Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an entrepreneur” From the outsider’s perspective, the life of an entrepreneur is enviable because of the freedom, creativity and financial opportunities associated with the role.
If you’re an entrepreneur yourself, you’ve most likely been asked the question ‘what’s it like to be an entrepreneur?’ countless times. And you may find it quite difficult to answer this question in just a few sentences. The life of the average entrepreneur is an elusive one. This may be because each entrepreneur’s daily life looks very different.
So what is it really like to be an entrepreneur?
What is the life of an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is someone who takes financial risks by starting a business (or businesses). Because the entrepreneur is the person taking risks, they will be the person to enjoy the rewards if their businesses are successful.
The daily life of entrepreneurs can look vastly different from each other. Some entrepreneurs own multiple, large-scale businesses, while others maintain regular jobs and work as entrepreneurs part-time. Many business students start up businesses while they are still at university. To add further diversity into the mix, entrepreneurs can be of any age and can have vastly different personal lives and home environments that will add to the differences in their everyday lives.
There is a very common myth surrounding entrepreneurs, and that is that they have loads of free time. While entrepreneurs can ultimately decide how much time they want to spend on their business each day, if they don’t work, they don’t make money…so many entrepreneurs often work far harder than the average employee. Contrary to popular belief, very few businesses are overnight sensations, and hours of hard work and dedication need to be put in just to get the business off the ground.
There are two main stages of being an entrepreneur: planning to get a business started and running a business. Planning to start a business requires market research, brainstorming and looking for investors, suppliers etc. Running a business involves the everyday tasks of keeping a business up and running, including replying to emails, checking in with staff members, dealing with clients etc. Different business models will require different things from entrepreneurs, but in most cases, they’ll still need to be available during traditional working hours to take calls and deal with any issues that may arise.
What does it feel like to be an entrepreneur?
It can feel very empowering to be an entrepreneur, and it can be exceptionally satisfying to see your business ideas come to life. Starting a business from scratch is often related to raising a child, and you may experience some of the same emotions as your business reaches certain milestones.
Being an entrepreneur can also be very stressful and disheartening if things are not going well. Because, in most cases, entrepreneurs are solely responsible for the success and failure of their business, and a lot of responsibility rests on their shoulders.
Being an entrepreneur can also offer you that sense of freedom and independence, which is so often associated with entrepreneurship. This may take many years to achieve, but once a business is running successfully, entrepreneurs can often take a step back and enjoy what they have worked so hard to achieve.
What are some of the main challenges that entrepreneurs face
There are many challenges that entrepreneurs need to face and overcome on a daily basis.
- Getting capital – Starting a business requires money, and sometimes a large amount of it! Entrepreneurs either need to fork out their own money to start their businesses or seek out potential investors.
- Time management – As there are no set working hours in place, entrepreneurs often struggle with managing their time effectively. Often they can end up working very hard and risk burnout, or they struggle to find the self-motivation to work sufficient hours to ensure their business’s success.
- Lack of benefits – There are very few benefits available to entrepreneurs in the UK. There is no sick leave, maternity leave or paid holidays. If you don’t work, you don’t make money.
- Having to manage their own taxes – Being an entrepreneur means that you need to manage your own taxes. You’ll need to be registered with the HMRC, and submit a self-assessment each year, after which you’ll be sent a tax bill.
- Being responsible for employees – Having employees is a very big responsibility. As businesses begin to take off, many entrepreneurs will need to hire employees in order to keep up with demand.
- Marketing – Getting people to try out a brand new business can be challenging. While there are many excellent digital marketing companies out there that can come up with customised strategies, oftentimes, some of the marketing efforts fall into the hands of the entrepreneur in an effort to save on costs.
- Stress – Starting and running a business is very stressful! Too much stress can lead to burnout and health issues, so entrepreneurs really need to pay attention to effective stress management.
What qualities should entrepreneurs develop if they want to become successful?
As with all professions, there are certain qualities and traits that are common in successful entrepreneurs, and budding entrepreneurs should see if they can start implementing these traits into their entrepreneurial journeys:
- Motivation – Being a business owner takes a lot of self-motivation and drive.
- Creativity – Thinking outside the box will help you come up with innovative business ideas and solutions.
- Flexibility – As an entrepreneur, you’ll more than likely have to adapt to many different situations.
- Collaboration – Despite many people thinking of entrepreneurs as being solitary, they often need to work with a variety of suppliers, clients and investors for their business to succeed.
- Vision – Being an entrepreneur requires vision and the ability to work towards long term goals.
While some people may have these qualities because of their natural disposition and past life experiences, it is possible to develop these qualities over time. All humans have very similar traits. Some are just dormant if not tapped into and nurtured. Therefore most people could become entrepreneurs depending on external factors and the will to start a business.