The Anna in All of Us
How Anna Delvey's hustle is also a startup story
“Fake it til you make it” is all part of the hustle and entrepreneurship.
Silently, we become the small business owner who risks their family’s stability in exchange for a chance to make it big. We nod in agreement at a startup founder who navigated the headaches of immigration just to set foot in another country. In a way, we see ourselves in them — the sheer courage it takes to win is what we aspire for.
But there is a thin line between determination and deception. Which are side are you on in your current entrepreneurial journey?
Watching Anna Delvey’s story (Inventing Anna) on Netflix may be part fiction, but the fact that it’s based on a true story is riveting. I came for the scam and I stayed for the startup story.
How is it a startup story?
It starts with an idea, an acknowledgment of that voice inside of a budding entrepreneur that whispers — Hey, I think we should create this. Anna started with the same — an acknowledgment that she is entrepreneurial and that she can create.
Then the hustle starts.
Finding the right people who believe in you, getting your foot in the door, network, and meet the talent you can recruit for your mission. Every introduction is activation of serendipity. Anna did the same.
Building the dream means doing the work. You fine-tune your idea, create the MVP (she hosted parties for crying out loud), produce memos and decks, set meetings, pitch, and sell your vision. Anna did it all.
Let’s admit it. There’s an Anna in all of us as entrepreneurs. That is why most of us lie in bed at night asking ourselves if we deserve our accolades or just impostors.
Where did she fall short?
Did she oversell her vision without the fundamentals? Did she merely create FOMO (fear of missing out) across all her potential investors and funders? Where did Anna go wrong?
Was she deceptive or just determined?
Much like Elizabeth Holmes, the black outfit didn’t do much for her. Both of these ladies still ended up in prison.
Photo credits: Vanity Fair, SCMP.com
As you read their stories, it’s worth asking — Do they command and deserve respect? Are they the aspirational entrepreneurs we all agree should rule the world?
Maybe there was a mishap along the way and they were not able to fix it in time. Maybe they willfully committed crimes and hoped they wouldn’t get caught.
But really, you gotta admire how they convinced themselves and all the others while falling short on execution.
At the end of the day, we go back to business fundamentals — a mission, a solid idea, a good team, a working product, and the customers who are willing to buy what you’re selling.