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No defined gates

June 22, 2010

Over the course of the last couple of weeks I seem to have had many conversations about the differences between those who pursue business (and entrepreneurship) as a vocation and those who choose a profession such as medicine, law, engineering or accounting.

One of the key differences between these two paths is that in business we don’t have pre-defined gates or strict paths that we must follow in order to assure success.  Business people can come from anywhere, go anywhere and do anything.  As the founder of Polygon Properties once told me, “follow your passion and the money will follow.”

In pretty well all of the professions, particularly medicine, law and accountancy, if you follow a well established path then the probability of success is almost 100%.

In medicine as long as one: (1) gets into medical school; (2) gets a residency; (3) passes the Royal College examinations (4) gets a fellowship, and; (5) secures a job, then professional success is pretty much a sure thing.  In law as long as one: (1) gets into law school; (2) gets an articling position at a decent law firm; (3) passes the bar exam; (4) is asked to stay on; (5) makes partner then professional success is essentially assured.

Entrepreneurs and business people have more risks and must do more to find their own paths than really any other career.  This is why it is doubly important for entrepreneurs to: (1) find their passion; (2) figure out what they’re good at; (3) figure out where they can make a living and then go for it.

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