When people think of becoming an entrepreneur, they tend to concentrate only on the bright side of it. They see themselves as working when they want, choosing their goals and clients, and on the cover of a business magazine. But while this can become real, it is also truth that it doesn’t come without several sacrifices.
Especially when you are just starting to develop your idea and to create your business plan, the number of things that you will have to leave behind or out of your life for a while can be huge. And some of them won’t come back to you even when you become successful, so you should start accepting them as part of your life from now on.
Your social life
The first and more obvious thing that you will have to sacrifice to become an entrepreneur is your social life. It will not be easy to conciliate all the work that you have to do with the essential things in your life (shower, food, sleep), and still have time for friends and family.
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Of course, you don’t need to get divorced, stop playing with your children, or change your phone number so nobody can call you. Actually, you won’t hear many stories of successful entrepreneurs that have done it. Most of them have counted on the support of their family, spouses, and friends so to keep things together while they were working.
But, going out every weekend won’t be something you will be doing very often. And most of your outings will sound like networking from now on, and the only social activities you will care will be what your competitors are doing on Facebook, and this is only fair.
Your comfort zone
In order to become an entrepreneur, you will have to become an entrepreneur. This is to say that you will have to leave your comfort zone, face your fears, and take risks. Nobody who plays safe has ever achieved anything in life, as you know. Customers won’t knock at your door begging to buy your product, and you also know that.
This way, make sure that you understand what means to be an entrepreneur and that you start playing the role as expected. Most of us need to push ourselves for a while so to create a habit, and this has nothing to do with being a farce, it is just a coping mechanism. Fake it until you make it, as they said, and it will work out soon enough.
So start analysing the person that you are and find out which habits you have that don’t match your goals. Some of them as easy to spot, such as procrastination, lack of persistence, fear of making friends in new places, and difficulty to deal with risk-taking, but other might take a while for you to figure out, so take your time and be ready to change your lifestyle.
If you think that becoming an entrepreneur will give you more stability, think again. Running a business is all about taking risks, and higher you grow, higher is the risk. How many times have you heard of millionaires going bankrupt overnight due to a single mistake or even due to something completely out of their control, such as a governmental decision?
As a businessperson, you will never know for sure how much money you will make per month, and you might not even be the best-paid person in your company. You also won’t enjoy paid holidays, and you might have to deal with higher taxes and no social security support, depending on your country and your income.
And when you look for a mortgage, insurance, and private pension plan, you will face harder conditions compared to your friends with jobs even if they are making less money than you. So, yes, security and stability are two words that will be very far away from your life as soon as you become an entrepreneur.
To become an entrepreneur, you will need money. And, as you are starting, you might not have the guarantees that the bank will ask you so to give you a loan, for instance. So after asking family and friends for support, you will also need to look around your place and see if you have anything valuable that you can sell so to make money out of it.
Yes, hard times ask for hard decisions. Meaning that you might need to put a price on things with sentimental value to you, from collectables to jewellery. But this might be the only and the best way (no interest rates involved) to fund your idea in the short term, as you will need to pay for resources that will help your business to grow.
Your control of your time
This is another mistake of people wishing to become an entrepreneur: to think that they will be able to have full control of their time. They think that, as they won’t have a boss to tell them which time they will have to start and what they will have to do, that their working hours will be much more flexible, and even shorter.
It couldn’t be more wrong. New entrepreneurs usually don’t get to have the support that they need (because they can’t afford contracting employees), so they have to do all the tasks involved by themselves, including administration, accounting, marketing, and more.
Plus, they are fighting for space on their market so they have to work harder so to bring awareness to their brand and products. They also have to respect what their clients need so that it will be all about the customers’ best hours, not their choice.
You won’t be doing the work anymore
And here comes one of the saddest truths of becoming an entrepreneur. While in the early stages you will be exhausted trying to do everything by yourself, when your business become more stable, you will be more of a manager and less the professional you were.
The distance between you and your clients will grow as you won’t be the person in the front row anymore – you will have employees to do that for you. Your day will be more about making decisions instead of making things happen. And if you really enjoyed your work, you will feel a bit of nostalgia about the crazy old times.
The bottom line
If you would like to become an entrepreneur, you will need to get ready to make sacrifices. Your social life will be the first one to feel the hit together with your comfort zone. You will also have to change your mindset and to accept that salary, paid holidays, and any other kind of stability related to a job will be in the past.
Bear in mind that you will be exchanged that one boss that you had for several clients, each one of them creating demands and telling you what to do with your business on a regular basis. And you might have to sell anything valuable to you have so to fund your dream, and work the most awkward hours to make it happen.
And yet, it will all pay off in the end. Nobody has built anything without making sacrifices, as you might know. And the best part is that most of them are just temporary. Not because they will go away, but because you will learn to adjust yourself and to see these challenges as a natural part of the process, so everything will feel much easier after a while.
About the author: Patrick Cole is an entrepreneur and freelancer. He is also a contributing blogger for several websites. Patrick loves self-education and rock music. Connect with Patrick via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
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