The word “entrepreneur” is thrown around a lot these days. Everyone and their brother is an entrepreneur. Have a blog? Entrepreneur. Have an Instagram account and some followers? Boom — entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur today is easy, cool, sexy and fun, right? Not even close.
Being a real entrepreneur is grueling, and most of the time, it is far from glamorous. Forget what you see on TV and in the movies — this game is no cake walk.
Far too many people think being an entrepreneur involves rolling out of bed when you want, never having to answer to anyone and making piles of money. I’m going to keep this short and right to the point — that’s not how this workds, and you need to fully understand this before venturing down this road.
1. While you might not have a boss, you will have to answer to people.
You have to be extremely disciplined to be an entrepreneur. Nobody is there to hold your hand or give you words of encouragement. You need to wake up every morning with a desire burning inside you.
Just because you don’t have a traditional boss to answer to, there are still people you are going to need to communicate with on a frequent basis. Being an entrepreneur places much more responsibility on your plate.
Did you take on investors or raise VC money? If so, you will be reporting to them, and often. They are going to want to make sure their money’s best interest is always in mind.
Have clients? Vendors? You will be talking to them often, providing reassurance that the relationship is going in a direction that is beneficial to both sides.
This road isn’t always smooth, and there will be some days you wish that you only had a boss to answer to.
2. You ‘make your own hours’ is a misleading assumption.
Sure, you make your own hours to a degree, but the number of entrepreneurs working a couple hours a day and then floating in their pool with adult beverages the rest of the day is a very tiny percent.
Most entrepreneurs that I know — from those bootstrapping startups to those with successful exits worth hundreds of millions — work longer hours every day than the nine-to-five crowd. Building a business is a ridiculously hard task. There is nothing easy about it.
There are definitely freedoms that come with the territory, but only after you put in countless hours of hard work and several years of sacrifice. I was able to step away from my business for a week this holiday season and spend it with family — but there were years in my early days that I didn’t get any days off, let alone a week.
I took a couple hours off this morning to run errands, but it’s now 9 pm, and while the bars and restaurants below me are popping off, I am working into the evening. While you have some freedom to make your own hours, don’t get it twisted — you will still be working like crazy.
3. You might not get filthy rich.
Yes, some entrepreneurs become extremely wealthy. Jeff Bezos comes to mind — he’s worth over a hundred billion dollars. But, for every Bezos, there are thousands of entrepreneurs struggling to keep their dream alive and living overextended. They put their well-being, and sometimes the well-being of their family at risk chasing the dream.
If you want to be an entrepreneur with the sole intention of getting rich, then you will more than likely fail before you even begin. A high percentage of businesses flop, and entrepreneurs that do find success learn that the financial reward is a byproduct of creating something that solves a problem or satisfies a need.
Strive for excellence, and if you execute correctly the money will follow.