After a recent rant on Facebook I thought I would write a bit about the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur. Whilst I might be taken to be a complete cynic, this is not actually the case and there is a positive upside to what I am about to say.
Let’s be honest, you are not likely to get a superhero outfit with a big E on the front of it for deciding to start and grow your own business. This is despite taking a bigger leap and risk that most people are not prepared to take. This is also despite having superhuman problem solving skills and sometimes achieving the absolute impossible balancing the improbable and wearing the scars to prove it. HM Government are not going to thank you for it, in fact they will probably send you a bigger tax bill for the sheer privilege of deciding to do something for yourself as well as contributing to your community/society/world. People will also not thank you for trying to solve unemployment, recessions and underdevelopment.
The fact is, whether you succeed or fail you will probably be considered a villain more than a superhero. There are some reasons for this.
- The Economy: Entrepreneurship has fast become considered by Government to be the panacea for our economic problems and is promoted to the long term unemployed as being the last resort. So in effect and wrongly so, Entrepreneurship has fast become a euphemism for laziness or tardiness instead of being a symbol of achievement and creativity. The good news is that this attitude is likely to change when things improve…but this isn’t the only reason why we entrepreneurs get bashed. There are other reasons.
- Jealousy: This is the most common reason entrepreneurs get bashed, perhaps even by those close to them. Jealousy of ambition and jealousy of achieving something incredibly rare. Entrepreneurs still only make up 1% of the world’s population.
- Failure to Comply: Entrepreneurs are often treated with disrespect because they are not part of the matrix or corporate life. They are seen as being able to choose their own hours (yeah right!) and live more flexibly. We do not fit neatly into a box and nor do we take easy to labels such as lawyer, mechanic, or doctor. There is still a shroud of mystery surrounding what we do and people generally distrust what they do not understand. If you are to ever answer the age old question as to what you do at a dinner party with the word, entrepreneur there is usually a fair degree scepticism or even in some circumstances, eye rolling.
- Figure of Capitalism and Greed: People do believe that entrepreneurism is primarily a way to get rich off the backs of other peoples labour instead of a means of spreading wealth through raising employment and contributing to society. What they do not see also is the fact that entrepreneurs are usually driven by social drivers and achieving social outcomes as well as developing their own personal abundance.
The fact is whether or not you succeed or fail you can expect to be confronted with some negative responses to your ideas, efforts and success (and sometimes failure).
There is a considerable upside to this however. Entrepreneurs have long since described the powerful motivation behind their success as originating from being told that they could not achieve their dreams, or the fact that they have been disrespected or put down for having their goals. The fact is we do what we have to do nonetheless and we understand that entrepreneurialism takes a great deal of creativity, individuality, passion and drive. It takes a great deal of mental resilience against all odds. We understand that the only time an entrepreneur fails is when he/she gives up.
My message to other entrepreneurs is this, ignore the naysayers, do what you must and whats more, enjoy.