The Unexpected Realities Of Being An Entrepreneur

by  Sameer Bhatia  |  Leadership Development
The Unexpected Realities of Being an Entrepreneur

How interesting is it to start your own business? Many people say they wish to own their own businesses.

Sometimes people tell me “you must be so lucky” or “it must be a relief to be out of the rat race.”

The truth is that none of these statements are true. As for the rat race, while entrepreneurship is very different, it’s a competition like no other.

Here is the real truth about entrepreneurship. Let’s dive in:

Entrepreneurship Can Be Very Stressful

If you think attaining your boss’s or supervisor’s deadlines is tough, try attaining your own, especially when your eyes are focused on saving resources. Maybe your credit cards are already maxed out because you took another mortgage. Or, you are on the hook to repay a large amount of money you borrowed from your friend or family member. This pressure is a fire in itself and may light up an inferno even in the most laid back people. As an entrepreneur, I have worked tirelessly to regain some semblance of comfort and financial security.

Very Demanding, Unending Responsibilities

When you work for somebody else, you can be thankless knowing that your talents and skills are making someone else a profit. With some of these other jobs, you can leave behind the workload and take some time out. You cannot dare do the same thing as an entrepreneur when you are still the HR manager, marketing guru, office manager, janitor, tech guy, sales staff, CFO and CEO. These roles are unending and there is always something left somewhere that needs to be done.

The Bright Side Of The Coin

  • It’s Rewarding – Anything that doesn’t come on a silver platter has its own share of benefits. When you become successful as an entrepreneur, there are so many rewards to reap, both emotionally and financially. Moreover, there is simply nothing as good as seeing the product you’ve tirelessly developed begin to excel. The joy you receive from a grateful client is more than the financial benefits it brings you. I can relax knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of my customers.
  • Entrepreneurship Is Flexible – Once you test the pleasure of working for yourself, you may never turn back again or want to work in a conventional 9-5 environment again. The reason behind this is basically flexibility. Yes, sometimes you may need to work for more hours, but all this is per your own terms. You can stop working at 3 p.m. to pick your kids up from school without asking anybody for permission or you can begin working at midnight through to 4 a.m. if you are a night owl. Overall, the new freedom and flexibility can be extremely exhilarating.
  • It’s An Opportunity To Create & Innovate – No matter what the motivation, creating something from nothing that grows and develops through the years can be almost like raising a child; it’s your baby, and you’ve nurtured it to its current level of success. That type of fulfillment is difficult to duplicate in any other career path.

One of the driving factors of most entrepreneurs is the need to exploit their talents and build something great or help other people, not to mention the need to leave something behind. It could be a business that your children could join later on and grow a legacy of establishing something new that will be around for a very long time soon after you are gone.

Regardless of the driving factor or motivation, creating something new and helping it grow to maturity results in a fulfillment that is difficult to duplicate in any other area of life. Having said that, pick your way but most importantly as the saying goes, “it’s better to make a mistake than to do nothing.”

Are you an entrepreneur? If so, what has been the biggest surprise?
Photo Credit: Fotolia gustavofrazao

About The Author

Articles By sameer-bhatia
Sameer Bhatia is founder & CEO of ProProfs, a leading provider of online learning tools for building, testing, and applying knowledge.

What People Are Saying

Duncan M.  |  24 Jun 2015  |  Reply

Entrepreneurship is definitely something that requires courage and lots of determination. People who decide to go on this path need to be brave and to be able to take risks. However, the results are rewarding. It is important to start with fair expectations so you can handle success, but also failures.

John E. Smith  |  26 Jun 2015  |  Reply

Hi, Sameer – thanks for the interesting post.

Sounds like you speak from experience:)

It is good to provide both some positives and some negatives about becoming an entrepreneur, as you have done. I find that many people tend to concentrate on only one aspect or the other.

The results are predictable …

Positive Only: Crash head-on into reality of working for yourself and give up, because it is not as easy or simple as you imagined.

Negative Only: Fear wins and you do not even try.

A balanced approach which incorporates both the heart and the mind is best and my personal experience is that you cannot accomplish this yourself. At the very least, I believe you need to do these things:

1) Talk with a number of people, both inside and outside your industry and market, about self-employment. Some should be successful and some should be not:)

2) Probe for the negatives with open-ended, but targeted questions.

3) Accept the positives mentioned, but do not over-estimate them or focus exclusively on them.

4) Create a business plan. Take a class from a local resource (Small Business Institute, community college in the US, or other credible organization), if you do not have formal education in doing this. Do nothing else until you have done this.

5) Allow your business plan to be mercilessly analzyed, dissected, and examined by folks who failed and folks who succeeded with their own. Do not restrict yourself to family and friends on this – seek out people who have walked the walk.

6) Revise business plan as needed based on feedback from all.

7) Take a few days or weeks to let what you plan to do sink in. Do NOT work on revisions or tweaks – just let it settle in your mind.

8) Reflect on what your heart is now telling you about this revised and hopefully more realistic plan.

9) Take the appropriate action.

Sorry about being so wordy, but you sparked my thinking:)


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