Being a serial entrepreneur, I frequently hear from people who want to open their own business. I want to be a real estate investor and flip homes. I want to start lending out my own money and become a private lender. I want to buy multifamily apartments like you do. After some meaningful conversation with these folks I discover that we all have certain innate values that either drive our ability to put our dreams into action or keep us working for a boss, trading time for money. The latter are the people who can’t deal with the negatives of being an entrepreneur. For the rest of us, we deal with the craziness, because we adore the thought of shaping our own destiny, on our own time and on a path we set because, in the words of Frank Sinatra, we want to say “I did it my way”.
Fear of the Unknown. We’ve all heard it before. There are those that are comfortable working for the man – “the man” being a derogatory connotation which refers to some authority in a position of power of you. I don’t think anyone truly likes having someone in a position of power over them (and if you do then this blog is probably not for you). However, some people will never be comfortable being an entrepreneur. It’s not that they can’t make it on their own but they have a fear of the unknown as it’s an unknown amount of compensation for an unknown amount of time. Let’s be honest, there is some level of comfort in trading time for money. Who knows when a new entrepreneur will get paid? Will they even have enough to pay for the health insurance that their previous employer was paying (never mind their retirement account)? I remember when we took over our publishing company, about 10 years ago, the entire [freaking] United States market collapsed, one year later, in 2008. There were weeks when we, the owners, did not get paid in order to keep our employees paid. Can you handle the unknown of not getting a consistent paycheck week to week? Will the uncertainty keep you awake at night? Unknowns…
Workhorse. Also, as an entrepreneur, you may have to work more hours than you ever thought possible. If that delivery didn’t happen, guess who needs to do it? If that inspection wasn’t scheduled correctly, guess who’s rescheduling that and meeting the inspector tomorrow morning? Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. On the flip side, entrepreneurs are typically okay with the unknown cash flow, but issues may follow them home and keep them up at night. Entrepreneurs may have a tough time dislocating from their business when an obstacle at the office requires extra hours of contemplation to solve the issue.
Can you do ma+h or spel? The one thing, early-on, most entrepreneurs have to deal with is an onslaught of administrative tasks from QuickBooks to legal contracts. You are either good something or you are not. The good news is these tasks can all be outsourced to local vendors or partners who can pick up your weakness with their complementary strengths. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and delegate out those tasks that aren’t your strong suit.
Constant SWOT. Ye olde college verbiage, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Unless you have a patent on some amazing invention, you are likely in a market that has competition. Entrepreneurs need to be on their toes all of the time because competition is always adapting, changing and making that widget just a hair better (and cheaper) than you. You must be ahead of the curve, through “constant” research in your market and you need to be the one that disrupts the competition with that new adaptation!
Risk vs Reward. Risk is a two-sided coin and reward is on the flip side but let’s talk about risk here. One of the cons to being your own boss is exposing yourself to danger, danger of loss of time and money. Not all people have a great business idea. Not all businesses succeed. Extensive research needs to be done on the specific market you want to enter. Do you need to support your family? Well, they are counting on you. Do you need to meet certain debt requirements? Well, they are going to hold you liable. Before you think of risking time and money on something, please take a few weeks and analyze your market or find someone who can—regret is the worst (ask me how I know).
Entrepreneurs are tired of trading time for money.
Freedom & Flexibility. This is perhaps the biggest thing for me. We love Royal Caribbean Cruises, Disney and road trips. We would not be able to do so many of them without owning our own businesses. We can literally go away at the drop of a hat (assuming school won’t be interrupted too much). We are going [away] on vacation for over 70 days this year. I point out vacation away from our home because there are many other days of the year we simply relax at home. We have the ability to work from home, sometimes in our PJs and occasionally we will take a day for some much needed downtime.
That being said, entrepreneurialism doesn’t start out like this. It takes consistent work in an arena where you match service to a need. You still have a boss —your clients and your employees (all of which you serve!). With persistence and YOU being YOUR ‘authentic’ self with the people you are serving, you will achieve the cash flow you need to obtain the freedom you desire. Time is money and it’s nice to be able to afford to wake up when your body tells you—not an alarm clock.
Cashflow. Cash is king. Cash flow is inversely related to the freedom aspect I mentioned above. If you don’t have cash, you can’t have freedom. Cash buys the time you need to make you happy. Cash doesn’t make you happy but if you have enough cash you can buy the time to spend with your family or volunteering with your favorite charity—and helping people is what makes most people truly happy.
As an entrepreneur, your income has no limit as is directly related to the efforts you expend and the success of your specific endeavor. If you are “working for the man”, trading that time for money, it’s hard to make more than him. It’s not about the toys that the money can buy you, but about the peace of mind and stability it can.
I have a friend (and now partner) who literally just quit his job last month because his income, at one of our real estate companies, was consistently larger than his JOB. He is discovering that he has a very large amount of time now to spend with his family, work on self improvement and expand the real estate endeavor by creating more systems and processes that assist us with passive income. I see this happening day in and day out, and it is exciting to hear the stories and help them along the journey. It can be done and if you have the passion and determination – you can make it happen.
Accomplishment. At the end of every day, even on my birthday, I think to myself, was I productive? Did I do all I could do to further my family’s goals and ideals? It’s about legacy to me. Creating something from nothing and creating value for those who need my services fulfills me and provides a wondrous sense of accomplishment. This is something I value greatly and something I never felt working for others.
Excitement. True entrepreneurs take the negative, fear of the unknown, and turn it into excitement. Will the seeds I plant today reap what I’ve’ sown? Through your diligent research, planning and action you can wake up each day, exhilarated, to greet the day with excitement.
Risk vs Reward. As mentioned above, while this is a negative, it is also something that entrepreneurs bet on. They bet (risk) that their research and actions will outweigh the obstacles and result in a great reward which is not only exciting but also a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Entrepreneurship is a wonderful thing. Scary at first, but addicting. Making that leap can be the biggest, most challenging thing in your entire life – but if the time is right and you feel it, I encourage you to do it! Be prepared for ups and downs, plenty of sleepless nights (don’t worry you can nap tomorrow) and an endless amount of determination that you may not have even thought you had. Let me hear about your story, your plan and your dream….
Here for you in success.