Market Overview

5 Biggest Risks Every Entrepreneur Must Take

Eric Kuhn didn't plan on building a company from scratch.

He didn't intend to launch a startup, take it public and struggle to keep it alive when the stock market crashed.

But that's just what happened when, after going through law school, he realized that he had taken the wrong path. He didn't like his job at a big law firm. He wanted to get out and do something different with his life.

This led to the creation of Varsity Books. Kuhn took the startup from a two-man enterprise to a promising public company in roughly two years.

When the Nasdaq crashed, it could have ended his career as an entrepreneur. But he persevered and turned Varsity Books into one of the only companies that successfully returned to the Nasdaq after being delisted.

Kuhn sold the firm in 2004 and took some time off. After that he decided to launch FoundersCard.com, a premier savings and networking club for entrepreneurs.

"It is a niche business, but it's a profitable niche business," Kuhn told Benzinga. "We make money on the membership fees. To support the events -- because they're expensive [and held] at very nice venues -- we'll take sponsorships to help pay for the events."

Having played the entrepreneur game several times, Kuhn knows what it takes to get started and survive. Click through the slideshow to see his list of the biggest risks that every entrepreneur must take.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Posted-In: Eric KuhnNews Entrepreneurship Startups Tech Interview General Best of Benzinga

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    Take The Plunge

    Take The Plunge

    What's the number-one risk that every entrepreneur must take?

    It's not the amount of money that an entrepreneur sacrifices or the amount he or she raises.

    According to Kuhn, the biggest risk is simply the act of getting started.

    "Just to jump off and do it, whether that's quitting your existing job and actually doing it. It's the go live," Kuhn told Benzinga.

    "The number-one thing is to go live with your idea. And that's scary.

    "I've done it several times and there's nothing like it in terms of the rush you get. You're out there, your website just went live. You're out there to the world, you're putting yourself on the line. That sort of embodies the ultimate risk."

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Don't Be Afraid of Change

    Don't Be Afraid of Change

    There have been countless articles written about how much people hate change.

    It's a challenging phenomenon that everyone experiences at one time or other. More often than not, change can't be avoided.

    But entrepreneurship can be avoided -- and that's a mistake.

    Kuhn said that if you think about starting a business, you can't be afraid of the changes you'll experience along the way.

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Start Before Middle Age

    Start Before Middle Age

    Forty may be the new 30, but don't tell an entrepreneur that.

    "They say the older you get, the more risk averse you become," Kuhn warned.

    "I've heard many people say that if you don't become an entrepreneur by 40, you're never going to."

    Take Kuhn's advice and get started before it's too late!

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Break Free From Corporate America

    Break Free From Corporate America

    Corporate America may be alluring, but if you have a good idea, it's time to break free.

    "There are so many brilliant, bright people that are -- I don't want to say trapped in big companies -- but they're scared," said Kuhn.

    "So it's overcoming that fear of failure and being comfortable with that."

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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    Learn That It's Okay To Fail

    Learn That It's Okay To Fail

    More often than not, entrepreneurs obsess over the "it's okay to fail" mentality.

    Nonetheless, Kuhn thinks that entrepreneurs should become comfortable with a degree of failure.

    "Becoming able to risk failure broadly in a way that a lot of people who are overachievers -- whether it's from the time they were in school to graduate school to their first job or whatever -- there's this fear of failing," said Kuhn.

    "I think to overcome that risk is really important."

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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