As I do my taxes each year, I am reminded what it is like to be an entrepreneur, and you may not agree with my take. Growing up, the word “entrepreneur” was a euphemism for “doesn’t have a job.” I would have never told anyone I was an entrepreneur. Fast forward to 2017 and the word entrepreneur is synonymous with terms like leadership, innovator, risk taker, in-control, and financial independence.
But let me tell you, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. In fact, I would argue that it isn’t for most people. You can look the part and hang out in coffee shops, but that doesn’t mean you are destined for success. I’ve watched a lot of friends and acquaintances crash and burn over the years that look and play the part. For every mountebank slinging their “secrets to success,” and for every guru on social media pitching why you “deserve” what everyone else has, there’s another side to the story that’s just not quite that palatable.
Honest Questions to Ask Yourself
Are you prepared to work 12 hour days—every day? Are you strong enough to look someone in the eye and be honest about their performance? Are you capable of rising above office drama? Are you willing to live on the road and miss major family events? Can you treat everyone in your organization with respect—even if you don’t share their beliefs and values? Are you willing to take a fraction of the salary of your staff in order to pay expenses? And the list goes on and on….
The Other Side of Entrepreneurship
For the most part, people only see (or want to see) the success stories. For every Silicon Valley billionaire, there are tens of thousands (if not more) entrepreneurs that burn capital and achieve nothing. And it’s not all because of bad business plans or competition. Many times it is the wrong person playing leader and entrepreneur. As my friend, investor, and mentor from Dayton, Ohio frequently says, “bet on the man, not the plan.”
So give it a go and join the trend, but you better be self-motivated, competitive AF, and willing to grind it out every single day for years. And if you are fortunate enough to achieve a little success, you get to celebrate by giving most of it back to Uncle Sam.