There are plenty of great reasons people dive into entrepreneurship.
You might want more control of your time, finances, schedule, the work you do, you name it, the list goes on and on. But I will caution you with this: don't do it if you think it will be easy or you plan it on being wildly lucrative.
Just don't. Stick with your day job where someone else tells you what to do, controls your paycheck, and takes the heat when shit goes south.
Often times we hear about these lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous, those who have made millions off of virtual assistants, 4-hour work weeks, and a company that "went viral, wound up on SharkTank and now makes 52345 bajillion dollars."
I'm going to bust a hole in these preconceived notions right now, so excuse me for a moment while I rain on your parade, but your soul, significant other, and bank account will thank me in the future.
1. You'll get rich quick.
As our dear friend, Steve Jobs once quoted, "If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time." It's true for the music industry, for Hollywood, for tech startups, and likely for whatever industry you're in too. Steve Jobs started his conquest in high school when he called up co-founder and president of Hewlett Packard, William Hewlett, to ask for parts for a school project. This led to Jobs' first part-time job and Steve Wozniak. Jobs eventually launched Apple, resigned from Apple, and then was rehired, but not before he took Pixar public and sealed his $1 billion value. But that process took over 20 years. The reality is that there are X number of entrepreneurs out there and there are an estimated X number of new entrepreneurs joining that crew in 2019 alone. And % of them end up bringing home 7 figures. That's it. BUT most of us don't need a 7-figure paycheck to find the happiness and balance we're seeking in entrepreneurship, but if you're doing this to get rich quick, your odds are literally about X:1. Contradictory to the Hunger Games plea, the odds are not in your favor.
2. You'll have so much more free time.
But for real though. Stop it. You're gonna hurt yourself. Do NOT enter the world of entrepreneurship thinking it's going to give you all the benefits of a 6-figure salary with the time commitment of a part-time job. Sure, the goal is to find that balance, but the reality is that you will most likely work 2-3x as many hours in the first two to three years of starting your business as you would at a normal 9-5 job and make 30-50% as much money.
Don't do the hourly breakdown calculation, it's depressing.
Let me provide a bit of context. What do you do now? You probably have a full-time job providing some type of service, right? Now to run a business, you need to manage sales development, operations, financial projections, marketing, human relations, quality assurance, client relationships and do the work you're hired to do. That's only in a virtual service-based business, it's much more complicated if you sell a product or have a brick and mortar location. That's also when it's just you. You might think you get to delegate to others when you hire more people, but those tasks don't necessarily disappear, they are just reallocated.
In the current role you're in, are there other people that have those jobs? Most likely.
Guess what? You get to do all of them now. Now, do you think you'll get to work fewer hours?
I think not.
Know why you are entering entrepreneurship. Know your why and cling to it for dear life. Because at the end of those 15-hour days when you realize how much you could be making elsewhere and that you could actually take weekends off, you'll need to be reminded of the "why" behind what you're doing to keep pushing forward.
3. You'll be able to take envy-worthy vacations whenever you want.
Hell, this should be "you'll be able to take ANY vacation whenever you want." Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you'll never take a vacation, but the reality is that very rarely are you ever completely off the grid. For example, the first year I started Brainchild Studios, I took an epic three-week trip to Europe with my sister and witnessed her get engaged. It was amazing and I wouldn't give it up for anything. Most people thought I was NUTS to take that much time and go to Europe for two reasons: 1) Three weeks!? You crazy girl. 2) I spent about $4,000. That's a lot of money in your first month as a startup. Hell, that's still a lot of money. But I did it because I could. Because we were still small and summer is a slower time for us. However, I did check in on email and connect with my team every single day. The reality is that you should be building a business to create the life you want to live. If that includes travel (which mine sure does), that's awesome! Just set realistic expectations.
4. Everyone will want what you're selling.
It's like selling water to people stranded in a vast desert, right? What you bring to the table is desired by all and there's no competition. Right. Every entrepreneur is a salesperson, whether they like it or not. And guess what? Over time, you'll build your network, you'll begin to get referrals, you'll get speaking engagements that might lead to new business, but it never stops. It never really gets easier. I just met with a fellow agency owner colleague today and he's been running an agency for over 25 years and, to my great dismay, he assured me, it never gets easier. The hustle never ends. The best thing you can do here is to sell something you really believe in. You're probably not going to be the best, nor will you be the cheapest. But if you can work hard, produce great work, be a good human, and not be a pain in the ass to work with, you'll likely be just fine.
5. You can do it on your own.
There's an amazing book called Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters and it talks about the concept that every company doesn't need one great entrepreneur, it needs two: the Visionary and the Integrator. And it's SOOO true.
Don't get me wrong, there are so many successful entrepreneurs out there leading team solo, but the key word in that sentence is "team." Whether you have a POC as your right wing leadership comrade, have a small team of junior level associates, manage a team of 300, you're never really alone. Even solopreneurs often find comfort and support in their respective communities. No one will understand what you're going through except other entrepreneurs in your space.
I can't even begin to express my most sincere gratitude to the multitude of people who have helped me build my business to where it is today. The entire Brainchild Studios team just kicks so much ass, it's unreal. But special hats off to Bonnie Atkinson, who is my BOD (Business Operations Director - don't be weird about it). She keeps me in line all day long and I'm so grateful for her tough love and complementary leadership style. She is the Rocket Fuel Integrator to my Visionary. To Agency Management Institute - an organization dedicated to helping agency owners be better agency owners. Drew McClellan and this entire fabulous network are truly a saving grace. To my female entrepreneurs --oh how I love thee. Really, just a bang-up group of ladies for whom I have the utmost respect day in and day out. It's a pleasure standing next to you and fempreneurs making a change. Lastly, my friends, family and business partners all bring something to the table and find unique ways to show their support. After all, they always say "it takes a village to raise a child," and when you become an entrepreneur, you're birthing a business baby.
But again, these are all communities of people I have found/harnessed/Jedi-mind-tricked into helping me with this crazy vision I have. What communities do you have? Which ones are missing? Go find them. Be nice to them. Create and build relationships.
6. You can leave work at work.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you NEVER turn it off. Literally never. Every time you're out in public, you're on. Every time you take a shower, you're thinking up new profit optimization strategies or revenue streams. I literally wake up at 3am every few months and spend about an hour scribbling down ideas just to get them out of my head. You're lying to yourself if you think you'll ever escape your business. But, then again, if you're doing this for the right reasons, maybe that's not such a bad thing...
Entrepreneurship is amazing and it will also make you cry. It's liberating and restrictive all at the same time. But at the end of the day, you get to spend your life creating something that you're (hopefully) proud of in the way you want to do it on a timeline that works for you.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good gig to me!
Kiley Executive Coach & Consultant
Kiley Peters is a serial entrepreneur, national speaker, executive coach, and small business consultant. Having personally counseled over 100 small and medium-sized businesses on operations, business development, digital marketing, and consumer behavior analysis over the last 17 years Kiley is incredibly passionate about serving small business owners. She is the Founder and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a research and business strategy partner for small businesses and mid-market executives, and also created the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurs through the steps of starting a virtual business. With these experiences in her back pocket, she understands the challenges and struggles small business owners encounter.more posts by Kiley →