Is ignorance a key ingredient for success as an entrepreneur?

A while ago, I stumbled across an article by Lisa Cash-Hanson titled, “Ignorance Is A Key Ingredient For Success Brian Smith Ugg Founder“. As I read Lisa’s post, I began to reflect on my journey and wondered if ignorance IS in fact a key ingredient for success as an entrepreneur?

I’d like to share a few thoughts from Lisa and the founder of UGG and then get your opinion.

The “a-ha” moment

It was this quote from Brian Smith, the founder of UGG, in Lisa’s article that really grabbed my attention:

The vision of success is typical of the blind optimism shared by most people during the “a-ha” moment when they conceive their new dream. I believe that for a true entrepreneur, some degree of ignorance is a key ingredient for success. If you knew at the time all of the obstacles you’re up against, you’d never even start.

I began to reflect on the “a-ha” moment I had to start my business, which occurred in September of 2011 when I saw this clip on HGTV:

The clip inspired the “brilliant” idea to do something that required complicated software, and I didn’t even know how to write a single line of code-still don’t!

Brian’s quote made me wonder, if I knew about all the obstacles I’d face in the process, like having my twins born three months prematurely the day before beginning a startup accelerator, which was two hours away, would I have continued?

Or having the advanced knowledge that I’d run out of cash, have investors decide to not reinvest, then watch sales fall off a cliff, all while having to come home and take care of my twins, AND turn the business around – would I have continued?

Persistence Matters

This quote from Lisa resonated deep within me:

One of the greatest tips I can personally share with you is that you have to make a decision before you even begin and everything will stem from this moment. No matter how hard, no matter if you lack knowledge or funds or experience, determine that you will never ever quit. That is what will make you successful.

I completely agree with Lisa. In my case, it wasn’t a conscious choice though.

It so happens that not quitting and being persistent is hard-wired in my DNA. It’s just what I do.

Persistence is the key to success in a whole variety of areas in life, but particularly more so in the competitive business sphere. If interested, you can take a read at this blog “Lessons learnt while running a seven-figure startup” to gain inspiration on how to kickstart your startup. Getting things going for a startup is going to be a full-on experience as you need to be on top of everything that is happening so you are polished and ready to launch your idea. There are various ways that people can help themselves get to this point, whether they look at websites like The Santa Clarita Valley Signal for assistance with certain business niches, e.g. a cannabis company, or they speak to those who are already thriving in their sector to get some information from them at this time.

One of my friends works in sales and always tells me how important it is to never give up on a potential customer. Everyone in her office recently attended a sales training course ran by this company, and it has ignited a spirit of determination and steadfastness that is incredibly admirable. Training, whether it takes place on or off site, is one of those things that really can take a business to the next level and get staff working at their absolute best. If you run a business and feel like you could do with giving some, or all, of your employees some extra training, you may wish to check out these tips on how to implement a training program in your organization so that the training you do create will deliver the results you are looking for.

So, to insire you to be more persistent, here’s one of my fave graphics right now on this blog:

Persistence header

I tip my hat to Lisa for having the courage to start her business and powering through all the drama and adversity. And I agree with her that deciding to not quit (assuming you have a product or service for which someone is willing to pay a fair price) is CRITICAL to success.

As for the question of whether I would have gone down this entrepreneurial path If I knew all the obstacles I’d be up against? I think my answer is an emphatic YES.

I grew up in the hood where not much was expected of kids like me, and I had to overcome many potentially life-threatening obstacles to go to college and graduate Phi Beta Kappa; then go on to a top business school.

Plus I experienced the failure of a startup years ago due to desperation. So, with all of those experiences, plus the belief that my purpose in life is to be a successful entrepreneur and inspire others to be the same, I was poised to dig in.

And dig my heels in DEEP.

The bottom line for me is, I’ve had to fight for everything I’ve ever gotten, and I’m incredibly persistent. So, I think I would’ve charged head-first down the path of entrepreneurship even if I knew it was gonna be hard.

How about you?

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Feature Image credit: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig blind-leading-blind illustration Illustration By Frits


  1. I think so. But, it is that passion inside that fuels you along with your desire to improve lives in some way that keep you going. You don’t think about the possible problems (and there are many). Ignorance, some say, is bliss!

    Great read!

  2. I am so with you on this, as even though I do know now here, as well what I so didn’t back before I started my own venture, I still would continue on this path, as I truly love what I am doing now, as well 😉

  3. I think you’re right…if people knew what they were up against, they might never start. I know there have been many doubters just for my small business venture, and in the beginning, I felt like I was constantly having to “defend” my decision. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to start a business venture like yours.

  4. Thank you for the mention James 🙂 – We all have our own journey’s and each is paved with unique challenges and difficulties. But it’s those of us who refuse to quit that become known as “successful entrepreneurs” Have a great day and thank you again for the mention 🙂

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