Past generations might find today’s vision of the American dream unrecognizable. While the American dream was once composed of white picket fences and a comfortable home in the suburbs, today “making it” looks quite different.
Many individuals would gladly sacrifice the 9–5 grind for a chance at becoming an entrepreneur, with the promise of becoming your own boss, developing a business of your own creation, and watching it grow and thrive.
Starting WordStream and witnessing it develop from a startup into a truly successful company has been a wild and rewarding experience, but there are definitely some aspects about being an entrepreneur that no one warned me about.
Startup life isn’t all sunshine and sandwiches, and it’s worth hearing the reality of the entrepreneur lifestyle before diving into the fray.
I’m here to give it to you straight friends: the gritty truth about being an entrepreneur.
Dropping Out Does Not Make You The Next Steve Jobs
Many misguided individuals believe that if they could only throw off the suffocating shackles of higher education they, too, could create the next Apple. Dropping out doesn’t make you a millionaire.
The truth is that neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates dropped out of school to loaf around and play League of Legends all day. Steve Jobs continued to audit classes for over a year after officially dropping out (he cites a calligraphy class as his inspiration for the beloved Mac typefaces and font spacing), and Gates had been planning his future software company for some time before leaving Harvard.
They were rare exceptions — chances are you’ll be much better off finishing school before embarking on your entrepreneurial adventure.
And while we’re at it, Einstein didn’t fail math — he was an excellent student and mastered calculus by age 15. He also married his cousin and never (ever) wore socks, so maybe it’s time to stop using him as the model to base our lives around.
You Have to be Insanely Self-Motivated
To simply say that you need to be self-motived in order to become a successful entrepreneur is an understatement. You need to be the kind of person who does their taxes in January and flosses twice a day.
You’ll also need to be authentically curious about the world, with a thirst for solving problems. When you first launch a startup, you’re on your own. Eventually you may grow your team and bring great folks onboard to help, but for a while you’ll riding solo. This means you (and only you) are the marketer, the finances coordinator, the PR director, the head of customer service, etc. You will be wearing every hat under the sun.
As you can imagine, this is basically setting up shop in Stress City, USA. However, if you’re self-motivated, this can be a fun and exciting learning opportunity. Just know that you’ll be playing every instrument in the jazz ensemble, so prepare to be challenged!
You Won’t Get Rich — At Least Not Right Away
If your business starts to grow and become successful, it can feel fantastic! Suddenly you’re seeing big money roll in, and you might get dollar sign eyes. It’s tempting to go on spending sprees (because buying a Tesla makes you a superhero) and reward yourself for all of your hard work. The reality is you should be feeding and growing your business with the money it brings in — not treating your business like your personal piggy bank.
Good bootstrapping builds a long-term profitable business, so avoid self-indulgence and keep yourself on a low salary. Besides, your worn-out boots look vintage, and you can get all your daily nutrients from Ramen! (Note: you cannot get all your daily nutrients from Ramen — but you can try!)…
Read more @