You wake up without an alarm on a weekday. You take half an hour to meditate, another half an hour to do some bodyweight exercises. You grab a light brunch before heading to the office so you can tackle the to-do’s you set the night before. You click some buttons, sign some checks. You take a client call some time in between. Business is booming!
Before you know it, the clock says 6:00PM and you’re off to dinner and drinks with your friends. You talk all night about how amazing it is to run a business. I mean, what’s not to love? You make your own money. You have full control of your time. You have no boss. You get to do whatever you want to do. You don’t understand why you didn’t take the leap from employee to entrepreneur sooner.
Except that this isn’t entrepreneurship. It’s a damn fairy tale.
We have this ridiculous notion that entrepreneurship means finally living a life of comfort and freedom. Wrong. Just like any respectable profession, running your own business has a set of unique challenges. You have to worry about funding the payroll of your employees. You have to go through outdated government processes. You have to look for customers. You have to choose between taking your salary or keeping the lights on.
And that’s only Monday.
People who think entrepreneurship is the easiest way to a comfortable life are delusional. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s not for everyone. You read that right. Not everyone is fit for entrepreneurship. There’s a special kind of grit and appetite for risk required to be good at it. Anyone can start a business. Not everyone can make it work. That’s reality.
The numbers aren’t comforting either.
For every Mark Zuckerberg who invents Facebook, there are millions of people creating the Uber for X or the Airbnb of Y who won’t even see the light of day. For every Colonel Sanders who starts Kentucky Fried Chicken, there are millions of people starting restaurants with a “secret recipe” that close shop after a year or two. Success in entrepreneurship is far from a sure thing.
It’s easy to get lost in the glamour of working for yourself. I understand. But if you’re expecting to just cash in checks and live carefree, you will be quickly disappointed. You have to be in it for the right reasons. Making money is great but it’s a reason that will never be truly fulfilling. Entrepreneurship is more than that. It’s about creating value. It’s about solving real problems for other people.
That’s why I think I’ve lasted this long. I’ve found genuine fulfillment in helping my clients achieve their business goals. The money that comes after honestly feels like a bonus to me. I’m also fortunate to be in a position where I can do my own thing. Not everyone enjoys the same privilege.
The image of light mornings is far from the reality most entrepreneurs face. The work can be messy, confusing, and, emotionally draining. All the highs that come with running a business are always paired with all the lows. If it’s a free and easy life you want, you’ll learn quickly that it comes years after you started the business. If you want to work just to get paid, it’s best you stay with a company that can provide you that stability.
Your entrepreneurial ambitions have to be made of reasons beyond just doing whatever I want to do.