Entrepreneurship is the new black. Everyone wants to be their own boss. And, as much as I love seeing people, especially women, pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors full time, I really have to say something. People often come to me and express how entrepreneurial journey has inspired them. “You’re living your best life,” they say, “You get to travel and be your own boss.” These things are true. Then, they’ll add, “Now I’ve decided to be my own boss, too!” Sometimes, I nod emphatically. But most times, I cringe. Because entrepreneurship is a lot of things – it’s exhilarating, challenging and liberating. It’s also not for everyone. I implore you: Please do not quit your day job. You are not built for this.
Let me explain in layman’s terms – this shit is not glamorous and it certainly isn’t as easy as it looks.
If entrepreneurship was a recipe, it would look like this – start with three cups of organic, range free Hustle. Add in two cups of Tenacity & Discipline, along with two cups of Innovation and stir well. From there, sprinkle 1/8 cup of luck and one tablespoon of Cautious Optimism. Plop it in a incubato- er, oven and you’re good to go. Just keep in mind that the oven and the stove may spontaneously combust and you’ll have to start from scratch.
True entrepreneurship goes beyond reveling in the ability to work remotely and enjoy unlimited vacation time. Sure, you have the “freedom” to be your own boss, but there’s a certain level of discipline required in order for this to make sense in the long run. Even though you’re working from home or Starbucks or WeWork, there aren’t any days off. Your business becomes your baby. While it’s important to take time to recharge, being a successful business owner usually means you never stop thinking about your business, whether its how to secure higher paying clients, what you’d like your core values to be or what your plans are for the next quarter. The list is endless. There’s no real time for time off, because if you don’t work, you don’t eat – literally. Entrepreneurship is an exercise in constant innovation and a default to action. As serial entrepreneur and my client Govindh Jayaraman says, “Make it bad, then make it better.”
Entrepreneurship shouldn’t be code for chronic underemployment.
Granted, some seasons are slower than others, especially when starting out. However, you are doing your professional development and business a disservice if you’re consistently taking gigs that are underpaying you or aren’t challenging.
What isn’t often discussed is how heartbreaking entrepreneurship can be.
There have been more tears than I care to admit. I have spent hours meeting with potential clients and developing proposals, just for them to go with someone who had less experience than me because they were cheaper or a larger agency who I could never compete with. I have walked away from potential clients who wanted to piecemeal my proposal or would have been more trouble than they were worth. In the midst of trying to scale my business, I have wondered if it is even worth the effort.
Entrepreneurship takes sacrifice.
My business takes precedent over everything I do. This September, I cancelled a one month vacation to Southeast Asia because I unknowingly scheduled it during a huge business development month. There are no such thing as snow days or sick days. Additionally, you shoulder a significant responsibility. If something goes wrong with my client, I am to blame – period. There’s no Account Director or AE to help me fix it – at least, not yet.
I wake up every single morning and live and breathe my brand. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my project management skills, business operations and the output for my clients.
But this was the best decision I have ever made.
This may sound like I’m bitching, but I’m not. Starting KC & Co Communications is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. I love what I do. I love inspiring others to do great work. I’m happy to be in a place where I am financially stable and able to travel and enjoy life.
If this blog post made you cringe, entrepreneurship may not be for you. You may not about this life and that’s okay.
It’s okay if the only way you’ll have financial stability is by working for someone else. Everyone isn’t able and that’s no shade.
This blog post isn’t meant to be rude or mean – I don’t have all of the answers. I’m in my second year of entrepreneurship and I am still growing and learning so much, as a person and a business owner. I’m currently navigating the shaky waters as a brand goes into its toddler years, also known as “scale”. I have been incredibly blessed to be surrounded by people who are invested in my success – my support system is phenomenal. But if you’re thinking about quitting your day job, I urge you to look beyond the perceived glamour and evaluate whether or not you have the guts for it.