Not Born To Be 100% An Entrepreneur and I’m 100% Okay


by Ralph Layco | |

I’m not 100% an entrepreneur. The problem is, I thought I was.

After a period of failures, I realized I’m just multi-passionate; 30% an entrepreneur, 60% a communications/marketing guy, 10% of other mini-passions I’m still tending.

What never changes, I’m 100% determined.

The last ten years we were mesmerized about these unique creatures taking the limelight in the news and on TV. They projected so much promise, so much glorification that we can’t help but feel envy. AND, they are unbelievably young!

That geek guy who created the biggest social network. These young people who exited a startup company as a billionaire. These people mounting exhibits as young as 23. The sought-after photographers in their 20’s who’s taking the world by storm.

Their stories were not acknowledged lukewarm. It was celebrated like a pinnacle of success too huge for someone like me back in college, with a bank account next to zero and an expensive lifestyle heavily reliant to parents, to swallow.

I was once in that madness thinking I’d end up like Mark Zuckerberg, my generation’s trophy for success. Competitive and passionate, I had all the reasons to be like him, zoom my way to success by starting alarmingly young. “It’s ok, Zuck started when he was 21. I’m ripe for the next big entrepreneurial story”

Four years forward, I ended up building nothing like his, earning nothing like his, and instead, becoming the most fucked up wannabe of him. I don’t even code!

Failures, misdirection and a general vague feeling of emptiness, confusion and loss have a way to snap you to reality. That utter abandon of control of your life after fighting too many battles took place naturally and I was on the verge of ‘giving up’.

It was 10 in the morning of a regular Thursday last 2013 when my dad and I had a huge misunderstanding after reporting to him of another failed business. That disagreement turned out to be a blessing that snapped me back to reality. He told me “You should accept it! You’re not an entrepreneur!”

You’re not an entrepreneur.

All these years, I fought hard to be an entrepreneur. How could I not be an entrepreneur when it was all I ever dreamed of!

A little more time and a clear mind made me reassess his notion. Perhaps I’m not really born an entrepreneur.

Hmmmm, interesting thought.

’Honesty’. I’m at awe of how a word can feel so utterly uncomfortable but also very liberating. It’s a ‘slap in the face’ truth, but it’s a slap that we very much need to make us discern everything more visceral. Being honest can be an evolutionary leap.

Since we’re talking about honesty, let me be honest with society. We’re all drawn to the “success image” projected in Mashable or Inc Magazine. When the movie Social Network came out, suddenly the number of startups in Silicon Valley went up and people started wearing hoodies! Everybody was choosing to become an entrepreneur. We’ve heard of the hyped news of multi-billion dollar exits, but we didn’t know about the other side of the story.

The sad stories of those who didn’t make it.

So I suggest something otherwise; don’t be an entrepreneur, if you’re not born to be.

I hope you’re not drawn of the Zuck to be a Zuck. I hope you’re drawn to him to become successful like Zuck. Like Musk. Like Obama. Like Rowling. Like RR Martin. They became successful being themselves, driven by their unique curiosities. So be drawn by yours! The sensationalism of people ‘making it’ has nothing to do with us other than the utter possibility of greatness of humanity. Just be you.

What transpired in the next two years was nothing short of a miracle. I took the Strengthsfinder test, the Myer-Briggins test and keenly read about my profile. I checked the profiles of successful people with the similar personality . It’s like meeting yourself again, but now it’s not who I wish I was. This time, I dealt with the brutal reality. I didn’t major anymore in operations, checking spreadsheets and preparing paychecks which I dread to death. I started to major on my genius. Late 2014, I co-founded a company with my sister who now sits as the CEO. I took my ailing business operations to her control while I sit as the sales, marketing and R&D guy. I’m inspired, I am finally doing something I am deeply passionate about.

I reclaimed my power.

Perhaps what we need in life to create a breakthrough is just a little honesty to turn our lives around. Who you are, who you are not, and dismissing the idea of perfection to give way to what’s primal, to what’s real, to what’s true. And there, after that bitter, familiar truth is clarity that starts to design the life that looks and sounds and feels so like you. No trying, no struggling, only becoming. I realized, you cannot be anything you want to be in life as endorsed by pretty Pinterest quotes but you can surely be a lot more of who you already are. Now I cringe with the thought of being a hardcore entrepreneur. I’m not and proud.

So how do we move forward from confusion if our direction is not what we thought it is? If you still haven’t found your way, I say let’s be kinder to ourselves. Give yourself some slack and space. Go for a solo date in a café and eat your favorite pasta and laugh a little knowing this might take a while. Take this personal greatness mystery with humor. If you’re ready to take the honesty pill, take it.

Oprah said it best, “There’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.”

It’s a Tuesday morning, and I work today like I worked everyday for the past year as the Chief Marketing Officer of a multi-brand company I co-founded with my sister. I woke up in the wrong side of the bed but I went to work with so much enthusiasm. Drinking my first cup of coffee, I let my inner curiosity drive me in the remaining hours of the day. In the office I see my sister and I let her shine as the CEO, the entrepreneur image that was familiar to me. I support her, she’s shining. She took the call. She does what she does, I do what I do.

Everything’s okay. Just do you.

About Ralph
Ralph Layco is maverick entrepreneur, speaker and columnist for He mentors young startuppers and lives in General Santos City in the Philippines. He is the Founder and CEO of hair care brands Macho Mucho and Hairfood Co.