You’ve given your notice. You’ve told your friends and family you’re starting your own company. Heck, you even bought business cards showing off your new business’ name and your fancy Founder/CEO title. It’s official. You’re no longer an employee. Before you let the dizzying freedom of entrepreneurship go to your head, you might want to sit yourself down and face a few facts about this intoxicating journey you’ve embarked on. While the path toward freedom is one you’re not likely to regret, there are a few truths you need to grasp if you don’t want to be blindsided by realities on your journey. Let the following facts sink in and then take a deep breath and plunge into the life you’ve longed for:
You’ll Work More Not Less
When you make the jump to entrepreneurship, you might think you’ll have more free time, since your time is now your own. There is no boss to report to, no time clock to punch. The fact is, you’ll probably end up working more hours, since any business success rests squarely on your shoulders. Even relaxing becomes a guilty pleasure; you’ll always have that voice inside your head telling you that you should be working on your business instead of taking it easy.
Learning to Say No
As an employee, you are conditioned to say yes to any opportunities that come your way, such as overtime shifts and job promotions. If you want to move ahead as an employee, you have to be the eager beaver always willing to take on more tasks. As an entrepreneur, guarding your time is one of the most crucial lessons you’ll need to learn. Just because a customer suggests a product tweak, that doesn’t mean you need to immediately iterate and change your product. Friends or mentors will want to bend your ear to discuss the state of your fledgling company. Each minute you take away from growing your business equals more cash out the door without a corresponding uptick in new customers or improved productivity. Learn to say no to time-sucking tasks that could just as easily be conducted via email or a quick text message.
Every Job is Your Job
When you work for someone else, it’s easy to get in the habit of delegating tasks to others or deflecting work with the “that’s not my department” attitude. Especially when you are in the early stages of building your own company, every job is your job. Marketing, customer service, tech support — they’re all part of your job description as an entrepreneur. If you enjoy delegating tasks more than you enjoy doing the work yourself, this is one truth you’re going to find hard to swallow.
Realizing that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t all wine and roses can leave you feeling a little disillusioned. Once you accept the fact that the challenges make the victories even sweeter, you’ll be better prepared to revel in the triumphs that come your way.