Ten Reasons Why it’s Tough to be an Entrepreneur

March 2, 2007

Being an entrepreneur comes with great rewards but it has its downsides as well. It changes your life; you find yourself with more of some things and less of others.

More Responsibility
When you make a commitment to your customers, readers, partners, employees or anyone else you interact with, you’re expected to follow through. Everyone is human and falls short sometimes but if you make a habit of it, the people you have surrounded yourself with will quickly scatter. Of course we should all be responsible with our personal interactions. Being an entrepreneur simply means you have even more relationships to be accountable for.

More Stress
If you’re like me you always have a list in your head of the things you want to be working on but can never seem to get to everything on the list. It’s easy to stress out about the things that you’d like to do but don’t have time. When I start to feel this way, I just remind myself that there is always tomorrow. I’ll work as hard and as smart as I can today, whatever I don’t get to, I’ll worry about in the morning.

More Risk
Starting your own business is an investment. Putting money into your venture is riskier than just socking it away in a savings account. Of course, the upside is much higher. A lot of elbow grease, a good product or service, and some great marketing can potentially yield a wonderful return on your investment. However, be mindful that many small businesses fail in the first several years for a variety of reasons. As you look at your financial situation and decide how much to sink into your company, remember the risk that comes with the investment.

More Decisions
You can drive yourself crazy by over-thinking all of the decisions you have to make as a small business owner. I think the key is being able to identify which decisions are critical and require some analysis vs which can be made off the cuff. Unfortunately, we usually learn this by making a bad decision and realizing its implications later on. Don’t be afraid to make a decision, the worst that could happen is that you’re wrong. As long as we learn from our mistakes we should be just fine in the long run. Of course, you can always leverage the experience of others by seeking counsel for a difficult decision. It could end up saving you a good deal of time and money down the road.

More Doubt
With more decisions comes more doubt. Since hindsight is 20/20, we may find ourselves second guessing our choices. As we try and define our business and the direction that it’s taking we may question some of our past decisions and the future viability of our plans. It seems to me this doubt is part of the learning process, we just can’t let ourselves get so caught up in second guessing that we cease to be effective decision makers.

Less Sleep
As I mentioned above, there always seems to be so much to do but never enough time to do it all. Before you know it the clock reads 2 AM and you have to get up in just 4 hours. Amazingly, I’ve found my body somewhat adapted to the lack of sleep over time and I can get by on much less than I used to. I still have to pick one or two nights a week where I get 6-7 hours to keep me chugging along.

Less Personal Time
With so much to do, you often have less time for things you used to enjoy. With limited time you have to make decisions about the free time you do have. I try and make sure my time spent working doesn’t cut into time with my family. Of course this means I usually work on things once they’re in bed, which contributes to the less sleep factor. Having less personal time may not sound very enticing, however, if you’re working on something you’re passionate about then it becomes your new hobby and you don’t miss the other things very much.

Less Money
You’ll need money to start and operate your business. Unless you have a ton of cash just lying around, and who does, this means you’ll likely have less money to work with outside your business. Of course, this is hopefully a temporary problem. While managing your cash flow becomes very important for a small business, if your investment pays off then down the road you’ll actually have more money.

Less Stability
One main difference between being an employee and an entrepreneur is that as a business owner your income is tied to the performance of your company. As an employee, you’re typically compensated even when times are bad. Not having a steady paycheck or not being covered by corporate benefits brings less stability to your finances. The flip side is that as an entrepreneur, when your business does well, you are rewarded for it, as opposed to an employer profiting from your hard work.

Less Support
As an employee of an organization you can call on its resources for assistance. When you’re in business by yourself, you don’t often have this luxury. Lack of corporate resources can be compensated for by building a good network of friends and other entrepreneurs that you can tap into when you need assistance. Luckily the Internet has made finding and participating in such communities a much easier task.

Up To You
In my opinion, the benefits of being an entrepreneur outweigh the drawbacks. I guess there is no way for you to know for sure unless you give it a try. So get started on that big idea today and decide for yourself whether being an entrepreneur is for you.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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