Is Entrepreneurship right for you?
It is tempting, it might even be cool; starting a (digital) business of your own, is a new way of working. Startups appeal to a new group of enthusiastic workers, who are taking the market by storm. The conventional career route is about to become a whole lot more versatile.
In the United States, making it “on your own” equals the “American Dream.” Being self-sufficient is something everyone should strive for. Whereas in mainland Europe, the classical career path is still the most preferred option. Even-though a trend towards entrepreneurship is emerging in Europe as well, it might not be the right thing for everyone. Here is why.
Ask yourself: “Why do I want to start my own business?”
What is your objective
Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Even if you have a great idea, there are many possibilities on how you can pursue your dreams and bring them to life.
Interestingly enough, most startup founders are over the age of 40 years old. These founders, have had their fair share of corporate life already and want to live a different life. Or they feel that their current employer does not provide them with enough support to work on their ideas.
The most mentioned reasons I hear when I speak with aspiring company founders are the following:
- Be free
- No nine-to-five job “kinda guy or gal”
- It is exciting
- Not a single day is the same
- Make more money
The latter possibly being the most unrealistic one. Startup life is a lot, but it is not a short-term cash-machine. You will need to invest, not just in monetary terms, but time especially, to get where you want to be. Most starting salaries in startups are not that great.
The reason mainly being that you start with a zero customer base. Without the necessary customers or even a product, it is hard to pay yourself or your employees a decent salary (in most of the cases).
I believe that it is important that you understand why you want to be an entrepreneur if you want to be successful. You need to remind yourself constantly, what your long-term objectives are and why you are doing this. When you have just gotten started, brace yourself; you have got a very long way to go.
It is a marathon, not a race
You will need to show stamina and determination if you want to make it as an Entrepreneur. For the most part, you will be faced with challenges that are beyond that what you know and can handle. That is also the beauty of being an entrepreneur, though.
If you are looking to make a quick buck, become a successful business man or woman within two to three years, I can tell you today that it will take a whole lot more than founding a company to become an entrepreneur.
One of the most underestimated parts of entrepreneurship is the timeline. Investors are bad at it, expectations are generally far too high, and the amount of time that needs to be invested to get things done is “always” too short.
It takes stamina, discipline, and hard work to build up the necessary knowledge base, you will need, to become a good company builder.
I made a deal with myself, right after I had left university, that I would continue to work hard on being a good entrepreneur until the age of 35 – and then take it from there. Ironically, I am 33 years old now, closing in on my 35ish target age and I feel like I am just starting to get a hang of it.
What if it does not work out
You do not necessarily need a fall-back plan. But you need to understand, that your working life on this planet is pretty darn long. You will need to make an effort to contribute to your society over a number of decades, if you want to live a good life on this earth.
What can you take with it for the future, independent of your own company?
I have asked myself exactly that question on numerous occasions. I know that the things I do in my startup(s), are things I would “also” love to in the future. Therefore, I have built up a network of contacts, being able to leverage my knowledge-base and know that there is a market for my services.
Life after your startup
You need to know, that most startup ideas, do not work out. It is not only about you, but the team and the people you manage to include in your plans. Starting a startup alone is not the best idea, and you will need to be a team player if you want to be successful in the long-run.
I do not think that everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Know this, it is okay to fail. And if you believe in yourself and your ideas, you should go for it. Realize what you are getting yourself into, though. Entrepreneurship is hard work, and there is nothing romantic about it; except for the journey, your personal venture.
Hopefully, you will look back at your life in 20-30 years and understand that you have done all you can to live a great life. I love being an entrepreneur. Although all of the above challenges remain, it gives me the strength and freedom to be the best version of myself. I do not think that everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. However, if you feel like giving it a go, you simply should.
Have a great day, Remco