Being an entrepreneur is one of the most freeing and challenging experiences of a lifetime. The lack of outside structure has to be made up for by personal motivation otherwise your company will become crippled. This personal motivation - when applied correctly can free you of a lot of the stresses that come with everyday life.
Being an entrepreneur is one of the most manic depressive things any human can do. There is never a middle ground in feelings as you are either on the top of the world with every advantage or you are quickly plummeting to earth with no parachute. I find it enjoyable - exhilarating even, hell I'm addicted.
Here are 5 things your entrepreneur friends will never tell you about themselves and their businesses:
5) Titles mean nothing
Big bad Founder/CEO/ - woah! It means nothing. The proper name for that title is Custodian. Being the CEO of a startup is the equivalent of being a house keeper for an orphanage. You have people running around in every direction trying to do twenty things at once. You're a glorified cleaner-upper. As the CEO it's your position to rally the team for battle and make sure everyone has their swords sharpened and their bows strung. When it comes down to it the only thing your title gets you is a few more people to speak with you at a conference. Notice what your true entrepreneurial friends do when speaking with someone else; they don't hop in an claim their title - they wait to be asked. Why? Because they know it means nothing.
4) Becoming a Success Overnight is a Myth
Just like the Loch Ness monster and Big Foot - becoming an overnight success is a myth. Well, unless you consider 12 - 20 hour days for five+ years overnight. It's just a lot harder than it seems. Building a company that is scaleable and sustainable is not an easy task. Most people that are given a lifetime can not achieve it. Have you heard one of your friends saying they'll have an exit in less than a year? So have I. Although this is entirely possible the it's far more unlikely. Face the facts - you're in this for the long run.
3) You're paid less than minimum wage
How you ask? Well, if you're truly passionate about what you're doing you'll spend time doing it. Most of the time you won't be able to get away from your computer. This means that you may be making more than minimum wage but when you compare that to the long hours you should be working - you're making scraps - maybe $5 an hour.
Some of your friends may admit this and some may not. Anyone who is passionate about what they do will admit that they're not in this for the short term gain - that's what corporate America is for. If you want to make six figures out of college - go get a job.
2) You actually have LESS freedom
Yes you are able to take off when you want. You're even able to come and leave as you wish. Let's get serious though - leaving is not much of an option. As the Custodian, you have to be always keeping up on your work otherwise the place will be trashed when you get back.
1) You're afraid
Let's face it - When you start a company you're taking a huge risk. Some people have larger risks than others but then again some people are more prone to risk than others. At the end of the day, if you don't bust your ass to make sales - you will go under. Going under for most entrepreneurs means entering uncharted territories. The truth of it is that the feeling of failure combined with the unknown is not the best feeling in the world.
Next time you're with your entrepreneur friends ask them a couple of these questions - but pay attention to their faces. They may give you a different answer than they truly feel.