No one can really answer this question but you! Having said that, the answer is not within the folds of your mind or deep down in your soul; you will have to experience being an entrepreneur first to see if it is for you or not.
You didn’t really expect a clear answer there, did you?
Before I continue to (vaguely) answer this question, let’s try and clear one thing — I am a work-in-progress entrepreneur and as such, the term “entrepreneur” might sound inflated but, by definition, if one is setting up a business, investing time and money and hoping to gain some financial profit, then this is, indeed, an entrepreneurship. I make mistakes and as I do, I am not ashamed to share them with you and I only hope you get to learn from them.
Let’s look at some of the problems/lessons I came across in my journey.
Motivation. It’s thousand times easier to have someone tell you what your job description is. When you start a small business, your job description is everything… literally. From choosing an office, to hiring (and firing) people, admin and finances, business planning and development, the task list goes on. I get overwhelmed if I haven’t been able to finish all my tasks or demotivated if we haven’t reached our monthly financial target. Add to that an unsatisfied client (it happens), and the walls come tumbling down. But more than that, as my business experience started only recently, sometimes I do not even understand what is the next step I should make for my business to grow.
The solution to this problem was finding a mentor. This can simply be your partner or a friend who has more experience than you, or a professional coach (probably very helpful but pricey). I go a step further and define mentors as motivational speakers you find on Ted Talks or leadership experts like Robin Sharma or Guy Kawasaki. One of the things I introduced in my daily routine is listening to an inspirational podcast while I’m making my morning drink. The podcasts uplift my energy and I get reminded why my work matters. My actual mentor is my business partner who shares years of corporate experience and allows me to learn from his mistakes. And all this at a cost of AED0. I believe you all have friends or friends of friends who would be happy to meet you every now and then to give you some guidance.
The ability to earn becomes your ability to learn. And learning is what makes us truly wealthy. As an entrepreneur, if you don’t know how to do something, you will want to learn. That, for me, might be the number 1 advantage of entrepreneurship over employment.
If you are curious how to find a professional mentor, though, read this.
Routine. Even though I consider myself an organized person, when I started this business, I didn’t plan for the small wins — the consistent achievement of daily goals. I loved the luxury of waking up whenever I wanted thinking I had a whole day in front of me for my deliverables. Few months went by, and I was less energized, less motivated and less convinced that this whole business idea was a good thing because I was all over the place. Slowly but surely, I started procrastinating which affected the business much faster than I thought it possibly could.
Eventually, I got the hang of it but, regretfully, I did miss on a couple of months of productive work. I now stick to daily schedules with no exceptions — I wake up at 5 am, meditate, work out and get my major work task done by around 10 am. Then, I have the rest of the day to schedule tasks and do them properly without rushing. To be quite frank, I also allow myself to be spoiled from time to time by staying late mid-week binging on Netflix with my sweetheart, but, no matter what, I wake up at the same time every day. It’s a habit that in time becomes hardwired in your cycle and works so well.
Routine is healthy. It teaches us discipline and efficiency. Entrepreneurship is never boring so it’s good to have some structure in our adrenaline-packed working days.
Switching off. I’m often in the work mode even when I’m with friends. I’m ticking things off my to-do list (and adding twice as more to it), I’m networking when I’m supposed to be enjoying socializing, and I’m always on a mission to “hunt” more clients. I sometimes have to work on public holidays and miss a party or two. Even if I’m done with my tasks for the day, the week or the month, I’m constantly concerned with what’s next; am I headed the right direction, will my business have an impact on the world or the society, is the business on a sustainable model and, more importantly, will I make enough money to cover my expenses?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch and you wouldn’t enjoy freedom unless you had some work to do. The key is in balancing. It’s understandable that you will not be able to switch off easily. After all, you put your money and reputation into this business. But try to teach your mind to understand that if you overthink, you exhaust yourself and tomorrow won’t be a productive day. Disconnect from your work by setting some rules, such as not speaking about work over dinner, spending at least an hour of quality time with your family, exercising, or planning that trip you are working hard for. The power of being an entrepreneur is that you are the master of your time so make all your moments count. Set a schedule, religiously commit to it and slot in it a time where you literally disconnect and wind down with, for example, a puzzle.
Entrepreneurship is not easy and you might feel lost at times but working 9–6 for an institution you don’t even believe in isn’t easy either.
As we speak, I am enjoying my office view for today.
Not bad, right?
This is just one of the many perks of being a small business owner — having the freedom to choose where you want to work from, what hours and with whom. So, in the end, yes, the pros of being an entrepreneur outweigh the cons and everyone with a decent idea and a pinch of healhty stubbornness should give entrepreneurship a try. Even if you are a happy employee, why not start a side business? It might not make you rich but it will give you a higher sense of accomplishment. It’s the small wins that count and Dubai, with or without market roller-coasters, is still one of the most magnificent places to succeed in business.
Originally published at https://get-unchained.com on April 22, 2019.