How Entrepreneurship is Like Dipnetting

How Entrepreneurship is Like Dipnetting

On Monday, I shared our dipnetting experience this year. Collectively, we caught 21. My contribution: 1. That’s right. I caught 1 salmon and spent nearly the same amount of time in the water as Mr. T. Since I had a lot of time to think about stuff as I was carrying my net and not catching fish, I realized our entrepreneurship journey is actually a lot like dipnetting (you all missed my analogies this summer. Admit it!). Here’s how:

Nets Out of Water Don’t Catch Fish

I really wanted to catch fish. And I did take breaks when I got tired. But I also knew that if I stayed out of the water, I literally had no chance of catching a single fish. If you never try your project, you’ll never succeed. If you don’t apply for the job, you’ll never get it. You actually have to put your net in the water and see what happens. Is there a chance you’ll catch nothing? Yes. Is there a chance your net will break and you’ll be out some money? If you paid for your net, yes. Is it also possible you’ll be the one person in the water that catches 20 fish? Yes! And you won’t know until you try.

Try 3 More Times When You Want to Quit

I recently read Think and Grow Rich. I didn’t love it, personally, because it read like a giant infomercial, but the entire point of the book is that the people who succeed are the people who try just a bit longer. When other people quit, they try just a few more times before giving up and then find crazy success. Will this always be the case? No. But when I was fishing and not catching anything, I got tired. It’s tiring not succeeding (and watching other people succeed). When I wanted to quit, I told myself: “I’ll do 3 more passes and then I’m done.” On the second pass, I caught my 1 fish!

Success Compounds

Sure, I only caught 1 fish, but you know what? After I caught that 1 fish, everyone on the beach cheered. Literally. (This is why I love dipnetting. Everyone knew I hadn’t caught yet.) And even though I only had 1 more pass in the 3 passes I promised myself, I lasted another hour after I caught a fish! The reward of success helps make the hard work worth it. It’s hard to slog through the cold water with a heavy net when you don’t see results.

Keep Reasonable Expectations

Mr. T and I dabble in entrepreneurial efforts, but we honestly don’t seek to create a million dollar company. That sounds like way more stress than our lives currently have and that’s not the point. When it came to fishing, we knew the fish counts were low. If we still expected to catch a ton of fish, we would have been really disappointed with our 21. As it was, we did really, really well and we were super happy with our 21. It’s good to set big goals, but it’s also good to celebrate the wins along the way and make sure your expectations are reasonable. Online, we mostly only hear about people that are huge, wealthy successes in entrepreneurship. My guess is that for every 1 of them, there are 100 others that are doing pretty well and changing their lives through entrepreneurship. They’re paying their mortgages with profits and plugging along.

Why Entrepreneurship?

Honestly, dipnetting is a great example of why we want a life of entrepreneurship. We want to be able to cover our bills, work together, work while the kids are in school, and be able to take off to dipnet or travel whenever we want without too much work getting in the way. Again, we aren’t looking to be the next internet stars of entrepreneurship. We just want to make our lives simpler while the kids are at home, pay off our mortgage, and pay for travel.

Are any of you paying your bills with your own business? If not, do you seek to do so?


Dipnetting 2017: The Year With Less Fish


Healthcare Costs: The Wild Card


  1. It’s a great analogy. I think there is an element as well of trying, learning and growing. We don’t figure anything out sitting on the bank and we don’t learn new skills. I am pushing myself to try, test, and learn in so many uncomfortable areas. Winning doesn’t look like 20 fish for me. If I’m in the water, that’s succes step one. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      EXACTLY. Get in that water! (and you seem to be catching those fish!) Well done, you!

  2. AdventureRich

    We haven’t taken the plunge into entrepreneurship and for a long time, I thought I never would. Now, I’m reconsidering, thinking of ways to craft a lifestyle and business that would be conducive to our desire for FI 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      I mainly want our time to be our own! And I really like the idea of working together as a family for all things.

  3. I’ve been self employed for most of my life, punctuated by brief stints of working for someone else. All in all, its been a very satisfying existence. There is something motivating about knowing that you are completely in charge of your own success. My father defined success as “getting up one more time than you fall.” He was right, and so are you.

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m glad to hear self employment has been satisfying for you. Mr. T and I were both raised by small business owners. It was always a family affair and they could take off on family trips when they wanted. We realized how spoiled we were. Someday we hope to create that for our little family.

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