It won't be easy. But it will be worth it.
Each fall, I have the privilege of teaching a class on entrepreneurship at Wenatchee Valley College. I spend 10 weeks with 30ish aspiring entrepreneurs and we learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship while they work through a business plan for a venture they intend to start. Some of them are more serious about this than others, but they are invariably all mentally invested and tired by the end of the quarter.
I spend the first few days of each quarter giving them what I consider to be a reality check. Most of them are ambitious, determined, and eager. But entering the world of self-employment is not for the faint of heart. And so, we talk about the realities they can expect to face, and many of them aren't pretty, including:
1. There are no guarantees. Period. No guarantees that it will work, that you will make money, that you won't lose your real and sweat equity.
2. Plan to work (very) long days. Especially for the first few years. As you launch, you will see less of your friends, less of your family, and less of your bed.
3. No one will care about your business as much as you do.
4. It's hard. Very hard. Actually, incredibly hard.
5. You will learn very quickly what you don't know, and those lessons can sometimes be costly.
6. Expect to pay (what feels like) exorbitant taxes quarterly, and once per year. This will send you into a fit of rage and once you've run through all your standard cuss words, you'll begin to invent new ones.
But, for every downside, there is an upshot. And for those still sitting in my class at this point, I share some of my favorites:
1. It's incredibly rewarding. This is one of those instances in life where all your blood, sweat and tears can actually translate to something meaningful. And sometimes profitable.
2. Eventually, things will even out; the workload, revenue, and stress will all settle into a natural rhythm. And sometimes you have control over this rhythm.
3. It's pretty awesome to build something from scratch. It's even more awesome to be able to take credit for it.
4. You will be directly responsible for growing and diversifying your local and national economy. That is an important outcome, and one that is often overlooked.
5. You get to do what you want to do. If you want to take a day off, you don't (usually) need to ask permission. However, you also don't (usually) get paid for it.
6. You get to do this.
This photo was taken last week. After a very long day, I came back into work after dinner to wrap some projects and brought with me a bottle of wine and a fresh perspective.
And really, does it get any better than that?