Let me share a story with you to illustrate why being an entrepreneur is hard.
Are you interested in the following job posting?
The Job Posting That Answers the Question: Is It Hard to Be An Entrepreneur?
We’re looking for someone who is willing to:
- work seventy hours a week for the next five years
- sacrifice family trips and family time
- think about work constantly and not turn it off
- wake up at night worried that you might not be able to pay your suppliers or meet your next mortgage payment
- file taxes as a self-employed person
Must also be willing to get screamed at by:
- your customers for not doing enough
- your staff for not paying them enough
- your family for not seeing them enough
Whatever happens, you need to maintain your composure, even if you feel like crying, no matter what.
You need to show up to work with a smile and, if you have to, pretend that everything is OK.
For the above, we’re going to pay you well below your level of effort and commitment. In fact, you might miss some paychecks from time to time, and you need to be OK with that.
We have some good news about this job and some bad news.
First, 80% of participants fail within the first 18 months. For those who do make it past 18 months, be prepared for another few very rocky years.
The good news is that if you do make it, and are successful, you can forge your own destiny and build your empire.
One big caveat, though, is that you share 50% of your success with the government by way of taxes, and then you have to listen to your government complain about how you’re not paying your fair share.
Hopefully the above answers the question “how hard is it to be an entrepreneur?”
For those of you who are interested in applying, I have one question: Why?
** You can apply here (by the way, this is a real link). I want to know why you want to be an entrepreneur or what you love about being an entrepreneur).
So, what’s this all about? They say that being an entrepreneur is hard!
Next week I will share the results of the survey.
Some of my readers have posed the following few questions over the last number of months:
“Should I just give up and work for somebody? When do you know that you are not cut out to be an entrepreneur?”
“Is it hard to be an entrepreneur”
“How hard is it to be an entrepreneur”
All three questions are very valid, so let me address them.
Is it Hard to Be An Entrepreneur?
I can’t repeat it enough … being an entrepreneur is a really tough job. On many occasions, it’s also a shitty job.
I’m not going to sugar coat this blog post with high-fives and platitudes. I’m going to give it to you as I see it, and although the above job posting clearly isn’t a real posting, if I were to describe the job, then that’s probably how I would.
The Stress of Being an Entrepreneur (and yet another reason why being an entrepreneur is hard)
It takes a special personality and type of individual that is willing to put everything on the line, mortgage their house, and put their life savings into an idea.
What makes it even more difficult is that the job is filled with stresses beyond what most non-entrepreneurs can understand, but for those of you who are running businesses, you know that my description is fairly accurate.
When Not to Become an Entrepreneur
If you believe that being an entrepreneur is filled with a life of riches … well, it certainly can be. A good percentage of the millionaires and billionaires of the world are self-made, and generally through some entrepreneurial endeavor. The success obviously comes with lots of hard work, commitment, passion, and a never-say-die attitude.
As somewhat of an aside, here’s an interesting and related article I wrote: How to Become a Decamillionaire, Grow your Net Worth to $10 Million, and Join the 1% Club
While the rest of the world strives for mediocrity, you, the entrepreneur, are different. The status quo just isn’t good enough for you. You know that there’s a better future for you, and you are committed to making it work.
I’m not going to suggest that your level of education or knowledge doesn’t matter. Of course, it does, but passion and commitment beat knowledge.
You might be the brightest person in the world, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll make a good business person.
In fact, I was voted by my sixth-grade French teacher as the most likely to fail. And you know—and I haven’t done any research into this, but—I’m probably the only person from my sixth grade French class that semi-retired by the age of 50. I’m an excellent example of hard work trumping brains!
How Hard is it to Be an Entrepreneur?
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest, I’m going to say 10. And now that you’ve read the above, you’re beginning to understand why.
If you “signed up” for the job of entrepreneur-thinking it would be a world filled with sipping margaritas on the beach and living the life of Riley and are only now realizing that it’s way more work, and way harder then you thought, then perhaps you might be better suited to getting a job.
I’m not trying to discourage you from becoming an entrepreneur, but rather, I am trying to paint a realistic picture of what’s required if you want to build a business. If this seems like too much, then maybe you need to think twice about starting in the first place.
I suspect that many of that 80%, the 18-month failures, are a result of these individuals not really understanding the level of commitment required. Only after they embark on the entrepreneurial journey do they realize how difficult it actually is.
If my description doesn’t scare you, then you just might be the perfect candidate for the role, because in the end, it’s all worth it.
If you asked me whether I would do it again if I had to, my answer would be a resounding ABSOLUTELY. It might be hard work, but, it’s the best job I could ever imagine having.
And What’s Good About Being an Entrepreneur?
The freedom to choose my destiny and reap the rewards of my hard work.
I address that extensively in this article: How Much Profit Does the Average Small Business Owner Make a Year?
Are you up for the challenge?
Whatever you choose to do, and hopefully my explanation about why being an entrepreneur is hard hasn’t scared you away from doing it, because it does bring many many rewards. And for a bit of inspiration, you can read this post about my entrepreneur semi-retirement at the young age of 49: My Journey Post Business Sale as I Sail Into a New Harbour. The Next Stage, Semi-Retirement, and the Life of an Entrepreneur.
I thought you might enjoy this Robert Heinlein quote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”
P.S. if you haven’t already done so, I would appreciate your feedback with my reader survey.
If you liked this post, you might also like this one: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Five Things You Can Do To Become a Better Boss
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