’t about getting there as fast as possible for the fame of it all, but it’s about embracing the journey too. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they didn’t start out to be well-known, they started to change lives and live their own purpose. Whereas, nowadays there is a small group who start out for the fame without understanding that the road can be long, lonely and rocky. They tend to drop-off when they realise the impeding hardships and possible failures.
You cannot beat an entrepreneur who has guts and patience, so no matter how different today’s world is or how some of the millennials see things. If you’re not prepared to roll up your sleeves, make mistakes, learn from them and try again, you won’t get very far. Are entrepreneurs celebrities in their own right? Absolutely, and it’s very well deserved too, even if their personal life isn’t the life you’d like to live; their businesses are changing the world.
Let's keep the discussion going in the comments section. What do you think?