The First Step
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The First Step

10 Unexpected Benefits Being An Entrepreneur Has Given Me

First off, I have a confession..

I’m not a traditional entrepreneur. I haven’t really started my own business. I’m more of an “infopreneur” who sells online courses and information-related products.

Me watching the cows come home in Bali.

So…since I sell things..I’m an entrepreneur…right?

Well, whatever you want to call it, I have experience selling things, working with customers, and marketing the crap out of stuff. So, for all intents and purposes, I am an entrepreneur.

The truth is, I thought entrepreneurship would be hard, challenging, and yeah, hard. I knew it would be a grind three years ago. But what I never realized was it would end up giving me a ton of unexpected benefits/skills in the process.

Like having your mind blown by a book you never expected to learn anything from, entrepreneurship has been a gift that’s kept on giving..

Let’s talk about what I’ve learned over the last two years making thousands per month, traveling the world, and telling the rest of the corporate world to screw off since graduation.

1. A Master‘s Degree In Ingenuity

Ingenuity is a skill that not many have. That’s because it’s easy to, at work, get told what to do every single day. Our bosses are the ones who are supposed to think about what COULD BE.

Our job is to just sit there and do what they tell us.

And that’s not anybody’s fault, really.

But as an entrepreneur, the roadmap is unwritten. You must walk down the path with a flashlight and figure it out yourself.

This is compounded if you decide to be a digital nomad, also.

Ingenuity is the ability to be creative in the moment. And this skill will help you solve pretty much any problem thrown your way ever.

2. I’ve Learned How To Deal With Uncertainty

The term “Entrepreneur” is practically synonymous with uncertainty.

Uncertainty about where you’re going to go next, where the money is coming from, and how much you’re going to get.

I’ve been forced to plan my life out in 3-month increments — that’s it. I do not know where I’ll be for Christmas this year. I have a few ideas, but I’m not CERTAIN.

This is the life. It’s a crazy ride. I like it some days, but on others it makes me stay up until 2 AM worrying about where the money’s coming from.

And how much I have.

And how I’m going to pay for my next Airbnb. 😟

But I’ve gotten used to it — and once you truly understand you aren’t in control of anything, you really start to live.

It’s an illusion, anyway. My Mom was always so obsessed with getting a job that had benefits but what if that company decided to lay her off? What then?

You see, certainty and control are an illusion, and it helps to truly learn this lesson as early as possible.

3. More Family Time

From 2012–2017, I probably spent 30 whole days with my sister.

I don’t blame her — she’s got work to do and lives in another state. However this year I spent 35 days with her (I counted) because of two long trips I took to her house.

Since I can work wherever I want, her and her husband were kind enough to let me stay with them. And because I can work wherever I want, I could work and spend time with my family at the same time.

I can’t tell you how much this time meant to me.

It felt like I had cheat codes to life or something. I shouldn’t, at 25 years old, be able to stay for 2 weeks with my sister. That is NOT within the parameters of life. At least that’s what everyone makes you believe.

You gotta get a job. Settle down. Pick a spot…

I don’t know about you, but I believe family is more important than work.

Somewhere in the last 60 years, this slipped away, though. We swapped an emphasis on family for an emphasis on career — and we’re paying the price.

Children grow up and spend less time with their family — and end up not valuing them as much in the process.

But family is what, in reality, makes life bearable. Why have we forgotten this?

If I didn’t stop to think about how awesome this “gift” of family time was — I probably wouldn’t have realized it was the entrepreneurial lifestyle that gave it.

4. Appreciation Of The Little Freedoms

Do you know how good it feels to wake up whenever you want?

Or run whenever you want?

Or wear whatever you want, every day?

Me with fans in Manila.

I remember how this felt in the early days. I was ecstatic. I kept telling my Mom I worked in sweats all day and ACTUALLY made cold hard cash digitally.

I’ve gotten used to it mostly, but every now and then I look around and have to pinch myself.

I’ve ACTUALLY spent the last two weeks working in Manila — the other side of the world! Not because I was sent there, but because I wanted to go.

What’s better than that?

A lot of these little freedoms get taken away when you AREN’T an entrepreneur. Dress codes, work schedules, meetings, and mindless tasks dominate the day.

To have control again is sort of like biting into a new dish that explodes with flavor in your mouth.

“I’VE NEVER HAD THAT BEFORE?!”

“WHY HAVEN’T I?!”

It’s a comfort you didn’t know existed — or maybe you knew it existed, but you didn’t really appreciate it until now.

Entrepreneurship will help you appreciate the little things.

5. Entrepreneurship Taught Me How To Have A Backbone

I like to trust people. I like to believe the world is full of well-meaning individuals.

But this mindset doesn’t help me when I’m getting ripped off 10,000 miles away from home.

Got it?

I was unbelievably sheltered growing up. My parents didn’t baby me — I just mean that America as a whole can be a pretty sheltered place. Especially the middle-class mostly white area where I spent most of my days.

I like making weird faces.

So I grew up thinking mostly everyone was nice. But time spent in the world makes you wise really quick. The same goes for running a business.

Everyone wants to take advantage of you. Customers/students/clients. They will never hesitate to make you feel like sh*t for not tending to their every need. Most are good apples, but for some, once they get that foot in the door, they’ll have their entire body in within seconds.

Entrepreneurship and traveling helps you learn how to slam that door in their face without regrets.

6. Learning 1,000 Random Skills

Entrepreneurship lends itself to learning lots of random skills.

Take digital nomads, for example. Digital Nomadism is far too often thought of as an easy lifestyle for beach bums.

But the traveling alone will make you a different person. The logistics. The responsibility. The missed flights. The visas. The 22-hour days in the airport. Traveling is a SKILL you learn.

And there’s also that business side to it. The last 12 months I’ve run an online course, created 100+ blog posts, made 50+ videos, and been interviewed 10+ times (or something).

Entrepreneurship is basically learning how to wear a bunch of different hats as well. Just as a blogger, you have to know about SEO, graphic design, how to make a landing page, sales funnels, social media platforms, and, GASP, Wordpress.

You got to learn a variety of skills and, furthermore, juggle them to see success.

I’ve learned how to go to school at “Google University” and learn a completely new skill in a matter of hours. YouTube, Instagram, and Reddit have been LIFESAVERS.

You don’t just get good at learning new skills — you get good at learning HOW to learn. How to find information. I’m always so floored when my Dad asks me a question I know nothing about, not because I don’t know, but because she’s literally one Google-search away from finding the answer herself.

I’ve become proficient at this, which has helped me remain incredibly self-sufficient.

I honestly feel like I can learn anything online if I just put the time in.

7. A Laser-Focus On The Essentials

I just left Manila for a 4-week stay in Cebu City. I’m actually writing this on the plane right now.

Guess what?

I left two pairs of shoes at my apartment and a pair of my favorite sweatpants. I just didn’t need them anymore.

You can call it a waste, but I call it freedom.

Traveling + Digital Nomadism forces you to think of your material items in relation to two rectangular bags.

Your checked luggage.

Can it fit? Do you need it? Is it heavy?

Does it serve a purpose?

When you have endless space in your apartment or house, it’s only natural to want to fill it up with things. But when you’re constantly on the go, you start questioning why you have EVERYTHING.

The same goes for entrepreneurship. We only have 24 hours in a day. What are we going to fill it with? Remember, nobody is telling us what to do!

After wasting countless days as an entrepreneur doing meaningless tasks, I’ve realized most of the time the only things that ACTUALLY matter are 1–2 tasks.

That’s it.

And when our livelihood depends on being productive, it literally pays to have laser-focus on the essentials.

8. Connections Everywhere

Entrepreneurship is basically one huge networking event. When you get going — especially when you get semi-famous — it seems like everybody wants to meet you.

Not only that, but in the early days of starting your own business, it pays to band together with other entrepreneurs to help each other out.

Strength in numbers.

9. A 10x Increase In Creativity

Creativity literally means the imagining of something new. Something never thought of before. When you’re going into the unknown as an entrepreneur, creativity comes easy.

“Tom, what do you mean?”

Well, take new places for instance. We think differently in new places — we’re more alert and tuned in to our environment. Loud noises affect us more. We notice EVERYBODY. Because of this massive increase in brain activity, we start seeing things differently.

The same thing is true with entrepreneurship. It’s less about being in a different PHYSICAL space and more about being in a different MENTAL space.

There’s a billion ways forward as an entrepreneur. Being in uncharted intellectual territory is terrifying, but it also spurs endless amounts of creativity because our brains get hyper-aware.

You might shake your head at this — but wait until you submerge yourself in the deep, dark abyss that is running your own business. You’ll start to see what I mean.

10. A Deep Satisfaction With My Life

I do not make as much as some of my friends. I do not have a fancy house/apartment in Baltimore. I don’t have a dog or a spouse or a beautiful car.

But I do have something I think they’re (mostly) missing..

I have a deep satisfaction with my life.

I don’t mean happiness. I don’t mean joy. I don’t mean the euphoria you get as a 26-year-old on a drunken night in downtown Baltimore with roommates and co-workers.

I mean the ecstasy that is waking up every day and LOOKING FORWARD to whatever you’re doing.

A love of all 16–18 hours you’re awake — not just the last 5–6.

I am satisfied with my life. I am challenged. I have been pushed farther than I’ve ever been pushed before BECAUSE of entrepreneurship — and darn it I love it.

I read somewhere once that happiness is when the challenge you’re overcoming requires an incremental increase in your skill set.

When the challenge is too much, we get frustrated and give up. When the challenge is too easy, we get bored.

Entrepreneurship, when done right, makes us extremely happy because human beings love challenges and steady progression.

Far too often in the corporate world, no progression is made at all.

I am ecstatic with my life as an entrepreneur. Not just happy. I mean that.

And that is probably the best benefit I never expected to receive when starting this life.

This story is published in The First Step, a publication by Oberlo. Sharing stories and advice to help you take the first step into entrepreneurship.

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Sharing stories and advice to help you take the first step into entrepreneurship. A publication by Oberlo.

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Tom Kuegler

Tom Kuegler

Travel blogger. 28 years old. Currently in Mexico. Get my free 5-day Medium course via email → https://bit.ly/35yyIIu

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