The true meaning behind being an entrepreneur doesn’t get nearly enough attention! But if you’re looking for the standard definition of an entrepreneur, you’re in the wrong place. Why? Because you can find that in an online dictionary.
What I want to talk about is the real-life side of being an entrepreneur.
Like the real-life issues that entrepreneurs live every single day.
1: The Late Nights
Even the best, most successful entrepreneurs have late nights.
As great as I’ve gotten at giving myself space to end work early and take care of myself, I sometimes end up working late. Some entrepreneurs even wear it as a badge of honor on their chest: “I worked five 16 hour days this week just to keep things going.” And while you can decide for yourself whether or not that is healthy, I decided it wasn’t healthy to be doing that all of the time. So I created space to prevent that happening all of the time.
But ultimately, I still work some late nights because late nights are just a part of being an entrepreneur.
2: Pay Cuts
Most entrepreneurs often take pay cuts.
And while it’s not a requirement, it does often happen. Because entrepreneurs are willing to do whatever it takes to keep things going. That often means taking some form of pay cut to ensure that employees get their full paycheck or that bills get taken care of. And the best entrepreneurs know when and where to take pay cuts to keep things going.
3: Debilitating Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD
This one doesn’t happen all of the time, but it’s a combination I’ve noticed in most entrepreneurs. (And occasionally, bipolarism is thrown in the mix)
Granted, you’d never think that from looking at entrepreneurs. We’re high-functioning crazy people, which is often why we became entrepreneurs. Why do I say that? Because we see the things that are wrong with the world and we’re just crazy enough to try and fix it…
Ultimately, being an entrepreneur means that you are creating the opportunities to change the world for the better.
There’s some really great parts of being an entrepreneur! Like...
Making a Difference
One of the really cool things about entrepreneurs is that they have the opportunity to make a ripple-effect difference in the lives of those around us.
Something I see on the regular with entrepreneurs is that they are constantly raising the standard in their industries which means they’re changing the lives of their customers. Additionally, entrepreneurs change the lives of their employees because entrepreneurs are the kinds of people who care about their people. They care about getting their business the attention it needs in order to reach the people who need them and support the people who work for them.
They give 110% all the time, because they know they are making a change in people’s lives.
The other great thing about entrepreneurs is that they have unlimited earning potential.
When an entrepreneur takes their eyes from just the day-to-day and the local impact, and realizes that they can change the whole world? That’s when they go from the local mom and pop that changed the lives of the local teenagers, to the worldwide corporation that is improving the living situations of hundreds of teenagers.
And the great thing about that? As one of my heroes says, “Money follows excellence.” Which means that the entrepreneur’s unlimited potential for positive impact equals unlimited potential for capital gain.
Capacity to Step Back
Another wonderful aspect of entrepreneurs is their capacity to step back.
Entrepreneurs know that they are only as effective as they are rested, and therefore know when they need to take a step back so they can give back. Granted, sometimes entrepreneurs try so hard to give so much that they get burnt out. It’s why burnout is so common in entrepreneurs.
BUT, entrepreneurs understand that they need to be willing to invest in themselves and commit to constant growth in order to invest in others.
Entrepreneurs need to be willing to…
- Invest in their personal growth, not just the company growth.
- Pay themselves (Let me give you a hint, profit distributions are not a paycheck! If you’re not giving yourself a paycheck every month, you’re not getting paid properly.)
- Give themselves breaks (Like the little 5 minute breaks throughout the day that improve your productivity AND weekends off)
A Letter To The Reader (‘Cause I know you’re an entrepreneur!)…
If you’re reading this thinking “Wait, Steph, but I suck at this!” Just know, I wasn’t always the greatest at this either. I tried for a long time to treat the symptoms (constantly cutting my own paycheck, constantly overworking myself, constantly ignoring the reminders to take breaks, etc) but nothing changed until I found and addressed the cause.
If someone had asked me (all those years ago, before I figured this out) if I valued myself, my response would have been an immediate “of course!”
But the truth was, I didn’t act like it. I didn’t truly value myself. So if you find yourself struggling, take time to remind yourself of how valuable you are. Because you are invaluable!
You bring immeasurable worth to the world.
When you don’t take care of yourself properly, you rob the world of the potential that you bring to the table.
Action Step: Indulge
I’m challenging you, today, to do one of the following in order to bring your ultimate potential to the world and stop robbing the world of your valuable contributions.
Don’t Do It: Take something off your calendar that you don’t want to do by assigning it to a team member or hiring a contractor to get it done.
Do It: The one thing you’ve been wanting to do? Do it! Clear the space on your calendar and let yourself pursue the thing that breathes life to your soul.
Yes, it’s self care. But it’s so much more than self care! Because you, as an entrepreneur, have so much capacity to change the world and deserve to be treated in such a way that you can live up to your full potential.
Trust me, it’s worth it to clear some space in your head so you can thrive. Because when you thrive, those around you thrive.
As Jeff Hoffman says, “Your success is someone else’s miracle.”
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with more than 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!