This is the life of what some would call an entrepreneur. But...
First and foremost, I don't like to refer to myself as "an entrepreneur" and here's why:
Is it just me, or does it seem like people love to claim that they're "an entrepreneur". Now many of them truly are the definition of one, but I get the impression that for others, it has more to do with the modern perception of what an entrepreneur is:
A go-getter going places, carving out their own trail and playing on their own terms.
An individual in a world that bullies people into accepting their pre-conceived idea of "diversity".
Now, if I'm going to be called that?
I'll leave it for other people to call me that of their own free-will.
I think the idea of being an entrepreneur has this sex appeal because it's seen as the dream job- a life of glamour and financial risk that guarantees riches and fame like the ending of a Hollywood movie.
Personally? I regard myself as a business owner, before anything else. I love what I do. I love sitting down to begin on a new project. I love writing or editing my clients' work and giving their copy polish from the opening word to the closing paragraph. Hours pass by like highway road signs and little else matters to me when I submerge my conscious effort into another item of work.
But...having done this for 5 years now, I've become used to the on-going hardships of this gig as well. I'm sure any business owner or professional branching out for themselves can relate to these 5 things that stand out to me about adopting the life of somebody people call "an entrepreneur":
#1- Alone Time
I've found this especially challenging over the 5 years I've been in business. Sure, there's no office politics, chinese-whispiers or petty bullshit to deal with. I have nobody cracking the whip over me. But- I spend a lot of time on my own. Hours and hours solving my own problems and dealing with stuff that won't get tended to at all if I don't do it. Fact is, we're made for relationships with other people. Spending hours and hours inside? It catches up with you. Routinely spending such lengthy periods of time in your own world requires some getting used to, which moves me on to the second thing I've learned:
#2- The Art Of Self-Discipline
If you don't already have self-discipline in how you manage your time, you're going to learn about it pretty quickly. You have to train yourself. Because there come days where you wake up and no matter how much you enjoy what you do, you don't feel inspired to begin doing it. Or you get to the middle of the day and you get side-tracked. Or distractions come up and you have to keep yourself focused to stay on track with things. Otherwise the hours build up, the hours roll over into days and come the end of the week? You look back and realise just how many important targets you fell short of. If you don't stay on top of how you manage your time, it slips away from you quickly. You have to nail down how you manage your time: scheduling, organisation- not just how you organise your business, but how you organise life itself. Everything gets a renewed perspective through the filter of "Is this important or can I cut this out?" Over a long enough period, you can expect to trim a lot of fun time-wasters here...
#3- The Lack Of a Linear Path
Your progress doesn't take place on a straight, smooth plane like an escalator. No, there's ups and downs, periods in time where you feel like you were born to do this, then other periods where you question why you did this in the first place? You wonder if you're kidding yourself and everybody else but you regards you as a joke. Should you just pack it in and go work for somebody else? It's happened to me more than once. I dare say it happens to all of us who step out on our own. You see other people who've accomplished so much in such a short space of time (so it seems) and you feel like a poser by comparison. You feel as if you don't measure up. The temptation to spend too much time comparing your journey to that of others (instead of focusing on beating your own personal best) is something you've got to learn to get past.
#4- The Beauty Of Balance
When it comes to scheduling, you soon realise you can't just be in 'work mode' all the time. It's not what we were made for. What's the point in breaking past seven figures if you have no free time to spend or share your riches? Who cares about being the face on the cover of that magazine if it's a face barely recognised by your own family and friends anymore? Is financial health worth physical and spiritual poverty? Our careers are meant to serve us- not the other way round.
#5- You Are Not Alone
Sure, you'll spend a lot of solitary time doing what you do best. But the amount of online videos you find from entrepreneurs, covering the same points as these? They don't come about through pure coincidence. Spending hours and hours working solo can make you believe you're cut off from the rest of the world. But- it's not true. You have to stay in regular contact with the people close to you. You're not alone.
So for me, these 5 points are the ones that have stood out to me after 5 years as a business owner. And from the videos I've seen by other people, I know that what I feel sometimes and the adjustments I've had to make are not unique. But tell me- did I miss anything crucial? Is there more I could've added to these points?
Let me know, and share the story of your own journey so far...