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I often read comments or articles online saying: "you are your own competition", "everyone is different", "it's not because it works for one, that it can work for you", etc. ... As a rule, I agree that the path of an entrepreneur is highly personal. One must look in the mirror often, as the person one sees is sometimes the one who is slowing you down.

That being said, I think a certain amount of comparison is healthy for a number of reasons.

There is a lot to learnt from the mistakes and the successes of others. This is one of the bases of Growth Hacking. We look at what the successful people do in our industry, try what they do and see if it can work for us.

Another factor that is important is to fully understand the path that these successful entrepreneurs have taken. We often stop at the beautiful cars, big houses and millionaire lifestyles, but we do not see the other things: the number of years that the road to success took, the number of working hours per week, the difficulties and the problems they had to overcome, like some had to sacrifice marriage and family, and all of the financial risks. We only see the results. By understanding this, we are more likely to put our heads down and make a sustained effort rather than prepare for a sprint on the path to success.

There are certainly people who hit homeruns, meaning that they have a relatively fast road to success. But even those have put in a lot more time, effort, and often money, than the information suggests. A past mandate allowed me to rub shoulders with some of the richest people of my city. In almost all cases, people had developed their fortunes on relatively simple businesses (they did things better, but they had not reinvented the wheel) over a time span of several decades.

Each entrepreneurial path is unique; each have their own obstacles to overcome, different reasons for starting their business as well as their experience as an entrepreneur. But there are things that can be learnt.

Good thinking.


Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
Marketing consultant