Knowing what to expect from running a company may cause you to get more excited or cause you to reconsider.
Why would you start a business? You may get over 32 million answers since that’s how many people have their own business (as of 2020). At the same time, entrepreneurism is a struggle between pursuing a dream and living a nightmare.
So, it’s worth identifying why you would choose (or keep) this lifestyle.
You can pursue your values and focus on a purpose and path which matter to you
You have autonomy and can engage with people who align with your style
You can be creative and explore ideas which interest you
You have the opportunity for growth with no limits
You will face constant pressure with unimaginable challenges and obstacles
You will have uncertainty where often there is no clearly right answer
You may feel alone and have to confront challenges where only you can decide
You will devote yourself to your business more than anything or anyone else and may be working long hours with fewer breaks or vacations
Some other considerations could fall in either category:
Prosperity = While owning equity can create huge wealth, many founders face debt and realistically could earn more on salary.
Security = While you cannot be fired, if you lose your company, then there is no severance or easy transfer within the company
Control = While you may perceive that being a founder results in complete autonomy, you are actually trading one set of stakeholders (e.g. clients) for another (e.g. managers).
Prestige = While you may view being an entrepreneur as being prestigious, you have no control how others perceive or respect you.
Starting a company is a unique experience for everyone, however, many people experience the following:
Incredible highs and lows.
Constant networking (since opportunities appear through perseverance).
Juggling various areas of expertise (in the same day, you’ll wrestle with product development, client services, marketing, sales, accounting, investor relations, shipping, and maybe five other areas that could be separate jobs).
Often, you may not feel successful despite working constantly.
Constantly learning in both the aspect of gaining knowledge and also feeling information overflow (in the latter, you’ll need to prioritize data and ensure you receive feedback from different perspectives to not miss on important trends).
Imperfection, for many reasons but perhaps because you have to make so many decisions, they cannot possibly be fully conceived.
Doubt as you pour your heart, soul, and body into a business that seems to not be getting any momentum.
Startup life can feel twisting and sinking and also rewarding and meaningful.
I’m not advocating whether or not to become an entrepreneur. (I’m biased but not judgmental.) My bias is that self-awareness improves either decision since it’s best to know yourself.
Photo by Riccardo Annandale who can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/pavementspecialx/