Calm seas don’t make good sailors

Inside the stormy head of a young entrepreneur

For most people, being an entrepreneur today is the easiest way to be successful and make a fortune. I mean, What could go wrong for someone who goes to work when he wants, who is his own boss, who sets his own salary and who wakes up every morning to pursue his dreams? Well… Absolutely EVERYTHING could go wrong. And that’s what this article is about : Inside the stormy head of an entrepreneur.

A mysterious species

How do you imagine your life if you were living in a constant fog? A life where doubt would be omnipresent, where you are not sure of your choices, and where sometimes you become literally afraid to make some decisions? Seen like that, there are not many people that would be pleased with this lifestyle. But strangely there is! This species is called entrepreneurs !

These are people who did not hesitate to swap their safe and peaceful life for the adventure of entrepreneurship, people who had everything for themselves but instead chose this thrilling path of creating their own company, people, like Lori Greiner said, who are willing to work 80 hours a week for themselves to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else.

Safety VS Thrills

Everyone looks for the « safe » life with a 9–5 job, a good salary, a little family, a Golden Retriever and a car… A predictable life with no fogs and a 100% visibility on professional future. Everyone wants that, and that’s the problem. The reason why I say ‘problem’ is because, to me, it’s very much like saying, be like everyone else, walk like everyone else, talk like everyone else, and then you will eventually be like everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong, getting a good education and a good job is appealing to many people. Most people out there are happy and satisfied working a 9 to 5. But for me, it is infinitely better to work for myself and be in control of my own destiny than feeling trapped in this vicious circle.

What if?

Let me tell you a little story about myself: After graduating from engineering school, I had the opportunity to work as a Financial Software Engineer and have a well paid 9 to 5 job. Instead of that, I chose the startup path with my business partner Moufid Ben Hmida. At the beginning, my salary was only the half of what I could expect from an engineering position, but I was happy. The clash of generations broke out at home, and my mother was always telling me that this can’t be a right decision… (she still does by the way). I was, and I’m still very determined to continue on this path, but fear of failure and doubt gave me a thousand headaches. Telling yourself « What if mom was right? » every single time you’re in some sort of trouble is something I had to live by for months, asking myself if all this hype is a waste of time or not. Although these thoughts had nothing to do with my mother’s opinion, they were already there in the back of my head, waiting for the perfect moment to arise. My mother’s and some of my friend’s opinions were nothing but triggers to these doubts.

Every person is the result of its environment, you can’t escape from it. If your environment is positive you’ll be optimistic even in the worst situations, and if your environment is negative, you’ll always find a reason to doubt and complain. Luckily for me, I was surrounded by very positive persons that were admiring what I was, and never stopped pushing me towards believing in what I was doing and in me. This support is the key. It is what drives you in your worst days, these words are the words you overhear when you are hit by a storm of questions and doubt. Entrepreneurship is difficult in Tunisia because a major part of the population thinks like my mother, and looks at me as the fool who threw a safe salary for its risky half. That’s why I think entrepreneurs should surround themselves with positive people that see them as shapers of a new world, as heroes and risk takers. That’s why, entrepreneurs of Tunisia and even all over the world tend to connect, and share their “madness” with each other.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

I may have drawn a dark portrait of entrepreneurship throughout this article, but don’t get it wrong. Choosing this lifestyle is one of the best choices of my life and I don’t regret it at all. Nothing in my 27 years of existence, has challenged me more to go over my fears, doubts and weaknesses. No matter your idea, your background or level, becoming an entrepreneur requires mental strength. Your patience and strength will be tested daily, especially in the first months and doubt will be omnipresent. It’s up to you to face it and get a reward from it or retreat and let go. Even if it is a risky lifestyle, the feeling that you’re making a change in this world is truly unbelievable; the feeling that you created something from scratch is indescribable and I truly wish that everyone in this world could feel this. The best part of entrepreneurship however, is not to build something from scratch or making money, those are just bonuses. For me, the best thing is the transformation that I experience, the kind of person I became, walking tall with a different kind of spirit, being a different kind of person ! That’s the best reward you’ll get from this magnificent adventure, and trust me, you’ll thank yourself later for being a “fool”.