Running a Business: Expectations vs Reality

When most people launch their business, freedom is what they’re looking for. Not just financial freedom, but the freedom to execute your decisions quickly, without having to deal with office politics. The freedom to free up your schedule as you please and have more time for your family or social life. What you truly desire is to be your own boss. Unfortunately, it’s not as freeing as it sounds. Here are a few misconceptions about founding and running your own business, and what it’s really like.

We’re going to talk about harsh realities, but don’t be discouraged

While entrepreneurship is not for everyone, it is not all doom and gloom. It is important to be self-aware enough to know that you can withstand these harsh realities and achieve personal success. Also remember that personal success is whatever you define it to be, and can also be achieved through your 9 to 5. If you truly believe you can weather the storms and hurricanes in the entrepreneur world, then go on right ahead and jump in!

Let’s get this part out of the way: you’re technically never going to be your own boss, not even as an entrepreneur.

From the moment you strike out on your own, you have a duty to your employees and your customers, they are your “boss” now. These obligations require a lot of work on your interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence; and you don’t get to ignore everything because it’s after working hours. You are “free” to work whenever you want, but you will quickly find that in the beginning, if you are not working extra hours, day in and day out, you are setting yourself up for failure.

An entrepreneur does not even “own” their calendar

This is this sobering realization that can make or break a new business owner. Unlike the 9 to 5’er who has the option to clock in and clock out, entrepreneurship is a full-time job in every sense of the term because one simply cannot afford to be lazy. Between research, networking, planning, business strategy, marketing, sales, and several related activities, a business owner not only runs the risk of burning out but also having little time for personal affairs, which is why the most successful business owners have to master a number of time management routines to stay on top of their tasks and achieve their goals. 

An entrepreneur must be prepared to operate at break-even or perhaps even a loss

For how long, one cannot say, and this may be the harshest reality of all. Many factors contribute to this, and in some industries it can go on for years. There are ways to reduce this burden on your cash flow, such as outsourcing, flexible wholesale agreements, buying on credit from suppliers, and in drastic situations, downsizing, but let us hope it does not get to that so soon.

It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding

Even though this is the reality, many entrepreneurs find this life fulfilling, and sometimes they reach such enormous success that they can delegate enough to watch their business grow while they relax. It’s about having the fortitude to get through the tough years first. You can do it if it’s something you dedicate yourself to.

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