Yes, it's true. Being an entrepreneur means a lot of great things. You get to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and do what you really love. And, it's a wonderful place to be. But don't fool yourself, there are plenty of downsides too.
I've recently had conversations with a number of people who are entrepreneurs and are struggling. Yes, some struggle to keep their business afloat and that may drive them back to a 'real job'. Others might be more successful and enjoy seeing their business flourish. But then, there are the rest of them. They are struggling to decide if being an entrepreneur is worth it.
You see there are many things that you have to do as an entrepreneur that you may not have considered.
1. You work alone, almost all the time. Many of us miss being part of a team. We love what we do, but it can be lonely. Who do you bounce ideas off of? Who do you commiserate with after a bad day?
2. You have to be everything. In his book, The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber describes the three people you must be to have your own business: the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. Most of us become entrepreneurs to do something we love - the technician. But we must play all three roles. Not all of us are cut out to do our own accounting, or implement a marketing plan. It's a steep learning curve and many can't get there.
3. Marketing and Sales. Yes, these are the bane of many an entrepreneur's existence. We love to do what we love, and in most cases, that isn't sales. Yet, it's vital to the success of our business.
4. Medical insurance. Yes, this may seem like an odd addition to this list, but I can't tell you the number of entrepreneurs who throw in the towel because of the exorbitant cost of health care. To some, it's simply easier to get a paying job with benefits.
5. There are other additional costs that wear entrepreneurs down as well. Where do you do business? Do you have to rent space? Can you work from home? Business licenses, taxes, banking, websites, materials; the list goes on and on. It can take years before you are operating in the black, so you'd best make sure you have a nice nest egg saved up to support you through the lean years.
6. Time. Yes, running your own business takes a lot of time. There will be months or years when you work seven days a week, 10 or more hours a day. Are you and your family prepared for that? I've have many, many weekends where I worked all day because there was simply too much work to do.
I don't mean to scare anyone away from being an entrepreneur. It's thrilling, it's wonderful, and it's great to do exactly what you want to do with your gifts. But go into it with an open mind, understanding the many sacrifices that are required to live your dream.
When I coach individuals ready to launch a business, I help them understand both sides of this wonderful world of entrepreneurship, and guide them to do the proper research and ready themselves for what is ahead. It breaks my heart every time an entrepreneur throws in the towel. Do your research, be prepared for the long haul, and have faith.
Andrea made the choice to leave the corporate world in May 2013 to pursue her dreams.