While there are those who truly strive to create, many want the label “entrepreneur” for the allure attached to it: The money, fast cars, beautiful islands, sexy human beings, and all other things associated with the “Wolf of Wall Street” lifestyle. Heck, some may even just want to put it on their Twitter bio next to “social media mogul.” And although the lavish life is indeed a possible byproduct of entrepreneurship, the actual journey involved is far from luxurious. Being an entrepreneur isn’t exactly the overnight ticket to fortunes that Hollywood movies portray it to be; in reality, it sucks. See some of the baggages that come with being your own boss, and decide if being an entreprenewb (hehe, get it?) is still for you.
You watch your bank balance go down
Having a startup is like having a baby; you have to put your time, effort, and money into it if you want to give it any chances of flourishing. Yes, you may be able to get investors to fund your newborn biz-baby, but before all that happens, you first have to consult the man in the mirror. Whether you have $2,000 or $20,000 in the bank, bootstrapping (or using your own financial resources) is a necessary evil that will suck the life out of your bank account and breathe it into your startup. It’ll lead to ramen noodle dinners and picking up quarters off the sidewalk, but there is nothing to worry about if you truly believe in yourself and in your business. If you’re having major doubts, then going for it would be a bad idea. If you believe in it 100%–to the point that you’d willingly live way below the standards you’re used to–then you’ll see it as a worthy investment, or a temporary dip for higher returns later on.
Everyone thinks you’re insane
You won’t make sense to other people. Do you think Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, had everyone around him going “Whispering into a machine to talk to someone who’s not physically here? That’s completely doable and you’re not a lunatic at all!” Probably not. Better yet, take something we take for granted now like video-chatting. If you traveled back to the 1800s, do you think you’d be able to convince the majority that it’s possible to see and speak to someone from across the globe on a small piece of screen? Negative. The point is, you may have an idea or project right now that people around you are scoffing at, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of touch with reality. If you believe in it, keep pushing for it. Everyone looks a little insane with their ideas until they prove their detractors wrong.
Your “friends” start disappearing
When you have entrepreneurial pursuits, you will be working on them 24/7. Gone are the days when your friends can just hit you up any time and you say “sure!” without thinking. Nope. It’s Friday night, and you’re trying to figure out how to lower your production costs per unit by a few cents as you munch on your cold pizza. Come Saturday night and you’re busy responding to customer e-mails and managing social media accounts. “You sure you don’t want to go clubbing tonight?” your friends ask. “Yep,” you say. Because despite how stressful it is, you’re absolutely enjoying what you’re doing. Eventually, your phone will ring less, and invites will become scarce. But don’t worry, because all you’re doing is getting rid of the people who are probably just your drinking buddies as opposed to “friends.” Your true friends will stick around and understand, because chances are, they have a similar mindset and have their own endeavors they are passionate about. Then, when you all actually find the time to celebrate, you go batsh*t crazy as a reward for doing something productive with your lives.
Your alcohol tolerance goes down
When you do go out with your friends, you find that you require less shots of your favorite liquor to “feel it.” An hour into the night and you may already be singing along to Taylor Swift for everyone in the bar to hear. That’s fine, because this officially makes you a cheap date and lets you spend even less of your much-needed money on alcohol. Plus, you probably aren’t really planning on staying out super late anyway. If there’s nothing else going on but people drunkenly stumbling around you, you might as well go home and get some sleep, right? That brings us to our next point. Most of the time:
You get no sleep
“Stay up late, wake up early” becomes your new mantra. Every time you close your eyes to get some sleep, all you see are your many rivals staying up and working hard to make sure you’ll have nothing to wake up to. So you get out of bed and turn on your nightlight, as you continue working at your cluttered desk. You’re tired, but there’s nothing else you’d rather do but work on your biz-baby. You’ll have more energy doing something you love on three hours of sleep, than doing something else on eight hours. But as noble as that mantra is, make sure to actually find some time to rest, or your productivity level will go down and your no-sleep system will be all for nothing. You might even be dead.
Your relationship suffers
If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s not impossible to make relationships work, just hard. You can be the superman or woman that you are and successfully find time to balance your day job, your startup, and your relationship, but if your significant other isn’t understanding or just doesn’t get your lifestyle, it won’t work out. Being an entrepreneur will change what you look for in a partner. Suddenly, you find that her being understanding of you canceling your lunch date due to a surprise visit from a client from India is now a lot more attractive than her hairstyle. Or the way he believes in your business despite it taking a huge hit this quarter now outweighs his cheesy sense of humor. Having an entrepreneur in a relationship WILL make things more challenging for both of you, but as in any other relationship, you just gotta find a way to make it work.
Note: Being an entrepreneur on a busy schedule is not an excuse to treat the other person like crap. Sh*t happens, but you have to honestly try. If you can’t find time to be in a relationship, don’t be in one.
Rejection is the new black
It really isn’t a lie when people say entrepreneurs get rejected a lot. It’s part of the risk you take for having a shot at something so wonderful. Many artists like actors and musicians go through the similar rejection-fest, and they go in knowing that it’s one of the job’s many hazards. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it…everyone would be successful. But that’s not how it works. Part of the reason why becoming successful in fields like business and entertainment feels so fulfilling and accomplishing is because people normally have to go through hell—and endure many factors they have no control over–to get to the other side of the tunnel. It’s not a linear path; you can’t just go to school and receive a piece of paper saying you’re now a businessman/woman. You get thrown in to the middle of the chaos with barely anything to keep you afloat, and you just gotta figure out a way to make it all work. It’s the ultimate survival horror game.
If you asked Uncle Ben about entrepreneurship, he would probably give you this familiar advice: With great power comes great responsibility. It may sound cliche, but if you’re starting a business, make sure it’s something you actually enjoy doing. If you’re solely doing it for the money, then you’ll burn out as soon as you start when virtually no money is coming in and your books are in the negatives. Do something you love, and you’ll gladly wake up for it early in the morning and make it the best it can possibly be.
Many think that entrepreneurship is synonymous to luxury and other fancy stuff. If anything, being an entrepreneur sucks.You can lose everything faster than you can say “oops.” But despite all these risks and frightening possibilities, you march on. Because you know that being safe won’t ever satisfy you, and you rather take a chance than live the rest of your life asking “what if…”