What They Don't Tell You About Entrepreneurship
If it were easy everyone would do it. I've repeated that phrase many times as I dragged my feet through the most difficult seasons of my life. I feel like society (a.k.a Instagram/Social-media) paints this exaggerated imagery of over night success, but no one really ever shows you the disappointments, the loss before the wins, the consistency, what it really took to get there.
As a entrepreneur, I learned very quickly that shit can go 100 to zero real quick. One month you're overwhelmed with so much work that you can barley stay on top of things, and the next month you're selling your favorite Chanel bag on Depop to buy groceries.
The struggle is real.
Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone and honestly it's overrated.
You will be unhappy. As a entrepreneur, you will always be creating, looking for the next move, strategizing months ahead. Doing so will have a great impact on the start of your business, but.. Things are not always going to go according to plan. There will be some bumps along the road. You will question yourself and your abilities everyday. One day you feel like a million bucks, you got a new order or a client, business is booming and everything seems to be aligning. And then the next day, week or month, you feel lost, like nothing is working and your back at step 1. You will question if any of this is even worth it. Should you give up? Should I go back to my 9-5?
The highs and lows of entrepreneurship are real. For anyone who's starting a business, a side hustle, whether you've built a successful multi-billion-dollar company, it’s a never-ending inevitable roller-coaster of emotions, regardless of the size (and success) of your business. You’ll doubt yourself. You’ll question your capabilities and your experience at every moment. Your only option is to make decisions blindly and trust that whatever happens, you’ll be able to figure the shit out.
Your relationships will suffer. Of the 4 years I've been an entrepreneur, I've been single all 4 years. By choice. When you are chasing after your dreams, you will be so focused riding your own wave, that you won't have any room or the mental capacity to focus on anyone while on this journey. From working late into the early hours of the morning, to seeing the time you spend getting to know someone new as a waste of your time. You think it's hard finding a decent guy now, try finding one when your a entrepreneur. Whether you're in a relationship or dating while growing your business, its not going to work unless they're confident in who they are, respect you for who you are, and support your drive and commitment to your goals -while also chasing theirs. There has to be balance. And as easy as it sounds, it's difficult to come by.
Being a entrepreneur is lonely. Prepare to spend every weekend alone, while everybody else is outside living they best life. Can you come on the trip with us next weekend? Wanna grab drinks tonight? Are you coming to my birthday party tonight? Nope. I can’t. And absolutely not.
Unlike traditional employees, you can't request time off or ask someone to cover your shift. Your absence puts your livelihood at risk. Chelsea in accounting can take a week-long trip to Hawaii while she collects paid vacation and her coworkers will pick up the slack, but, as an entrepreneur, you don’t have that luxury.
While your friends are getting married, starting families or buying their first house, your purpose will be your business. This means you have to make time for a social life, family and friends. That's not always easy to do when your time increases in value.
You will no longer relate to the people in your life in the same way you could before. People (friends and family) won't be able to understand your problems and you won't understand theirs. You will see the values, problems and actions of those around you from a completely different perspective. And as your business grows, the disconnect becomes even greater.
And even though your family/friends might not understand what you’re going through, they’ll still expect you to behave the same and act the same way you did before you started this entrepreneurship thing. You’ll run into many conflicts because of this.
They won't understand your obsession with your vision and seeing it through. They will not understand why you’re sitting in a bathtub at 3 in the morning trying to relax because a big client suddenly cancelled and now you gotta figure out how your gonna pay your rent. They will encourage you to get a real job.
Likewise, you have so much going on, that you have a hard time realizing that their problems are just as real to them, as yours are to you. You have to keep your ego in check, or you'll end up feeling indeed by yourself.
I've accepted the fact that the journey will often be lonely. I've found that staying connected to others who share the same values/hobbies/interest as me helps, but also those who are very different, so I stay grounded. I make an effort to listen and understand others. To see their perspective, even when someone is bitching about their boss who undervalues them; trying to convince me to fold and get a 9-5 at a call center or telling me about their great business idea that they want to make happen "some day" (but can't now because of X, Y or Z rationalization). I've learned how to support, not just advise people. They're two very different things.
Your friends make way more money than you do. From the outside looking in, you will appear to have your shit figured out. Truth is you won't. You’ll probably be broke for a long time before you start to see any profit. Be prepared to give up your material comforts. Because any money you make will go right back into the business.
My breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first 2 years as a entrepreneur was ramen noodles and coffee (literally everyday) that's all I could afford. And honestly, I was okay with that, as long as I had food in me and energy to keep working Idgaf. In fact, many entrepreneurs continue living a minimal lifestyle even after they start to scale a profit.
Minimalism has taught me to appreciate and value all that I have now. I don't have to wait to have this or that, or make this amount of money to feel happy or excited about my life. I was forced to appreciate the little things. The things that actually matter (to me).
You will have a terrible diet. You're pulling 15-18 hour work days on a regular basis, with hardly any sleep, exercise and worst of all, you're surviving on ramen noodles and energy drinks. You will hardly have any time to cook a meal from scratch, but taking that time out to try to is important. If not, you will surely burn out.
You are going to start a love-and-hate relationship with sleep. You’ll crave it when you’re working through never-ending to-do list and emails in the middle of the night. And you’ll resent it when you have shit that needs to get done.
So, all of these points are from my personal experience. Starting a business of your own is something I would always encourage. However, money and fame isn't going to be enough of a motivator to make it through this journey. There's so many unexpected bumps along the journey that many people fold and burn out. They can't handle the discomfort.
Entrepreneurship isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle. It's a mentality.
Trust me, I have wanted to give up a 1,000 times. But give up for what? I can't see myself doing anything else.
**Also, entrepreneurship isn't the only path to an abundant life. You can have a 9-5 and have a prosperous life and be a hell of a lot happier than most entrepreneurs will ever be. On the other hand... if you do decide that you're prepared for this journey, if you hold on to the vision, if your strategy is followed up with execution, if you realize that loneliness is just a feeling like any other, if you can out-work your doubt, and face challenges along the way with courage, you might just succeed. Maybe not. Facing uncertainty. That's the cost you pay to be an entrepreneur.