It’s funny when people think being an entrepreneur is easy. But I can’t blame them, I mean people sell the “sitting on the beach, taking bong rips, driving a fast car, wearing an expensive watch” Silicon Valley fantasyland daydream all the time. But it’s just not the truth.
For me, entrepreneurship looks more like seven days a week of grinding through launching websites, meeting deadlines late at night, putting out fires, and overall making sure that the 50 balls flying in the air were being juggled without hitting the ground. All while trying to keep the culture alive at my company.
Then people often ask, “well if that’s what it looks like then why the hell do it?.”
To me, being an entrepreneur is all about building equity and value in yourself through what you do.
I think it’s important to really play the long game. Let me explain:
Most people stay focused on shooting for short term gains to get that paycheck at the end of the week instead of focusing on building a business and a legacy. (I get that being able to eat, pay bills, and all that stuff is very important.) I also know that this is where far too many people get stuck and afraid. They are afraid to be uncomfortable. They are afraid of uncertainty. Mostly, they are afraid to fail.
One cliché you’ll hear over and over again from many entrepreneurs is that now is the best time to do what you want to do. You can be anything you want to be, and do anything you want to do if you’re talented, passionate, and most importantly, you’re hungry.
It’s a cliché because it’s true. However, this can sound intimidating, and a bit crazy. And it is. But what I think is crazier is approaching something you do halfheartedly. This is a recipe for doubt, anxiety, and failure. These are things that can only weigh you down. Passion and motivation are the only things that can build you up, even in the face of failure. When you go all in, your focus is streamlined, and your path is clear, even if you don’t make it all the way there.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re going all in, you may still not be successful. Yup, face it. No amount of hard work automatically equals success. Will it make you more successful then you will be if you don’t work hard? Yes. Will it definitely make you a millionaire? Absolutely not.
Look, I used to be all in about being a musician. I tried very hard, I slept in vans and made no money while touring the country, and I put in real work for a long time. Along with having two kids while trying to keep being a professional musician going, it ended up not being successful for me. I like to think that I am talented and hard working, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me, no matter how hard I wanted to work at it. Even though that endeavor can be considered a failure, it brought me a huge dose of self awareness. The failure was quantifiable. I grew from the experience and most of all, it didn’t destroy me.
The only difference I see between my situations was with one I was all in about being a musician, and now I’m all in about running a digital and creative agency.
Yes there are weeks where all I can think is, “man, client services sucks, all these clients suck, their expectations are unreasonable, they have no idea what they want or what they are doing, or what they want is all stupid.”
And then there are the weeks where all I can think is, “holy shit, all the needles are moving in the right direction, all the pieces are coming together, and everyone is happy.”
Being an entrepreneur is peaks and valleys and it will always be like that.
From what I learn everyday, between making mistakes, having to think critically, making decisions on the fly, launching multiple client projects, and managing so many aspects of these big companies, I’ve gotten an even deeper appreciation for being the operator of my own company.
This is my long game. I feel like I am going to be grinding every day for the rest of my life. I’ve always burned the candle at both ends. As much as I have feel exhausted coming home every night, I feel even more accomplished because we were doing cool shit and making great work.
As up and down as it can be, I would take the darkest day of being an entrepreneur over the best day of working for someone else. Because that’s who I am. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right way for everyone. I like knowing I can steer my ship in whichever way I want it to go. If I fail it’s on me.
You might want to stick to doing the comfy salary gig, clocking in and out, going home at 5, coming home to play Call of Duty, and hanging with the kids. And that’s awesome, as long as you’re happy.
Keep doing you. I’m going to be over here doing me.