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entrepreneur life

The good, the bad and the ugly of entrepreneur life. Are you up for it?

Everyone wants the entrepreneur life. Wear hoodies to the office (when you go to the office), which will be equipped with game rooms and cafeterias that serve ice cream and churros (mmm). Your work isn’t for a punch clock or manager, or even a paycheck. You set your hours. You assemble your team. You work really hard on something you love and ultimately build a company that changes the world. Then, you just live on top of the world getting profiled by magazines, signing book deals, getting paid enormous amounts for speaking engagements, and maybe best of all, living it up on your private island with former presidents. Hell yes. Entrepreneurship is good.

Except when it’s not. Companies–most of them–collapse. Money is lost, sometimes millions (sometimes more). Years are lost. After years of devotion to an idea, you have nothing to show for it. Or, your company does great! It’s top of the world–and then the iPhone comes along.

But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Most entrepreneurs aren’t Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg. Most entrepreneurs run much smaller businesses. You may not be dealing deals worth hundreds of millions or the collapse of enormous companies, but you will still experience the same hardships, setbacks, wins, and losses.

It’s the entrepreneur life.

The Good.

Do we need to talk about the good? Setting your own schedule. Owning an island and starting your day kitesurfing. Traveling to 20 countries a year. Wearing hoodies (or shirts made just for you). Being the youngest self-made female billionaire in America. The excitement, challenge, and satisfaction of growing your own company. There is no ceiling to what you can do.

The Bad.

Stress. You basically die to everything else in your life so that you can devote all your time energy and focus to building this business. Fear. Oh the fear. The cost to personal relationships. Failure.

The Ugly

The highs and lows of entrepreneurship are greater than with any other job. The ugly parts are uglier, too. Tim Ferriss has talked about his struggles with depression, suicide and burnout.

The ugliest thing, though, may be just the intensity of the scary feelings. Not having a boss means you’re not responsible to anyone–except your entire company, which can include the board, the shareholders, investors, and not just employees but the family who depend on them. The stakes are so high. It’s wonderful when it goes well, and utterly brutal when it doesn’t.

Even if you don’t have a board and investors to think about, it’s your company. It’s an extension of you, and you have people counting on you to succeed. You’re counting on you to succeed. You’ll work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life and your body and mind pay the price.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be prepared to experience all the good, the bad, and the ugly. Success demands dedication to your work, and all the good and bad that comes with that. You know you’re up for the good, but there’s a hell of a lot of bad and ugly that comes with it. Are you up for it?

Read two more takes on the good, the bad and the ugly of entrepreneurship here and here.

Anna Ray
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