I love what I do. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. I am an entrepreneur.
Like many other entrepreneurs, I’ve started doing this not knowing what lies ahead and what a big challenge it is. I enjoy this ride, but sometimes, there are some things/events which make me say: “I wish I could be a simple factory worker”.
When starting their adventure, new entrepreneurs should be prepared and know some downsides of their choice.
I work on average 10-14 hours every day, sometimes even more. I don’t know how it is to leave work at 16:00 and go home and relax. It leaves marks on my body as people see me as exhausted. Two weeks ago I was a teacher at a seminar “Content marketing”, and Andrey Shtylenko was one of the attendants. During the coffee break, he looked at me and asked me: “Ilija, have you been sleeping at all last night, your eyes are red?”. True to be told, I was sleeping for maybe six hours that night, but the problem was that I was sleeping 4-5 hours for at least 7 days in a row. I started waking up at 05:30 to be able to work for a couple of hours without distractions. And I couldn’t go to bed early because I had to work until 23:00.
Long hours is something that every entrepreneur faces. I usually don’t have problem with that because I am workaholic, but sometimes we all need to take a break. Arianna Huffington has a great TED speech about lack of sleep.
When you work for someone else, you know you will receive money for your work before 15th of every month. If you are an entrepreneur, it is your job to make it happen. If clients don’t pay on time (and it happens sometimes), you might miss a deadline and your employers won’t receive their money (neither will you). For the first three years of Kontra, I was always worrying about this deadline and every day I was checking our balance to see if we will be able to pay our employees.
Insecurity leads to stress. Stress is a disease. Stress kills.
All entrepreneurs have very high level of stress.
If you are not ready to work under constant pressure and stress, please don’t try to be an entrepreneur.
If you work with clients and sell your services, it is like working for someone else. We’ve been quite fortunate so far (I will discuss choosing clients in a new blog post) and we’ve worked with really good clients. But from time to time, we would stay on a mine and we would encounter a really difficult client which would drain all our batteries and kill all our profits. Letting those clients go was a really difficult thing to do, but we had to.
Very few people will understand you
Often when I sit with my friends, they ask me: “Why do you work and worry so much?”. When I tell them that I have to and, to be honest, love to, they just don’t understand. No matter how much I tried to explain them and tried to excite them about entrepreneurship, they didn’t care/understand. Other entrepreneurs understand.
You can’t forget your job
You never stop thinking about your company. Never. Ever. Sometimes, I would love to relax and enjoy life for a couple of days, but too often my mind switches to entrepreneur state of mind, which means thinking about Excel spreadsheets, emails, clients…
Also, whenever I sit down with my business partner and friend Petar and when we try to talk about anything else, the story goes like this (you can replace roles, we both do the same thing):
Ilija: Have you heard about that new restaurant, shall we go and test it?
Petar: Yes, I have already been there with a potential client, they told me they’re interested in our services, we need to…
And we continue discussing business for the rest of the day.
Is entrepreneurship for everyone?
No, it is not. Being an entrepreneur has some great advantages, but as you can see, not everything is great. If you plan to become an entrepreneur and you are not ready to face all downsides of that choice, please give up and do something else.
What’s your biggest fear of becoming an entrepreneur?