Entrepreneurship: Realities vs. Perceptions

I believe being an entrepreneur would make most people immensely unhappy.

So many people believe entrepreneurship is this glamorous job, but I promise you that beyond Shark Tank, the day to day of it is not glamorous at all. 

In fact, it’s pretty miserable.

I spend a lot of time trying to talk people out of this. When they’re confronted with the realities, they realize it’s not actually what they want. Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult, painful things you can do with your life. Of course I will admit there’s upside, but it doesn’t come until you dedicate many years of struggle, sacrifice, and hard work to building up your business.

You take all the risk. Everything’s your fault 100 percent of the time. 

If you realize that entrepreneurship (and all the pain that comes with it) is not for you, there’s nothing wrong with that. It means you know yourself. 

If you’re not very risk tolerant and you don’t really enjoy the entrepreneurial aspect of the business and then you go out and start a business because you think that’s going to be the path to freedom for you, that would be one of the worst things you could possibly do. I’s not to say you couldn’t figure it out. I’m sure you could figure it out, but it’s going to be working against yourself every step of the way, and you’re not going to be very satisfied when you’re working against yourself. 

Alternatively, I see a lot of people that have a lot of great skill sets and capabilities that know being the entrepreneur is not for them. They may not want to start a business, but they could be a great leader within a business and I’ll let somebody else deal with all that risk. 

If you were like the number fifth, seventh, or 13th employee at Facebook, they are almost certainly a billionaire today. They didn’t have to be Zuckerberg. 

I know a lot of times people equate financial success with being an entrepreneur, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. You can grow within an organization, make a great contribution to the business, and take none of the risk. 

In that scenario, somebody else takes all the risk. They carry all the downside. That high-level contributor doesn’t have to worry about that. Instead, they can strap themselves to the right rocket ship, learn from that entrepreneur, work with them, grow within the organization, and gain a lot of autonomy. 

Crisp’s COO Alex is this way. I have asked her why she doesn’t start a business, and she tells me she has zero desire to start a business. It’s just not for her. She says she’d rather let me do that, but she loves operating a business. 

She knows herself.

If you are not built for the realities of what entrepreneurship entails, you can find another role within a great entrepreneurial organization that allows you to do the things that you enjoy without carrying the risk or the downside. 

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