“You don’t need to work for someone else, you just need to work for yourself.”
The phrase I have seen over a thousand times in Facebook groups, tweets, Instagram posts – you name it.
Someone exclaims they are fed up working in the “rat race” and everyone chimes in:
“Quit. Be your own boss.”
“You can work for yourself!”
“Just take the leap and have your own business.”
The issue I have with this is that they are glamorizing the entrepreneur lifestyle.
Cue Reality Check
Being an entrepreneur is not leaving your 9 to 5 on Monday and being rich by Friday.
It isn’t less hours, less work, income security, and less stress (it can be eventually – don’t get me wrong).
In fact, when you are starting – IT’S THE OPPOSITE!
When you are your own boss, you are just that – YOUR OWN BOSS!
That means EVERYTHING falls on you.
If Target, McDonald’s, Wells Fargo, or MetLife has a bad quarter, you are still getting paid.
If they have a devastating quarter (or quarters) and have to do lay-offs, you (if you are lucky) are still getting a decent severance package and the time to find a new job.
Worst case scenario – you can file for unemployment.
With your own business, if you have a bad day, week, month – bills are not getting paid, needs are not being met, and panic is about to set in.
What about retirement and health care benefits? It is now up to you to find a solution.
You’re Exaggerating. It Can’t Be That Bad!
I am a part of four wonderful business organizations and when I attend meetings, the concerns that I hear are:
“I have been in business for a year
and I just can’t grow”
“I am going to have to quit my business soon because I just can’t afford to keep it and make ends meet.”
This is the reality of more than half of those who have taken the leap.
Some jumped in without knowing where they were going to land. Others did the preparation but the market shifted and they were left behind.
When you decide to take on the job/role/identity of owning your own business, the expectations are astronomical.
The closest thing I can compare it to is being a new parent.
All the baby books I read NEVER prepared me for being a mother to MY children.
My children didn’t read those books.
Having two children that are completely opposite solidified that even more – the books drew a line down the middle and didn’t waiver right or left.
Same goes for a business. If it is was as easy as “Wash. Rinse. Repeat” – we would all be successful, right?
I have been an entrepreneur for 12 years and while I love what it allows me to do, I understood going in what it would require of me.
I kept my full-time job and worked on my business until the time was right. I took the advice of those who proclaimed they “did it wrong” at first to ensure I did it (somewhat) right from the start.
Do I have bumps and bruises from the number of times I fell? Yes.
From conception until a few years ago, I spent weekends writing blogs, creating content, scheduling social media, working on my website, responding to leads, looking for joint ventures, learning, growing, training and keeping up with my field.
The success of my business did not happen overnight.
If you take nothing else away from this blog post, remember this:
If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad.
When it comes to owning your own business, you have to be prepared to:
- Make all the sacrifices. Late nights, early mornings, investments, networking, whatever it takes to grow your business. Unless you have a partner, your success rests solely on you.
- Eat the frog. If a client is not happy, you have to resolve it to the best of your ability to create a positive customer experience. Happy customers/clients are WOM (word of mouth) gold!
- Be a jack of all resources (know where to find the answers): if a system doesn’t work, you have to fix it so you do not lose a sale, lead, or traffic because Google thinks your site is no longer online.
- Grow thick skin! Most entrepreneurs will tell you they know when they have made it when the trolls start lurking and the nasty comments increase. Always take the high ground – anything else is bad for business.
Yes, your business will eventually grow where all of this can be delegated out (even someone reviewing emails and moderating comments on social media) but at the beginning, it is all you.
Are there perks to being an Entrepreneur?
You are in charge of everything. All the decisions are yours and it is your vision.
You are the gatekeeper of your life and your schedule. You set your own boundaries and limitations.
You are no longer limited to what your supervisor wants you to do (or what your company permits you to do), the sky is the limit.
All the profits come to you. You are not working for a company that made $126 billion in profits last year but you only took home $30,000 (*cough Walmart cough*)
If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and are in it for the long haul, it can be the most rewarding experience!
And when you have finally made it (by the terms you have set), the feeling is exhilarating! All the sacrifice, time, and effort is worth it.
While this post may seem discouraging, it isn’t. I welcome one and all to join the life of being an entrepreneur BUT I just ask that you are smart about it.
Do your homework, have a plan, have a back-up plan, and most of all – be realistic.
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