Return on Entrepreneurship

Written by Verne on July 31st, 2007

Every now and then, my dad still likes to ask me whether I’d like to be a doctor or a lawyer, despite the fact that I’m one month away from finishing my undergrad in business. I’ve done a few things to journey away from what he would considere a ‘sound decision’ in his time – the first in studying for a non-professional career, and the second and most recent in opting to not pursue a desk job, but an entrepreneurial life instead. One more ambitious surprise and I just might give him an ulcer.

Over dinner tonight, he told me that in his day, the best opportunities for young adults like me would have been in either finding a secure job with the government (which you would work for your entire life), or in investing in further education. Along with an earlier conversation over the possible future return on my $40,000 university investment with my close friend and business partner Satish, I was intrigued to consider exactly what I have gained by taking ‘the road less traveled’.

I call it ROE: Return on Entrepreneurship. It is the sum of benefits, tangible or not, that have resulted in one’s dedication and commitment to an entrepreneurial way of life. (this includes the freelancers!)

Here’s some of my ROE after 3 years and 9 months:

  • I have learned the value of proper client relationship management and more importantly, how to do it
  • I have met and worked with some of the most innovative and talented individuals in the realm of marketing and design
  • I have seen the world from the little guy’s perspective so that I can appreciate the hard work it takes to be the bigger guy (a perspective I’ve yet to attain)
  • I have grown respect for people with an eye for design and the business sense to apply it effectively in the context of marketing
  • I have realized that managing people is an art, not a science
  • I have learned how to run a business with nothing more than a website and some love
  • I have given myself the opportunity to do something I am passionate about everyday

What’s your Return on Entrepreneurship?

5 Responses

  • Henry

    Well, theoretically I don’t have an ROE but I do have an ROA – Return on Accounting (yes I know you liked that :P). Even your acronym is a finance/accounting ratio

    In your world, you’ll always be looking up (I mean your height too…haha) but that way then you truly get to appreciate things rather than take them for granted..

  • Satish

    It’s a mixed feeling when you actually think about how many time’s we’ve questioned the university investment – but in the end it’s because of it that we’ve made our connections (me and you included), received our best opportunities, and made our most impact. So, courses aside, I guess I would pay $40k to do it all over again… well, I will. $100k+ in fact for an MBA a few years from now.

    The road less travelled, naturally, also happens to be the road with more bumps, potholes, and hitchhikers. But very seldom this early on will anyone else (that hasn’t taken that leap of faith before or put that time investment into their own business) have anywhere near the same appreciation for and understanding of the things you outlined as your ROE.

    I’ll be publishing a post about my ROE soon – will leave a link later today in response to your last question there.

  • Verne

    It’s true, I certainly appreciate the things that have come from my university investment – most of which has come from outside the lecture halls. Whether I’d do it all over again a second time (via an MBA), I’m not sure yet.

    I’ve had absolutely no regrets thus far since embarking on this entrepreneurial adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing more of my ROE come to fruition, and also reading about those of others alike (like yours, Satish).

  • Andrew Peek

    Satish – I agree wholeheartedly and I too am very intrigued to calculate/consider my ROE! Great post Verne!

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