There are so many times when I give someone "feedback" and stress that it's not advice or my saying what they should do. It's simply an idea I want to throw into your stream of thought so that you have external opinion involved. I usually give this feedback via storytelling and relating ideas to war stories. Determining what to do with my opinions is your choice and I want you to make up your mind. When I do give feedback, it's to be helpful. It's not to tell you what to do.
Hence, I wanted to make an example of an interesting article I read about in the NYT. It's about entrepreneurs opening up gluten-free bakeries. Don't worry, this isn't a post about what to eat. Anyway, I laughed a bit about this one. Don't misunderstand my criticism as it's not aimed at the people in the article. Yet, if you do notice the name of the person mentioned, it's Helene Godin. She happens to be the wife of Seth Godin, famous author. She herself was a successful lawyer before deciding to get out of the rat race and start a bakery. The article helps me make a good point.
Don't dare take this article as advice. I cringe about some entrepreneur running out and starting a gluten-free bakery after reading this. Helene probably has many skills which are necessary to run a business and is not someone going into this blind. OK, so she learned how to bake in a crash course but that's not what's going to make her super successful. Further, she also has a marketing guru as a husband. Wanna bet he's helping out on that front? Finally, both she and her husband have money. Hence she can open a place in the best of locations in one of the far wealthier suburbs of Manhattan, where very wealthy commuters like to live due to the train station there. I'm quite sure her customers have plenty of spare cash and like to get high-end coffee and baked goods. It's a status thing.
My point is simple. I bet Helene will be very successful with her endeavor but it doesn't really matter to you if you want to start a business. She is not your "peer". Again, this isn't about bakeries. There are so often stories in the start-up world too where someone is profiled and readers think it's the "way it's done". "Hell, I can do that!"
You all too often don't know the details about why someone was successful. Don't presume you are "the same" and will figure it out just like the person being profiled. You probably are not. Do your homework and understand the business. Research the risks and make sure they are related to you and your life and not someone else's. If Helene's bakery flames out in a year or two it's a shame but trust me, she won't be sleeping under a bridge any time soon.
Misunderstand storytelling and profiles as "advice" and you may end up screwed and looking for a warm corner under the bridge. Like I said, some things are simply not advice.