How many of you jumped on this post after reading the title because you want to become an entrepreneur?
I bet all of you are raising your hands right now and that's good because you've jumped onto the right post to learn exactly the things no one tells you about being an entrepreneur. Today, I've invited Laura from Six Figure Writing Secrets and also a long-time entrepreneur to share her knowledge of being an entrepreneur.
Let's jump into it:
When starting a career as an entrepreneur today, there are several different things that can come as a shock to you as you get used to the prospect of working for yourself.
This is true whether or not you have managed your entrepreneurial venture as a side hustle while holding down a full-time job or whether you're launching full-time on your own as a solopreneur.
What follows is my advice from more than four years of working for myself as an entrepreneur in different ventures. I should first share that being an entrepreneur is a wonderful and exciting opportunity if your personality is well-aligned to working for yourself.
However, being an entrepreneur comes with its own unique set of challenges. What follows are five things that no one will warn you before you start working entirely for yourself.
You Will Become an Expert Decision-Maker
One of my early mentors told me “business is just a process of making decisions over and over again.” How true that is.
Every day you’ll be faced with dozens of decisions about direction, strategy, people, and software.
If you’re growing your business the right way, you won’t be afforded the luxury of spending four days agonizing over whether to get a new iPhone or if that new webinar software is worth the investment.
You’ll become scarily decisive over time, particularly if you learn to trust your intuition. You might even outsource smaller-level decisions to an assistant so you can focus on the big picture.
Be prepared that you might even get decision fatigue after a long day at work, so the old “what should we do for dinner” question or other life details might wear you out.
Work-Life Balance will be a Constant Challenge
As an entrepreneur you must be able to discipline yourself to succeed and get the work done while also trying to balance having a life. It might have seemed like the 40 hours you put in in your day job would drag on, but as an entrepreneur you may find that your business will bleed into your personal life more regularly.
For example, you're likely to find yourself thinking about business, ideas, or evaluating concepts while driving or in the shower. It can be very difficult, particularly when you do work from home to have a dividing line between your personal life and your business life.
Striving to have a balance such as scheduling off time into your calendar, logging your hours to see how much you're actually working every week and scheduling vacation well in advance can help to minimize the challenges.
You May End Up Working Far More Than you Thought but You'll Love It More
Working for yourself is an interesting dynamic.
I first became an entrepreneur because I couldn't stand putting in 40 hours on someone else's clock every single week. However, there are certainly weeks where I have worked 40, 50, and even 60 hours for myself.
Yet, there are also plenty of weeks I worked 5 or less hours. I’ve been on eight weeks of vacation this year and have another planned for late fall. That’s why I love working for myself!
The difference is that I have the passion to push this forward and because I feel like I'm contributing towards something that will be a long term gain for me. There's a quote out there about pursuing your dreams because otherwise you'll end up pursuing someone else's.
There is a different dynamic of excitement when you feel you have found your purpose and your passion and infusing this into your daily life and long term planning as an entrepreneur can be an exciting opportunity. But remember to see point #1 - you need to make sure to schedule in down time and opportunities to take a break from the mental stamina required to run a business.
Another major difference I noticed was my excitement in the morning. I’ve always been a morning person, but waking up to do someone else’s grind often made me begging for more sleep or a snow day.
For three years now, I’ve been bounding out of bed to get to work on my tasks simply because I’m thrilled about some idea I had or project I’m working on.
Your Family and Friends May Not Understand What You're Actually Doing
Throwing around terms like blogger, internet marketer, SEO specialist, and the like may bring a range of quizzical look from your friends and family members outside the online world.
It can also be difficult for your loved ones to adjust to the fact that even though you're at home, you're actually working.
People may contact you and send emails or phone calls throughout your work day expecting you to reply instantly because you're “at home.” It can be hard to train your friends and family that you are actually on calls with clients or in the zone working on a new project and can't respond to them immediately.
Saying that you're a blogger and earning revenue from it is not something that should be taken lightly.
Your friends and family should learn to respect your boundaries.
It may take some education on your part to bring people up to speed with this but it can be very beneficial once you've taken the effort to explain what you're doing and why you need time to complete your work.
Having people ask if you can run errands, research things for them, or help them with a variety of problems can be challenging when you're an entrepreneur. So gently reinforce that you're extremely busy or set up other boundaries to help your loved ones get used to the idea. If you choose to set regular working hours, your friends and family will get used to you calling them back after five.
You Will Come to Rely On Your Support System for Process and Sanity
Working as an entrepreneur means that if you're very successful, you will ultimately hit a point where you can no longer do everything yourself.
This is one of the greatest challenges faced by entrepreneurs as it can be hard to hand over the reins to a team of support individuals to help you sustain and grow your business. The reality is that as your company grows to the six figure point and beyond, it will become nearly impossible for you to handle everything on your own.
Don’t even get me started on how Trello changed my life. Or paying someone else to mow my giant lawn. Or the coach I can text or call for motivation or urgent strategy help. Or finding the right accountant. Or the help hired to properly document my dissertation citations. Hours and hours saved, people! Sanity maintained!
You will drive yourself crazy or feel overtired all of the time if you keep up with the idea that you have to do everything yourself.
Having a virtual assistant is often the first way that entrepreneurs begin to bring support onto their team. It’s a great first step to begin to see the positive investment.
Over time, you might add a bookkeeper, an administrative specialist, a researcher, a social media manager, or another type of virtual helper to ensure that things get done.
As the business owner, you need to think big picture about how what you create contributes to revenue and then consider how you can delegate some of these other tasks to another professional.
Being an entrepreneur is fun, challenging, and eventful all at the same time. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re well-suited to work for yourself, take the leap of faith!
Who is Laura Pennington?
Laura Pennington is a former inner city middle school teacher turned freelance writer. She got her start writing copy and SEO content for law firms. Today, she balances a full-time load of freelance writing clients while helping new and emerging writers and VAs launch and grow successful lifestyle businesses from home. She’s been featured in Business Insider and the Huffington Post