Entrepreneurship Never Promised You A Rose Garden
It always surprises me when people tell me that entrepreneurship is tougher than they thought it would be!
In some ways I guess it’s not too surprising. In the media, we hear a lot about extraordinarily successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson. We hear how they’ve made billions of dollars and we get a glimpse into the lives of luxury they’ve earned through their entrepreneurial toils.
What we don’t see as much in the media are the stories about the countless times such entrepreneurs have been knocked down and gotten back up. Thus, the image we see in the media glorifies entrepreneurship and skews our perspective on what it takes to become successful as an entrepreneur. That media image tends to underemphasize the importance of persistence in the stories of every successful entrepreneur.
So if entrepreneurship is not a “rose garden” but rather a constant and never ending challenge, why do we do it? Answer this question honestly in your own case. If you’re an entrepreneur, why have you signed up for a lifestyle that gets glorified, when in fact, for most entrepreneurs, it presents challenges beyond what they likely ever would have seen in a 9-5 job?
In my case, I’ve signed up to be an entrepreneur for a variety of reasons. Here are a few that come immediately to mind:
1.) I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a young kid. I’ve never seen myself as anything else.
2.) I feel more comfortable as an entrepreneur than I do as an employee.
3.) I’ve never bought into the notion of “job security”. There may have been a time when you could expect to reach “gold watch” (upon retirement) years at one company, but those days are long gone.
4.) I like the idea that my success or failure is driven in great part by the thought and effort I put into my endeavors. Notice I didn’t say that it’s driven exclusively by my efforts, as I’m aware that in order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need the help of a lot of people.
5.) I like to work hard (and smart) and it gives me more satisfaction to know that the extraordinary effort I invest in my ventures will benefit me directly, rather than indirectly.
6.) I’ve always felt like entrepreneurs are “my people”. I admire and respect those who are willing to come up with an idea, launch it, and drive it toward success, even if the journey is not direct and there’s always some course correction necessary along the way. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people.
7.) I believe that without entrepreneurship our world would be a much less interesting place. Think of one product or service you love and “can’t live without”. A company that was started by an entrepreneur or a team of entrepreneurs provides that product or service.
8.) I’ve always believed in free market economics. There is no more effective force than competition to bring the highest and best products and services to the market, at a price the market is willing to pay. The entrepreneur has to navigate that complex landscape. That’s a great challenge and one that I enjoy.
9.) As an entrepreneur, especially as one who has achieved some success, you have a tremendous opportunity to contribute to society and have a positive impact on a large number of people.
10.) Life as an entrepreneur is hardly ever boring. This is especially true if you are competing in a dynamic market, where the competition is constantly adapting to new customer demands. Such an environment tends to bring a great deal of challenge and potential reward (financial and beyond), both of which appeal to me greatly.
If anyone ever promised you a rose garden as an entrepreneur, I hope you didn’t believe them. But if you did, by now you’ve undoubtedly realized that their promise was unrealistic. Hopefully you’ve also found that, despite the many challenges entrepreneurship brings, or perhaps because of them, being an entrepreneur is a great way to make a living and a meaningful contribution to society. If not, I hope you are able to hang in there until you find a venture that brings you the satisfaction that entrepreneurship has brought me in my career.
I look forward to your thoughts! Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.
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