In, 2008 I was sucked into the whole become an entrepreneur school of thinking. How? I read blog posts and listened to successful entrepreneurs who painted a picture of picture of being an entrepreneur as someone who is laid back and having fun.
For example, you get to work from home in your pajamas five hours a day, five days a week. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I thought so and shouted, “Why not?” I have a couple of degrees; I’m disciplined, and liked the idea of running my own business. I could do it too. Couldn’t I? Maybe? Maybe not?
You rarely hear the ‘whole truth’ about being your own boss and running a business. You’re not told that you may go into debt because you need more startup capital than you thought. Before you know it, your credit cards are maxed out and you’re crying on the floor of your apartment. You may even have to move back home. And that sucks.
Read on to discover 9 other things no one tells you about being an entrepreneur. If you’re thinking about starting your own business, understand that it may be more work than you anticipated. In fact, you may work harder than you would at a 9-5 pm job.
9 Things No One Tells You about Being an Entrepreneur
1. You have to work.
Toss out the Field of Dreams thinking of “if you build it, they will come.” This is half true. If you market the heck out of your business and have connections to journalists, reporters, and producers, you may be invited as a guest on a local news program where you can speak about your product or service. But you have to work and make sure your product is ready (make sure the bugs are worked out) before you go on live TV.
2. You require money.
Whether you get cash from an angel investor, family, friends, or crowdfund, it takes money to launch a business. Figure out how much you’ll need for startup costs. For example, you may need less than $1,000 to start an online business. However, you may need $100,000 or more to buy a franchise. Can you raise the money? Review your numbers and see how much you can afford.
3. You need support.
Do you have supportive family and friends? Don’t be shocked if the people in your life think you’re nuts for leaving your corporate job to start your own business, or start a side business. To get support, you can connect with like-minded people in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, business networking meetings, and more.
4. You may lose friends.
Piggybacking on point #3, you may lose friends. Why? Because you may not have time to spend with them. You may also realize that you’ve grown a part. It happens! Accept that you can make new friends, ones that will celebrate you as you do them.
5. You may go into debt.
This one’s related to point #2 about money. You may use your credit cards or take a second mortgage on your home (carefully consider this option) to finance your business. Before you do anything, speak with a financial advisor and CPA who can give you solid advice about starting your business and the amount of capital you will need.
6. You have to ask for help.
If you’re not used to or comfortable with asking for help, you need to let it go. Keep in mind that other entrepreneurs have “been there and done that” and have words of wisdom to share with you. You may even want to hire a business coach who can guide you through the set up process, from beginning to end.
7. You are the boss.
Do you even want to be the boss? If you had a corporate career and worked long hours, you may find yourself working 10+ hours per day in the beginning, depending on your business. Are you ready and willing to accept this? Take some time to think about it.
8. You have to set prices, hours, and more
It’s up to you to set price and hours, create a business plan and budget, hire employees (virtual and on-site), create a marketing plan and strategy, and other business related items. If you’re squeamish about setting prices and charging people for your products or services, you may want to reconsider starting a business. If you couldn’t bear to fire someone, you definitely want to reconsider starting a business.
9. You may not make money straight away.
Your business may not make a profit in the first year. Can you handle this? If you’re not in great financial shape, you may want to pay off as much debt as you can and save as much money as you can before venturing into the world of entrepreneurship.
Are You Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?
How’s your attitude? Can you imagine becoming a small business owner and owning your own business?
What does it look like?
Are you a success?
Or are you stressed out and losing sleep?
Before you jump on the entrepreneur bandwagon, review the points above and consider if it’s the best option for you. It’s okay if the timing isn’t right. You can always revisit the idea six months to one year later.
If you learn that you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur, then go for it. You may discover that being “the boss” suits you.
It’s a blessing to earn a living from doing what you love or what you’re passionate about because you’ll never have to work another day in your life.