Picture this: you’re 24 years old listening to your best friend complain about her bully of a boss (again) while she gets ready for a night out like it’s a drink of water in the middle of a desert. Your chest puffs out a bit as you bask in the glory of knowing you have no rude boss to answer to, no 9 to 5 you have to claw through to get to the weekend, and no need to complain to your friends given the charmed life you live owning your own business.
This seems to be the scenario everyone pictures when they hear you’re an entrepreneur.
Not to say that description isn’t true at times, but here is another, equally accurate description of entrepreneurship: It’s Monday and while everyone else is still sound asleep your alarm blares at 5 a.m. sharp. You hop out of bed to make yourself a decent breakfast and get a quick workout in because heaven knows you won’t get to it once your day has begun.
You jump on the computer to answer yesterday’s emails since it says on your website that all messages will be responded to within 24 hours. Your first three clients are from 7 until 10 a.m., and the rest are scattered throughout the day up until 9 p.m. With the random time slots between clients you manage to shovel some food in your face, update your website, write that blog post, interact with potential customers via social media — crap, got to remember to respond to that lead who called you yesterday — read the newest marketing book, implement those marketing strategies (or at least one of them for now). Oh, and remember to check Quick Books… are this quarter’s taxes due yet? All before collapsing in a heap at 10, ready to start another variation of that day tomorrow.
Owning a business in your twenties is a blessing and a curse.
Yes, you have more control over your life and, hopefully, are getting to do work that you love. But also, your time is not neatly squared away into specified hours of operation and your brain never really shuts off from what you could or should be doing to grow your business. For these reasons, I’ve created a pros and cons list for you to consider before starting your entrepreneurial life.
|You get to do what you’re passionate about.||Your success or failure is on your shoulders.|
|Make your own schedule(ish).||Really your schedule is more up to your clients than you, though you do get final say if you appease said clients.|
|Determine your own vacation time(ish).||No paid time off.|
|No stress of a boss looking over your shoulder.||You have to have self-discipline, no one is going to tell you to get your work done but you.|
|Financial freedom, the sky is the limit for growth. You don’t have to wait for a raise; improve your product or service and increase your prices.||Financial fears: no salary means no certainty.|
|Choose who you work with. At the end of the day you are in control of who is around you. No catty coworkers unless you say so.||Depending on your business, you may not have coworkers. Owning a business can get lonely.|
|A random schedule can mean random free weekdays.||Random free weekdays are fun, then again most of your friends are probably working….|
|Potentially less hours (technically I work 12-20 hour weeks).||You’re never truly off the clock. There’s a different mindset that comes with owning a business and part of that is you rarely are not thinking about your business.|
|The ups and downs of owning a business can be really fun and exciting. You are continuously living an adventure that you are creating for yourself. Seeing what works and what doesn’t, you are improving yourself through improving your business.||There is inevitably an ebb and flow to owning a business. When things are slower it can be extremely nerve racking and stressful.|
|If you are successful, there is no other way to experience that kind of pride.||The risk is much higher than taking that nine to five. Failure of your business generally means you’re left in a tough spot.|
At the end of the day, like any job and any situation, there are going to be wonderful parts and there are going to be trials and tribulations that you have to overcome. But if you want to be successful, no matter what field you are in, whether you work as your own boss in a business of one or a major corporation of thousands, the mentality and the practices that need to be in place aren’t all that different.
Wake up every morning with a drive and hunger to be better than you were yesterday.
Let go of the cons list and focus your energy on what is good and enjoyable about what you do. Find what you’re passionate about and figure out a way to make money doing it. Create balance in your life by taking care of yourself and maintaining your relationships with others. Strive for more but be grateful for what is. Above all else, be in service of others.
When your focus is on people and how you, your product, or your service can better other’s lives, you will find success and fulfillment that is unmatched by those sitting across from you complaining about their bully of a boss.