The Reals of Entrepreneurship
'Entrepreneurship' and 'Entrepreneur' have become such glamorous terms. We hear someone describe themselves as an 'Entrepreneur' and think 'I'm sure he drives a sports car' or 'He has multiple big businesses' or in some cases 'this person is creatively broke'.
We would never usually think to associate Entrepreneurship and personal development. Afterall, what does a business have to do with the person running it? Everything. It has everything to do with it. As an Entrepreneur, you ARE your business.
Many people see Entrepreneurship as an escape, a better alternative to a 9 to 5 job. Obviously, 9 to 5 roles differ, and of course no type of working is easy, but the reality is, Entrepreneurship is not a better alternative to a 9 to 5. In fact your working hours will increase from 8 hours to 24. In the 9 to 5 working world, your tasks are known to you, your employment limits lie within your job description, anything outside of that 'isn't your job' or 'responsibility'. Representation of company values is spread across everyone doing their respective jobs properly. Business efficiency is a shared responsibility between all employees. Financially, you're secure. You know there is an x amount of money coming in each month and you can budget your time, and your life, accordingly. When your job finishes at 5, most of the time, you can too.
There has been a boom in Entrepreneurs for a reason, especially confident young millennials who want more control of their lives and earning potential. It's been great to see so many people launch creative businesses across various industries, but it's also been sad to see many of these businesses short lived because people have gone into Entrepreneurship with a positive ideal of what it will be, and dismissed it when they realise reality won't always match that.
Entrepreneurship is lonely. You are everything. Your mind doesn't switch off of tasks. In fact, as you note the tasks you need to do, you realise that there are even more tasks that need to be done within that, and that lies on you either doing them yourself or finding someone that can. You have to talk yourself out of giving up when things don't go well for potentially months on end. You have to motivate yourself even when that's the very last thing you feel like doing. You have to learn how to quickly change shoes from business owner, to potential customer, to social media marketer, to accountant and back again.
Entrepreneurship is FAR from glamorous in the beginning. The examples we see of successful entrepreneurship are often polished outputs of decades of unheard hard work, messy risks, failures and difficult personal battles.
Entrepreneurship is an optional, yet courageous path of personal development. You will see yourself manifest and unfold in ways previously unknown to you, and it will feel like you won't have time to question yourself because you have 'more important' things to do so you're left half picking up the pieces and half leaving them there.
This isn't an article to drive anyone away from Entrepreneurship. If anything its preparation for those ready to go for it, those that are REALLY ready to be committed to a level of hard work that 'isn't by force'. For current Entrepreneurs to the ones thinking of making this very interesting transition, I urge you to consider these 4 things:
1). You cannot separate from your business.
Even when you're taking time to 'rest', it's so you can re-energise to put more into your business. You are the source of value and purpose behind your business. Without you, where will people find out what your business stands for? How will the people who work for you understand company values without your teaching? Who is going to have to translate these values into means various key stakeholders can understand? People will know your name, your business name and then sequence how those facets correlate simply from how you carry yourself. Your personal brand becomes a silent logo for your business. The way you live your life will reflect into how you do business. Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) lives his life by a 'Regret Minimisation Framework', centred around not regretting trying when he looks back on his life at 80: look at his life and company today.
You cannot separate from your business - Be prepared to be your own brand ambassador through your daily living. If you're selling weave and/or hair services, how well done is your own hair? If you're into events management, how do you make being around you an experience? If you're into people management, how well do you naturally relate to others?
2). Self-sabotage is not the answer.
The average amount of self-doubt that an Entrepreneur will experience is countless. From ideas that seem 'too big' to being faced with tasks that have you asking yourself 'am I really cut out to do this?'.
Get used to it. Yes. Get familiar with the idea that you will question yourself. Throughout your entrepreneurship journey you will do bigger, better and greater things that will be as exciting as they are scary. The earlier you know how to prepare yourself for these moments, the better you'll deal with them as they arise.
Self-Sabotage is not the answer - Remember who you are and why only you can do what you've set out to. Remember that the resources you have are a great place to start getting answers when you have questions. Friends, colleagues, family members... get talking to them. Even those outside of your usual network, never be afraid to ask a question. Don't see no as an end point, rather see it as an opportunity to do things differently or ask elsewhere. Taking a step forward makes taking the next one almost automatic. Try it now. Try and take a step forward with your right foot and see how naturally your left wants to follow...
3). Passion keeps you going.
If money is your motivation for being an Entrepreneur, you're better off asking for a pay rise at work. Before the money comes in, it's passion that's going to spur you on.
You may have to do some free work, some free giveaways or even volunteer work. At this point it's your passion for doing what you do and wanting to do it well that's going to to substitute for money. In fact, a very important question entrepreneurs should ask themselves is 'Do I love this enough to do it for free?' Many entrepreneurs will tell you have much money they've lost, how broke they've been, money they've even said 'No' to in their journeys before making big moves. Entrepreneurship fails for many because they don't accept that it often begins with being purpose driven, then money coming in after that.
Passion keeps you going - Remove money from the equation and you're left asking yourself some very honest and value based questions. And the answers from that will be your answer when people ask you what you're all about. Funnily enough, that's what will bring you the money. Because people buy into people... including their stories and experiences.
4). Great things take time... and great people.
You're walking into Entrepreneurship very blindly if you think you're going to start making fat cheques as soon as you promote your business. It's going to take time to get your name out there, it's going to take time to start making real money, it's going to take time to nurture key relations, it's going to take time to invest into bettering yourself into a more robust, and situationally adaptable version of yourself. As an Entrepreneur, you will learn so much about interdependence. Coming together and collaborating with other strong entities to do even bigger things. You will have to trust, you may get let down, but this is all part of the process.
Great things take time... and great people - Fact is, you can't do everything on your own. There are people who do the things you need to do for your business for a living. Work with them, employ them, communicate your vision with them and trust them to produce the necessities that match your vision. Great teams made of great people will get you so far. And the further you go, the bigger, and stronger, this team will get.
As previously mentioned, this is not to put anyone off of Entrepreneurship, but rather to more realistically prepare people for what it is about, or what there is to follow. Entrepreneurship is a rewarding journey, all the obstacles and lessons that occur do so around you and what you love.
How else could you ask to spend your life than in manifesting your purpose?