Monday, May 19, 2014

The flip side of the coin (Entrepreneurship)

Recently I read an article by Sir Richard Branson called “Welcome to the Dark Side” essentially out lining seven things that they ‘don’t tell people’ when they get in to entrepreneurship.  ( I was meaning to write something on the topic myself and the article was just what I needed to organize my thoughts and put something down on paper. Here are my five points:

11.)      Entrepreneurship can be a very hard livelihood to be in. Making money is not easy, never easy, no matter how many people talk about how lucky people have been. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but the general rule of thumb is you need to work very hard, extremely hard, in order to make money, or to make it work. The more you put in, the more you get. It’s very much connected.

22.)      Entrepreneurship can also be a very lonely place. Generally while your friends and family are there to support you, you generally have to do things by yourself. If you fail, the responsibility falls unto you. Thus, don’t ever expect sympathy from the people around you, no matter how hard you work.

33.)      You social life WILL suffer. This is very much connected to the first 2 points. Your business will take most of your time. I used to have a regular nine-to-five job, weekends off, poya days off, sick days off, but once you’re the person who’s responsible, this all changes. Your work days become much longer, which means that you will have less time for pretty much everything. Taking days off at a time will also be a challenge, even when you’re not feeling great. In the words of Bruce Almighty: “This is how the cookie crumbles.”

44.)      As Sir Branson states in his article, entrepreneurship leads to you being unhappy. My wife knows this all too well. I am constantly unhappy no matter what achieves. When we raised the second round, at a great valuation, I was down, since I was already thinking of the challenges that lay ahead, and no matter how much we do in sales, I am generally not upbeat since I am constantly thinking how to replicate and make revenues grow month no month. End of the day though, this is what drives entrepreneurs to excel.

55.)      Finally, with the added stress and long work days, your diet and exercise routine will suffer. I like to think this is why I have put on weight in the last 18 months J

So why do it? Because the rewards of entrepreneurship outweigh the downside more times than not and you get to do what you love.