A recent survey by AFLAC revealed this statistic, along with the reasons why so many people want to be entrepreneurs. I know why people want to be entrepreneurs, I love it. I feed on it. But its definitely not for everyone. My experience as an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily like everyone else’s, but it has given me insight and experience that I enjoy sharing with budding and potential entrepreneurs.
According to the survey, what is appealing to most people are the following:
- Set your own schedule
- More time with family, hobbies
- No commuting
- No boss or office politics
(Side note: One thing I found interesting was what wasn’t on this list, money.)
When I tell others I work from home or work from myself, almost everyone responds with some comment of how glamorous or ideal that must be.
While these can be niceties of the life as an entrepreneur, there are other aspects that are overlooked that may oppose or offset what is so attractive about being an entrepreneur.
Set your own schedule
- If you set your own schedule, that also means when you’re not working you’re not growing your business
- Be ready to work more hours and with more intensity BECAUSE you are working for yourself
- You never leave your work at the office when you work at home, you will find yourself working at all waking hours if you’re not careful
More time with family, hobbies
- See above for setting your own schedule
- Only the hobbies that you truly love will be given attention, and even then it will be hard to leave the to do list for the hobby list
Assuming you are working from home…
- You will find yourself looking for good reasons to get out of the house. I recommend finding a friend or two to have lunch every week or every other week to bounce off business ideas with
- Be prepared to “train” the spouse and kids that just because you are at home doesn’t mean you are available
- You’ll need to be sure you have a hobby so you force yourself out of the house
- Sometimes bring your laptop or just a notebook to a cafe for a few hours once or twice a week is what you need to break the routine and get new ideas
No boss or office politics
- You come up with the ideas
- You motivate yourself
- Steady income is not guaranteed
- Benefits like health insurance and pensions are do-it-yourself
- Be ready to fail, a lot. If you’re not failing, you’re not succeeding.
- You need to be willing to wear many hats and learn new tricks. Until you build things up to a certain level you will need to be the accountant, do taxes, put together contracts and agreements, register your business, build your website, setup email and phone systems, etc.
- You may encounter “spouse politics”. Being an entrepreneur can be stressful for spouses especially in the early years. Use open communication and show that you are working hard.
Being an entrepreneur sounds grandiose and wonderful at a glance, but there are some realities to it that people should be prepared for. It takes a lot to be an entrepreneur, it is no “candy and lollipops” easy life. But despite all that, it really is rewarding. Its a challenge that gives back the fruits of a good challenge: growth, enjoyment, and the desire to keep at it.