There are a lot of things that come with being an Entrepreneur: both amazing benefits, (like not having to answer to anyone else but yourself), and incredible sacrifices, (like not taking that trip you really wanted to go on with all of your friends).
At the end of the day, you continue to forge ahead because you’re doing what you’re most passionate about, and no one can take that away from you.
But aside from the amazing benefits and incredible sacrifices we all make as Entrepreneurs, there are also everyday realizations that come in and out of focus as we continue on our journey – I like to think of them as mini discoveries.
New questions either we’re asked by someone else, or that we may ask ourselves, come into existence; new assumptions that are constantly being made by those who aren’t Entrepreneurs yet, or who may never be, reveal themselves.
I find these discoveries interesting, funny, frustrating, and most of all, educational. Some or all of them may not sound familiar to you, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve discovered some of the same things after becoming an Entrepreneur.
9 Things you’ll discover after becoming an entrepreneur
1. Friday’s are no longer the best thing that ever happened to you
I used to be really pumped up on Friday mornings: I was waking up and getting ready to put in the last eight hours of hard work before being able to kick back and relax for a solid 48 hours – no work, no responsibilities – just fun. Well, Friday’s are a lot different when you’re an Entrepreneur because it’s no longer a day you obsess over.
Discovery #1: That line in the sand you used to draw at 5pm on Friday evening has disappeared, and instead, each day – in its own special way – sort of feels just as awesome as Friday.
2. Not all cafes were created equally
Working remotely has become a big part of a lot of peoples’ lives – both Entrepreneurs and corporate professionals; and while working remotely has a ton of perks, it’s also kind of tough. Sometimes when I’m at home I tend to be distracted by less productive activities, like dusting and cleaning out the refrigerator. These are the times that I love working from a cafe.
Discovery #2: When you park it at a cafe and order an entire meal and continue to pay for coffee refills, that doesn’t guarantee you won’t get dirty looks from the barista after sitting there for three plus hours. I love the mom and pop shops just as much as everyone else, but when I need to sit at a coffee shop and work for eight hours at a time, Starbucks always welcomes me with a smile.
3. Finding health insurance is confusing and time consuming
I spent probably 45 minutes to an hour comparing three different health plans from eHealthInsurance.com the other day. Thing is, they all kind of looked the same, which is why I couldn’t figure out which one was the best.
Then, once I finally decided, I spent an additional 35 minutes filling out the application online.
This all occurred after days, weeks of digging into the depths of the World Wide Web and cycling through site after site looking for a company who appeared to be legit, with health plans that I could actually afford.
Discovery #3: There are a ton of health insurance plans out there. Unfortunately, it can be really confusing and take a ton of time to actually find the right one for you. I would recommend checking out eHealthInsurance.com. They had a Live Chat option, which I utilized to ask questions about different plans, and the representative was very helpful.
4. Everyone thinks you hang out and watch TV all day
Would someone ask you to help them move on a Wednesday afternoon at 2pm if you were still working your 9-5? Of course not; you’re at work and unavailable.
For some reason, when people know that you’re an Entrepreneur, they tend to assume that you can pretty much do whatever you want at any time of the day.
Discovery #4: In a lot of cases, I guess this is true – you have much more control over when and where you get things done when you’re an Entrepreneur. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t still put in 40, 50, 60 hours a week and have appointments and a schedule to follow just like everyone else. At the end of the day, I still don’t think people realize that an Entrepreneur puts in 8-12 hours of work per day.
5. Paychecks don’t come easy, or consistently
Some months are really, really good. Some months are really, really bad. A huge part of becoming an Entrepreneur is preparing yourself financially for some pretty dry times.
Unlike the automatic deposit you used to receive every other week when you were working for that big company, you’re now receiving five checks one week, and then no checks for the next three (random example).
Discovery #5: No matter how many times you tell yourself that you’re prepared to not receive a check every other week, it still takes adjusting when you have to guess as to whether or not you’ll receive a check this week.
6. So, what is it you do again?
Corporate titles carry so much meaning for people. When you tell someone that you’re a Trust Fund Banker or a Store Manager for J Crew, they get it and no further questions are necessary. But when you tell someone you own and run a software business or that you’re the founder of an online marketing company, they suddenly have to ask the question again: So, what is it you do again?
Discovery #6: It’s hard to find a title for yourself that, when you tell it to people, they automatically understand what it is that you do.
7. Your IRA contributions aren’t automatic anymore
Why is it so much easier to contribute to a 401k when you never see the money – or the transaction – in the first place? Because I now have to actually make a withdrawal from my bank account (or see the deduction every month on my statement), it’s a lot more evident to me that the transfer is taking place.
Discovery #7: Managing the multiple transactions yourself that used to automatically occur before you even received your paycheck makes them a lot more real.
8. You can still go outside – it exists
Even if you love being outdoors more than anything in the world, when you’re in the zone working on something that you’re passionate about it’s easy to lose track of time. You could be floating in space and you wouldn’t know the difference.
That’s why I try and make it a point to set an alarm for a certain time in the day to remind myself that there is sun and fresh air and other things going on outside. It’s a nice timeout and a great re-energizer to step away, even if it is for just 15 minutes.
Discovery #8: Don’t let yourself get sucked into a black hole. Remind yourself that it’s okay to take breaks, and that fresh air awaits you just outside your door!
9. Life = work = life
Work / life balance is very important to me, and it’s something that I struggle with every day. When your computer is sitting right by your side, it’s hard to not want to take action on the millions of things you want to get accomplished – even though you know there isn’t enough time in the day to do it all.
There is actually a point when everything just seems like it’s one-in-the-same: you think about work when you’re trying not to, and you think about not working when you’re supposed to be.
Discovery #9: Being an Entrepreneur is no joke. Work / life balance is no longer easy to achieve, and if you’re working as hard as you should be to accomplish whatever it is that you really want for yourself and for your business, then you’ll probably become vary familiar with this feeling that life and work can very easily become one-in-the-same if you’re not careful.
Being an Entrepreneur is all about making the right decisions for you and for your business. And sometimes it can be really tough to distinguish what you should or shouldn’t do. But try not to question yourself too much, because if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not learning.
Every day I learn something new about what it means to be an Entrepreneur: the good, the bad and the ugly. But when you’re doing something you’re truly passionate about, it’s all worth it.