Making the decision to become an entrepreneur should be well-thought and planned. Sure, the idea of being your own boss can bring satisfaction and increase your drive to transition from being an employee to an employer. However, entrepreneurship isn’t always glitter and unicorns. There are so many “behind the scenes” factors that most people don’t know about or consider, simply because they focus on all of the glory that comes with being able to say “I own a business”.
It’s very easy to assume that the entry-level of entrepreneurship is the toughest and that once you get past those few rough years, everything is smooth sailing. Truth be told, that entry-level of entrepreneurship isn’t clearly defined with a beginning or ending period. For some, those rough periods can last a few months, while for others, those rough periods can happen for the duration of their business.
There’s no “magic formula” that can predict the likelihood that your entrepreneurial journey will be smooth or complicated. The best way to determine this is to pursue your vision and be as prepared as possible for all of the challenges that may happen. Additionally, you should understand real-preneurship: the truths and many untold realities of being an entrepreneur, as you embark on your quest to become your own boss.
Here are five things that you should consider when becoming an entrepreneur:
Realpreneurship fact #1: Entrepreneurs don’t have defined working hours.
Ask any entrepreneur how many hours they work per week and you’ll hear anything from four to over 100 hours. It all depends on the workload, how many “hats” they wear in their business, their personal drive and their time management skills. When you’re an employee, you work a defined eight hour shift and you get paid for those hours. You have occasional overtime hours that you can opt-in for or are assigned, as needed, by your employer. Such is not the case with entrepreneurship.
You’ll work until you’ve completed the job or until you’re satisfied. You’ll work when you become inspired. You’ll work when you’ve made mistakes that need to be corrected. You’ll work on every day that ends in –day, because if you don’t work, your business will feel the hit.
Realpreneurship fact #2: Most of the hours that an entrepreneur works are unpaid hours.
Employers are obligated to pay their staff for every hour which they work. This means, when they show up, they get paid. Now, as for you, the entrepreneur who works from home, the coffee shop, on your mobile phone, while at the gym and anywhere else, your job is to do everything possible to get paid.
This means that those long conference calls, countless emails, PowerPoint presentations, social media posts and anything else that you’re involved may or may not lead to a pay day, regardless of how hard you work on them.
It could also mean that the work you’ll do now, won’t pay off until later. So if you work 80 hours this week, you may not see a dime of what you’ve worked for until next month or after that. It’s the ebb and flow of becoming a paid entrepreneur.
Realpreneurship fact #3: You’re the gatekeeper and the decision maker.
Egos have no place in entrepreneurship because at any given time, you’ll have to wear multiple hats. When you’re the gatekeeper, that means you’ll encounter everything from unruly customers and vendors, telemarketers and bill collectors. You’ll have to screen phone calls, field communications, manage your own schedule and handle your own customer service. People will come to you for any and everything and expect you to deliver. As the decision maker, your sole responsibility is to make smart, well-planned, executive decisions that affect the growth or stability of your company.
Imagine having to deal with a constantly ringing phone, a hectic schedule and then having to decide which vendors to use for your next product or service. That’s a lot! Regardless, you have to manage your roles accordingly and perform each role responsibly until you’re able to hire others to take over those demanding positions.
Realpreneurship fact #4: In the beginning, you’ll spend more money than you make.
For some people, the idea of entrepreneurship means raking in the dough and being in charge of how much money they’d like to earn. Consistent and diligent entrepreneurship leads to this ideal, but it certainly doesn’t start with it.
Again, there’s no magic formula that suggests if you spend X amount of money, you’ll earn Y amount of money in Z time. In fact, getting a return on your investment is a bonus in entrepreneurship because there’s no real way to guarantee that what you’re doing will actually pay off.
Of course, the more you plan, learn, practice and execute, the more you increase your chances of building something financially rewarding. However, it may take years to get in the “black” (break even) and more time than that to reach a profitable level.
You’ll notice when you build your business plan that the breakeven point is rarely in the beginning of your business due to unforeseen events and the constant improvements you’ll have to make. So, don’t expect your money to work for you immediately. Entrepreneurship is an investment of time, money and resources that matures years after you’ve gotten started.
Realpreneurship fact #5: You’ll want to quit—several times, but it’s a part of the process.
Many entrepreneurs hit their proverbial brick walls, several times throughout their career. The idea of quitting, laughably, becomes relaxing as your journey with entrepreneurship gets deeper.
Being an employee is like ten times easier than working for yourself. You’ll remember (or begin to think about) predictable paydays, vacation time, sick leave, conversations over the water cooler, the occasional telecommuting days, annual raises and office parties. It’ll be soothing to think about not having to think about everything that comes along with running a business. You may even start putting your résumé out there and even getting some leads.
However, if you’re in this entrepreneurship thing for the long haul, you’ll have to snap back to reality and get back to building your business. Sometimes you’ll need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of your business and get back to the root of your passion, which is why you started your own business in the first place. Whatever you do, don’t actually quit, unless you absolutely want to or have to. Quitting never gets good results and you won’t feel better about it as time passes.
Hopefully these facts haven’t scared you, but instead, they’ve opened your mind about what it really means to be an entrepreneur. No matter what, pursue your vision and be prepared for bumps and bruises along the way. You’re an aspiring entrepreneur. You were built for this.