Many people dream about entrepreneurship: becoming your own boss, having a business to call your own, moving away form the traditional 9-to-5. Career wise, what could be better? Entrepreneurship is alluring to many, and in 2015, self-employed workers accounted for 10 percent of the US workforce—that’s about 15 million people!
However, the truth is that even though being an entrepreneur can be extremely rewarding and freeing, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, more often than not, entrepreneurship can be grueling work, filled with obstacles that will test your resilience. Before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s best to prepare for the harsh realities of entrepreneurship. Let’s take a look at four scary truths that you might face as an entrepreneur:
You won’t make money right away
Many budding entrepreneurs think that as soon as their business is set up, the money will start flowing. On the contrary. Entrepreneurs spend far more than they bring in at the start of their endeavor. Unless you’ve found someone to fully back you, it’s likely that you will have to dip into your savings to get your business up and running. A lack of funds is one of the biggest stresses entrepreneurs face, and many can’t handle the pressure of using their own money in the hopes that one day their business will make it back. To succeed and not succumb to stress, you need to have a steadfast belief in yourself and your vision, and work hard to achieve your goal.
Your work-life balance will go for a toss
Friends complaining they never see you anymore. Lunches at 4 PM. Pulling all-nighters like you did in college. When you’re starting out, you can expect your personal and social life to take a back seat, and forget about having work-life balance. Initially as an entrepreneur, work becomes your life. When you’re not doing work related to your business, you’ll be thinking about it. Unfortunately, becoming an entrepreneur requires sacrifice—and these sacrifices often take form as a lack of vacation time, not seeing your family and friends as often, not being able to dedicate time to household duties, etcetera. Thankfully, after the initial hurdles, you will find a way to balance your venture and your non-professional life. A routine will set in and things will go back to “normal—but know that it takes time and effort to get to this stage.
The work is never-ending
Working for someone else can be a thankless job, but a traditional job affords you to leave the work behind once you clock out for the day. As an entrepreneur, the workload is intense, especially in the early stages when you are acting as CEO, CFO, marketing maverick, tech support, and more. You’ll be wearing many different hats, and all the roles you will have to fill will keep you busy. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who work from home. An article by The Hartford says, “You might also find that by working from home, you never truly stop working, and you may never leave the house.” You’ll always feel like there’s something that needs to be done, and you will rarely have a moment that you feel like your work is actually finished for the day.
Nothing will go according to plan
And there’s nothing you can do about it. You could have the best business plan on the planet, but you will soon realize that little is going as planned. In a previous post, guest author Brett Farmiloe writes “Finding success in business is not easy. It will require many hours, and possible failure…You will have many moments where you are essentially swimming upstream.” He couldn’t be more correct. Starting your journey as a new entrepreneur will bring challenges that you could have never foreseen, and so your business plan will be constantly changing and adapting as you learn along the way. As an entrepreneur, you have to quickly get used to the unpredictability of starting a business, and not let it thwart your efforts.
So is it worth it?
Yes—a huge resounding yes! Like anything in life, entrepreneurship has its dark side. But for all the obstacles and sacrifices, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of doing something that you yourself have chosen to do. Not because of the need for money or societal pressure, but rather because of your passion for it. Entrepreneurship can be extremely rewarding, and once you’ve overcome the initial obstacles, doing what you love and working for yourself will give you a feeling of fulfillment that cannot be replicated.