3 Things You Learn Being an Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur isn't for everyone. It's probably one of the most difficult things to do successfully. Even if you do find success, it doesn't always mean it will last, or that you know what you're doing. Sometimes it just takes being in the right place at the right time. If you do find success and it goes south, there's a good chance you'll find yourself right back at square one. There are also a lot of misconceptions about being an entrepreneur that most people might not fully understand. On top of those misunderstandings, entrepreneurs take a lot of criticism.
You're Not Taken Seriously
If you're a self described entrepreneur starting off, you'll likely hear this one a lot. Actually you might not hear it, but it'll definitely be whispered behind your back. It doesn't help that there are quite a few people who claim to be entrepreneurs and don't actually do any work. In this day and age, if you asked 10 people at a Starbucks what they did at least 8 would say they're entrepreneurs. Try to get specifics though and you find out their venture into entrepreneurship is that they have an idea. Which is great. Every amazing thing ever invented started with an idea.
The thing is when you don't act on an idea you're really no different than everyone else in the world. You think about things, but don't put into action the things that might bring it to fruition. You're not the only one with ideas. Everyone has them. Everyone dreams. As a result of these 'posers' who dream but don't actually attempt entrepreneurship, those who are taking action but struggling get lumped in with all the 'idea' people the minute the word entrepreneur escapes their lips.
It's Not Real Work
This comes with the baggage of not being taken seriously. Even if you are able to show that you actually are working on being an entrepreneur, that you've done more than just have an idea, chances are you'll still end up with the short end of the stick. The thing with being an entrepreneur is that if you're not blessed with connections or funding, you'll end up spending your own time and money to get started. In other words, starting off you'll be spending money instead of making it. The bigger your plans are with the venture, and the smaller your funds, the more time you'll take putting it together rather than profiting from it.
It's obvious that this leads to doing a lot of work and seeing nothing in return for a bit, much like if you had decided to write a book. That could take a year of time to write until you would actually have a product to sell. You'll find that when you mention to anyone that you're doing some type of entrepreneurial work, 9 times out of 10 you'll be asked about how much you're making within the first few minutes of a conversation.
Now here's the catch, if you're in the process of producing the product and haven't seen any profit, most don't consider it real work. They may not say this out loud, but if you're around them long enough and listen to them talk it usually comes out. Ask any creative person, an actor or writer, and they'll tell you. Until the money starts rolling in, and in a consistent enough manner to live off of, most people will consider the work to be a hobby or a fun enjoyment. In other words, and from the mouths of those I know or have known, it's not real work unless you're making the dough. Oh, did I mention that because of this misconception, when you claim you're working they'll instead say you're actually just being lazy and doing nothing important? But then that attitude changes when...
Everyone's Your Best Friend
Wait, that can't be right. Can it? My gramps use to have an old saying, "Your best friend is in your back pocket." He continued afterwards saying that as long as that friend was full, you'd be surrounded with more friends than you can count. The best friend in the back pocket was a reference to your wallet, and having that friend doing well meant others would swarm to it. If the pocket is empty though, that's when you'd find out who the real friends are. Usually you'll be lucky to count them on one hand, if there are any to count at all.
If you're an entrepreneur that finds success you'll find out just how true that saying is. All those naysayers I mentioned above change their tune really quick the minute the money starts pouring in. Finding success also tends to bring about a case of amnesia in those friends. Their tunes change from the 'hobby' they claimed you had to how they always knew you'd find success because of all your hard work. Try reminding them that a few months earlier they had referred to it as a hobby and they'll deny it until their last breath. It won't take too long either before they bring up the brilliant idea they have and how they'd like your help on it. And if you're business is doing amazingly well, trust me when I say they'll be volunteering their time, sometimes for free, just for a piece of that pie too with the hopes of being a partner!
This is probably one of the worst parts of being an entrepreneur. In the beginning if you're strapped for cash and trying to handle the marketing, web design, product designing, shipping, and all that other stuff that takes tons of time, that's when the help and volunteering is needed. That's also when your friends are busy calling your work a hobby, and not taking it seriously. It's when you could use their help the most that they aren't around. The minute you have that first taste of success though, when all the struggles of setting up are over and you can focus on just one or two parts of your dreams, that's when they finally want to lend a helping hand. It's also the point that you really don't need them anymore. The partnership they probably now want, that you may have actually considered in the beginning, is not something you're looking for. Or they now want your help in completing their own ideas and expect you to finance or volunteer your time for them.
If you do reach that point, when everyone's now your best friend and they all want your help, enjoy it! Because if, or when, you lose it you'll find yourself back at square one with those 'friends' on your next venture. Around and around you go because that's the way things are when you're living the life of an entrepreneur. It's frustrating and depressing, and many times you'll want to throw your hands up and just quit. You won't though, because it's that excitement of creating and building something that keeps drawing you back in. If that's not enough for you, and your 'friends' get you down, remember that you're doing it for you and not for them. As a bonus, you'll also have an idea of who your real friends are and those are the people you want to enjoy your success with.
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