Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years or so, you’re no doubt aware that entrepreneurship is on the rise all over the United States, especially among women. Entrepreneurship definitely has its appeal – freedom, charting your own course, living life on your own terms, etc. What I hate, however, is how so many business media outlets try to glamorize entrepreneurship, making it seem so easy and carefree, publishing puff piece after puff piece of the startups that launched, made millions of dollars in two years and then got acquired by Big Corporation USA for a gazillion dollars, making the founders billionaires and everyone lives happily ever after. The end. What these media outlets fail to tell is that (1) This outcome is the exception, rather than the norm; and (2) Most startups fail within the first two years of business. Translation – entrepreneurship ain’t easy.
If these popular “business” media outlets really wanted to do the entrepreneur community a favor, they’d tell the truth about how hard entrepreneurship really is. Quite frankly, being an entrepreneur, should you choose that path, will probably be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. I know it has been for me. And I’m no schlep by any stretch of the imagination – with two degrees and a law license, I’ve faced my fair share of adversity, but starting my own business has been, by far, the hardest, most stressful thing I’ve ever done. But it’s also been the most rewarding. I’ve learned so much and gained so many new skills that I would do it all over again.
And while business media might see these stories as encouraging and inspiring, they can sometimes have the opposite impact. Personally, I’ve found myself comparing my journey to others, always feeling like a complete failure because I’m not where so and so was by this stage of his/her startup. If not for so many serial entrepreneurs, who have kept it real and shared their failures and mistakes, I might have thrown in the towel a while ago. While it’s important to hear the success stories, it’s just as important for entrepreneurs to hear the failures and mistakes so that they know they’re not alone or that what they’re going through is normal and just the growing pains of being an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart; it’s hard, it’s grueling, it’s stressful. But it’s also very rewarding. What could be better than creating the life you want and doing work that you actually love? Just be ready to go on the roller coaster ride of a lifetime.