Want to be a billionaire entrepreneur? Doing whatever it takes to make it happen isn’t enough.

It’s not often I read something that makes me say, “damn!”

Justine Musk, ex-wife of billionaire, Elon Musk, responded to the following question,“Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in all the necessary work required?”

Not only does she say the question is all wrong, but her answer stopped me dead in my tracks.


Determination and hard work aren’t enough

Her answer was simply, “no.”

Then she asks this question:


You’re determined. So what? You haven’t been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet. Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?”


When I read that, all I could say is, “dayum!”

That analogy is awesome. I put it this way though:


Being an entrepreneur is like getting up every day, opening the door at both ends of a full lion cage, and running through it as fast as you can wearing nothing but pork-chop underwear. Over and over again.

All. Day. Long.


At least that’s been my experience.


And that last part about being disoriented and bloodied and staring at the horizon? I put it this way:


I’ve stared into the abyss with no answers. Only questions.


Courage and luck

Then Justine wraps up her comments by saying the following:


Have courage. (You will need it.)

And good luck.  (You’ll need that too.)


Ha. I’d love to meet this woman and buy her an amazing cocktail.


What has your entrepreneurial experience been? 

Take a second to read the few paragraphs of the full article here.

What has your entrepreneurial journey been like? Has it been easy? Or do you do the shark-pork chop-underwear thing everyday?


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Feature image credit: Andrea Esuli Follow Shark attack!

14 thoughts on “Want to be a billionaire entrepreneur? Doing whatever it takes to make it happen isn’t enough.

  1. I love when an article makes you say “Dayum!” and this one is definitely one of those. The same can be said for racing. When you get to mile 20 of the marathon, that’s when the real race begins!…and you feel like you’re wearing pork chop underwear and there’s a pack of lions chasing you down.

  2. It’s unfortunate that Elon and his wife didn’t make it. I think he’s raising their 5 kids now, no doubt with help from nannies. Real entrepreneurship is fricking hard. Hard on the emotions and psyche of the entrepreneur, which can strain marriages to the brink. Add kids to the mix and well, it’s something most aren’t willing to go through.

    Both husband and wife need to be sold out together and be willing to go through hell (defined usually as financial ambiguity) for undetermined amounts of time. I’ve read parts of Elon’s story over the years, and even he’s lost a lot of sleep over making payroll and financing growth. Billionaire, Millionaire, Thousandaire, it’s a tough road for most of us. I cringe at those that get the big hit early because I think going through the fire in the long run, makes for better entrepreneurs and a better society with greater character.

    Thanks for the post James.

  3. I always take a bit of issue with the luck part. I don’t really believe in luck, unless we’re talking about playing the lottery, and even then, you have to go through the process of actually buying the ticket to be in a position to win. Real luck would be someone giving you their winning ticket. I’ve seen enough episodes of ‘The Lottery Changed My Life’ to know that they don’t always feel so lucky in the end. Why? Because they weren’t prepared for what they got.

    I believe I will reach a point in my life when people will look at my success and think, “she’s lucky”. To that I’ll say, they’re right, if only the definition of luck they’re talking about is ‘preparation meeting opportunity’. We’re all lucky in that case…some of us are just more prepared to see it and take advantage of it.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think the word luck can be controversial. I think luck is simply things that happen that are out of your “control.” Call it God, call it a blessing, or call it something awesome happening because of the Universe.

      I like the way Ariana Huffington talks about being able to only control 10% of what’s gonna happen, and trusting God to handle the details of the rest.

      I do know the more I hustle, the luckier I get!

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