Self-employment is not freedom. The myth of a happy entrepreneur life
Talking with some of the founders of the companies I met over the past six months, I found that the vast majority want to start a business in order to achieve freedom and balance between work and personal life. The idea is that, it seems, if you become your own boss, then life will be much easier. It will be easier. She will be less stressful.
I can understand the attractiveness of this. This is the lifestyle that many entrepreneurs persistently promote, posting their photos on Instagram with the note “my current office” - and this beach is always such an office in Thailand.
However, entrepreneurship - in my own experience - is not at all like that picture. Easy free lifestyle - from another opera. Entrepreneurship is very far from beach relaxation. And in it it is impossible to simply take and leave, telling the boss that he is a complete moron. This does not work. Because self-employment is the most difficult career one could choose.
If you are lucky and your business grows to the right size and you give up the years of your life, doing heavy unpleasant daily work, then you have a chance to achieve freedom and happiness. Then you can sit on the beach with your laptop and enjoy a carefree life. But it will take a lot of time.
But if you start your startup because you want to get a balance between work and personal life, and complete freedom, and vacation at any time, then I have bad news for you. It will not happen.
Let's start with the money.
When you do most of the other work, you get paid. You can sit down at the beginning of the month and paint your budget - all that you are going to do with your money. You have a pretty clear idea of what you get, and you can make some decisions based on this.
If you have worked X hours, then you will get Y. The simplest equation. But it is incredibly far from entrepreneurship. Because when you start your own business and rely on it as the main source of income, the equation becomes much more complex.
If you act on your own, then you look at customer relationship management (CRM), determine how much money is on the way, which directions you can close and how things are with cash flow. You are calculating the final result. And only then you try to determine how much money you can safely withdraw to pay for your lifestyle.
At the beginning of its journey, a startup developing independently will live rather poorly. You must be prepared for this. Difficulties arise because it means that planning a lifestyle becomes quite difficult, the quality of life will increase and decrease depending on your income. This is inevitable. You will be forced to start thinking through your decisions related to spending money well.
At this point, you will begin to look for ways to save either on your own life to finance a business, or on your business to finance a life. The first opportunity is correct, but it is difficult to fulfill. The second option is easy. But she will bury your cause.
If you run a funded startup, then the situation is a little different. You are not trying to collect enough money for your salary, because you know where they come from. What you are trying to do is give your business sufficient acceleration, and this is a completely different headache.
Marginal note. If you run a startup, attracting investors, then you are no longer the boss over yourself. You will quickly see this when you start to disagree with the distribution of money.
I know this looks rather depressing. If you want to feel good, then go straight ahead and skip the material until the end of the post. But I promise that everything is not so gloomy.
Well, still with me? Talk about time. I often hear from those who dream of entrepreneurship that in this way they want to manage their time and manage it much more wisely. And again, I apologize, but this is not what will be when you start your business.
For most people starting a company, the main resource that they own is time. This is a risky asset because it is never there for as long as it is needed, and it may disappear tomorrow. But that’s all you have. In the first few years of your business, you will spend many hours promoting your company.
When you stop wasting time and try to disconnect, then you are acutely aware that much stops. Remember about unfinished tasks, about customers that you haven’t called, about products that haven’t been finalized. No matter how you try to “turn off” your head, this rarely succeeds.
Since this is the only resource that you can give, no matter how much money it brings, you are constantly worried that you are not giving enough.
Seriously, keep reading, and you will feel better when considering options for choosing a life path. I am almost done.
Still not giving up? Sumptuously! There is one more thing. It is "be-your-own-boss." If you think that being the boss of yourself is better than working for someone else, you will be very disappointed.
Everyone who worked for someone encountered at one point in their life one of two types of bad bosses:
Chief is a fool. You know this type. They stand with a notebook by the elevator and record the time when you arrive at the office. They bring down a bunch of papers on your desk at exactly 5:00 pm on Friday. They do not raise your salary and do not promote you, and they also never remember your birthday.
- A boss who does not cause trouble. They do not call you, they allow you to come late, they never give you quality information, and you never learn anything. Most of the time you feel that they seem not to care much whether you came to work at all. And this, accordingly, makes you think that your work does not make sense.
You are about to become one of those two types of bosses. When you work for yourself, there is no middle ground between them. You will either give yourself too much slack and never have any control, or you will pursue and drive yourself into a mental breakdown.
You will learn to relate to yourself in a way that you would never relate to your employees. You will shout at yourself and criticize yourself to such an extreme that this could be the basis for a trial of harassment if it was applied to any outside party. When I launched my information firm , I caught myself hearing what I was whispering in my head about an approaching failure.
This is unhealthy and, in general, not a good thing, but more than anyone else in your startup, you will know about the merciless pressure and the ticking of the clock and the need to resist. But what about the team? They do their paid work. And you risk your life.
If you have broken through everything written above and are still reading, then congratulations. I have some good news for you. Although it is difficult, it is not bad to be an entrepreneur. Creating your own business is worth it. Promotion of a startup is a wonderful thing. You have the opportunity to create something incredible, something unique that only you can.
You have the opportunity to take control of your own career and take responsibility for your destiny. Failures, hard work or difficult times will not take away this opportunity from you. When you do something for yourself - believe me - the sensations arising from this are much better than when working for someone else.
I have been in this race for many years and do not regret it. I could do something else, but still I want to be an entrepreneur, so that I can try to raise my business and create something new with my daily work.
If you enter into entrepreneurship, fully understanding that it will be difficult, that it will take years of your time and there will be many difficult nights, that this is the most difficult task that you will ever do, then everything will be fine with you. You will be able to go through difficult areas and evaluate the benefits.
And maybe - just maybe - if you go far enough and work hard enough, you can walk to the beach with a laptop and a cocktail, running your business the way you want.
But if you go there, expecting to immediately get the lifestyle depicted by your dream and live freely, then a quick and rude awakening awaits you.