Living the life of an entrepreneur is tough. You work your butt off and get paid almost nothing for years, and the chances are you will fail at the end. Living the entrepreneurial life is definitely not the “easy” life.
However, in my opinion, it is the most fulfilling one.
I believe that being an entrepreneur is the best way to make sure you live a life of passion and adventure – a life that leaves you a legacy and stories to tell your grand kids.
The corporate life story
Lets look at a regular corporate life person. This person graduates from college, finds a job, gets married, possibly gets an advanced degree, has kids, advances in her job, gets old, and then there’s goodbye. That just sounds very unfulfilling to me, especially when you are working at a job you hate like most people are.
Sure, some people love their jobs, and I’m all for that, but most people settle for a job that they don’t like just because they are afraid of change and and slowly wait for their midlife crisis.
That’s when they buy their fast car.
Even for those of you who say you love your jobs, if you suddenly had $10M in your bank account, how many of you will choose to quit your job this week?
Yes, you might say that this question is unfair as you could say that about anything. However, I can tell you as a sure fact that lots of successful entrepreneurs who HAVE over $10 Million in their bank accounts keep going back to the torturous startup life because it is just too exciting and addicting to stay away from!
Gamification Principle: Live for adventure instead of self-sustaining
Lets say you do have a six digit high-paying job. How many years can you afford to stop working and do whatever you want? Probably not that many. You have to continuously work for decades at that job until you finally saved up enough money in your 401(k) when you are 65 and retire (hopefully!). That’s when you can start to fully discover your passions and go traveling/golfing all day. In this way, you spend 40 years of your life just to sustain it for longer before doing the things that you are passionate about.
The life of an entrepreneur is more dynamic and more exciting in my opinion. When you are young, you have a dream and a passion. You gather some friends and go through tons of struggles, mistakes, disappointments and some victories together to create that world-changing business. I usually say that running a startup is not really a career. Its a lifestyle. For instance, if you were doing a Lord of the Rings journey, you wouldn’t just say “I’m just going to travel 40 hours a week and watch TV for the rest of the time.” Of course not! You will be constantly dealing with problems and evil creatures while counting the hours that you can afford to sleep.
People don’t join that LOTR journey because it is luxurious or they can get a fancy car. People join because they 1. believe in the mission (destroying the ring), and 2. they like the people they are traveling with.
I believe living a life like that is way more meaningful than just living a comfortably sustained life in The Shire. I would rather die poor doing the mission I believe in than live richly without ever pursuing the things I’m passionate about.
Being an entrepreneur creates an opportunity to truly be financially free at a young age after a great ride.
Now the other side of the story. You could be trying and failing for fives years or ten years, but WHEN you hit that big home run, you will earn enough money to do whatever you want to do for the rest of your life. This is dramatically different from a normal high paying job, because this allows you to possibly take full control of your life at a young age.
You could literally retire before 30 and live the life you want to. Yes, I agree the odds that this happening is low, but that is fine because the pursuit of your dreams is what makes life worth living, not necessarily the obtaining of it.
Also, as Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad author) says, “Nine out of ten startups fail. That just means I only need to create ten businesses and one will become successful!”
After you make it big, you can then go golfing, traveling, do philanthropy, or create more companies! Many successful entrepreneurs choose to do all of them.
Successful or not, entrepreneurs take control of their own lives.
Notice that in this case both phases of being an entrepreneur (struggle and success), you are doing what you want to do and free to choose how you want to do it, whereas in the corporate world you can only choose what makes the shareholders more profitable.
I would rather live a purposeful and adventurous life that “could” fulfill my dreams socially and financially than live a life just to sustain my existence for longer and buy cool stuff.
The best time to start a business for you just passed. The second best time to start a business is NOW.
Yea, most people want to start their own businesses, but always feel that the right time will come “later.”
Guess what? As time goes by your external responsibilities in life will only increase as your energy level decreases.
The best time is to start as early as possible (even in college!). Later on you will have a mortgage, you’ll have a family, your kids needs to go to college, and then you will need to save up for retirement while dealing with some new financial crisis. The best time to start a business will never arrive to you (actually lots of people become entrepreneurs after they get laid off so I take that back).
Just remember that you want to take the most risks when you have the least to lose. And that’s when you are young (or younger).
Every once in awhile I hear some naysayers challenge me by saying, “well if everyone becomes an entrepreneur, then there will be no employees and the world will not function!” I think this argument is bull because even though I agree with the logic, the truth is that even if I told the whole world to become entrepreneurs, only 5% will make real plans to become one, and only 0.2% will follow through and actually start a business. Of course, getting more education like getting an Gannon online MBA degree can always help you, regardless if you want to become an entrepreneur or an executive at a large firm.
So I think that’s not an issue anyone really needs to worry about. Its just a feel-good excuse to stay in the comfortable cubicles and not do anything different. All you have to worry about is to make sure you are part of that 0.2% who decides to take a leap of faith and make your life into an epic adventure.
I invite you to join the Real Life, where you actually have control over how you live it and what you do with it. It is yours completely, and the legacy is for yours to win or loss.
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23 thoughts on “Want a Real Life? Be an Entrepreneur”
What if you start off at an older age? Is it possible to expedite the process?
Really i am impressed from this post. I haven’t any word to appreciate this post..
Really i am impressed from this post. I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.
I took the jump last year, and so far I have to say that you are absolutely right!
Great one. But I had a doubt. What if you are in a job you love? What you love is what you do – what would you suggest then, become an entrepreneur or continue doing what you love? The reason for this question is that I am passionate about programming and stuff and am already deep into it (I am yet in High School, 11th grade this year). I have decided to get into some excellent college to develop great skills. I am confused, utterly confused, like what should be pursued – job or business, both of which I’d love to do, since I would be in a field that I love. I know it might not be the right time to think about all this presently, but strongly wish to get some good advice. What say?
By the way, reading this after 4 years of it being written – nice experience!
Thanks for the response. I certainly understand what troubles you. In theory – yes, if you love your job, by all means stick to your job. Basically, if you had $10M in your bank, and you would still do your job, then do it.
The problem you will see, is that even if you like programming, when you are doing the work that other people require, and annoyingly competing against your coworkers instead of coordinating together, you will feel unhappy. The point is that you just don’t have control over what you do. Many of my friends at Google, while liking programming, don’t necessarily like their jobs.
If you can find your dream job – great. Most people can’t, and that is why I encourage them to create their dream job.
Very well said !
I jumped off the corporate world recently and turned into an Entrepreneur. It certainly needs a lot of mental preparation specially when you have decent pay check driven monotonous life. I graduated from most premier engineering college in India and immediately secured a job. I loved my job profile , but my career so far was only moderately successful for various reasons. I found office politics too annoying and work assigned to me wasn’t based on my qualifications but influenced by others.
I decided the time is now as soon as me and my friend came up with a business plan again some time back . It wasn’t the first time we came up with one. so far I have been delaying actions waiting for the right time. The right time to execute plans came only when I said lets do it now :).
Thankfully my parents soon turned positive about it :).
This is a great article that I just happened to stumble upon. I think it can be expanded to apply to personal growth and development in general, but I think Steve Pavlina already covered the larger aspect on his blog.
I definitely agree that entrepreneurship is a way of life. It represents proactively going about your dreams or whatever it is that calls to you and taking control.
It applys to any pursuit of dreams, whether you’re a cook, musician, actor, comedian or author. They go through a period of honing their skills. During that time you do it for the love, and the enjoyment is all you will be getting for awhile. Then your skills build immensely if you’re maintained momentum and soon you take off.
I also agree that it’s better to start earlier in life. You have less to lose, especially during setbacks. They’re blank slates.
In any area of life, there will never be a perfect time for anything. You will never have all the information needed at a given time to make a perfect decision. they say there is no perfect time to be in a relationship. I think there are better or worst times but the only time you have is now.
After graduating high school back in 05, my family and I went homeless. It was a life-changing experience as I going to Cal Poly Pomona set on the corporate path. The experience taught me that my life has been too hard to not follow my dreams and become happy. I recently made the change to follow my childhood dreams of becoming an actor. It has nothing to do with the fortune or fame, but all to do with creativity and the challenge. You’ve got to grow as a human being to become a great actor. Like you said in one of your comments, “we are made to create!”
Coming from a “financially challenged” family.I used to worry about becoming another starving actor, but then I realized if I didn’t follow this path, there will be a lot of regret in the future. I also realized it’s nearly impossible to fail if I persist and learn from my mistakes. There are lots of actors that don’t make it but I can’t look at that and let it discourage me. Perhaps, there is something they did wrong, overlooked,or are not taking notice of.
I look at it like American idol: a lot of contestants but a lot aren’t aware of their skills, strengths and weaknesses.
I also learned from reading some blogs over at Steve Pavlinas site to look at security internally, rather than externally. Because your physical/external/material reality with never be secure. I may lose everything but when you hit rock bottom it’s not the end. The end is when you run out of time. But as long as I can take action I can be back where I was in no time, that is if you’re internally secure, meaning that you’ve invested time building your skills and knowledge and made yourself invaluable. It’s like comparing someone that just won $1,000,000 to someone that has an understanding of the principles of money and has earned $1,000,000. The winner should be very afraid.
Long comment, I know. Once again, great post
Thanks for the thoughtful comment! I have an exact answer for you:
If you are at a point in life where you have very little to lose and you have very little responsibility on your shoulders like a family or a mortgage, quit your job and run a startup. Live cheaply, and work your butt off so you can set up that day when you want to take on more personal responsibilities, you will be well set.
If you are at a point where you need a full-time job to support your family and mortgage or anything else, what you need to do, assuming entrepreneurship rocks for you again, is to work your full-time job during the day, and work on a startup night and weekends.
Because to be honest, you have 168 hours a week. A 40-hours a week job is not really “full-time”, it’s not even “quarter-time”! If you work 40 hours a week, and sleep for 40 hours a week, you still have 88 hours a week to do whatever you want! This is where you stop watching TVs, stop surfing the net, and stop killing time. Go start a company and build your legacy.
I hope my answer helps! Take care!
This is one of the best articles on the benefits of entrepreneurship that I have read. It sums up all the reasons why it is a fulfilling lifestyle. More than the money, that is what it should be about. Doing something fulfilling that YOU are about, not what your boss cares about. Thanks for the thoughts!
Hey Great Stuff Yu-kai – all the posts. You’ve inspired me man. As a young entrepreneur I feel this stuff daily haha!
I’m curious on your thoughts on this though:
Let’s agree that entrepreneurship rocks. Yes it’s tough, but to us at least, it’s a life worth living – moreso than the corporate life.
What would your advice be to others who are in corporate jobs they dislike? I mean – what if they’re doing it to support their family, and that’s their main goal in life and don’t care what it takes to do so? Sure maybe everyone has at one point said “I want to own / launch my own business” – but how widely do you think that’s advisable?
I’m sure you can think of good people whether in their 20’s or 50’s in corporate who don’t exactly get a rush from their job, but find balance elsewhere (be it happy hours or sports or family). What do you say to those people? Do you say “just quit your job and follow your dream?” or “suck it up at the 9-5 and make sure everything else around your life compensates?”
I only ask and give you a little pushback because it’s an answer I can’t seem to find myself. I left the corporate gig a year and a half ago to start this crazy ass entrepreneurship life, and sometimes wonder “if I would have stayed, could I have build in other means of happines in my life that kept me fulfilled?”
Maybe there’s no answer here, but I’ve been keeping this on my chest and thought you may understand and be able to give your thoughts on it.
hey, great article man…very inspiring…
Thanks a lot Nino! Let me know if you need any help in life or anything! 🙂
They didn’t like the idea. I had to run a business in secret for a long time. When they found out, my mom thought I was dreaming. After a long grind, my parents decided that they couldn’t really stop me and I also had momentum so we moved on.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment! It sounds like you had an exciting business going on! Life does make you choose between family and passionate work. I’m glad you executed and got to a good milestone in general though!
Maybe one day you will live the entrepreneurial lifestyle again!
People are made to create, and entrepreneurs do that.
I’m interested in knowing: What did your parents and family think when they found out you wanted to be an entrepreneur instead of going to graduate school after college?
wow nice blog. I followed my dream after serving 6 years in the US Army and me and my wife opened a Internet & Gaming Cafe / Restaurant, in Germany. While there were a considerable amount of cost and risk involved. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. We ran the establishment for 4 years until we decided to expand our family, we stopped operating when my wife was 6 months pregnant. It was good money, great fun and a real eye opener to the world of profit margins, marketing, competition etc. I hope to be able to do it again some day. We had 12 clients PCs, 2 servers, 9 tables for serving food, offered wireless, food pick up and delivery, birthdays and more. Even though we worked our asses off it never really felt like it, well maybe accept for the food. When dealing with food serving, cleaning, preparing etc. my wife really did a lot of work in that aspect but at the end of the day it is still a great feeling. I was mid 20’s when we did this and everyone though I was crazy and that we would only be open for 2 or 3 months at the most. =)
Haha, that’s not true. I listened to Kiosaki’s audio series before while driving and don’t know much about The Millionaire Next Door 😛
Sounds like you read a lot of Kioysaki and The Millionaire Next Door
Hey, I really liked what you said about entrepreneurs, and the hell of it is well its true! I am all out trying to make it with
my own business and learning how to be a blogger! I think it is tough but what I think about a 40 hr a week job is just
ridiculous and no Company is gonna pay you like you want to
be paid! Did you know that I am a certified pipe-welder and
I use to make good money, well I say good about 130k last
year but I worked 56 hrs a week and was so damn tired everyday when I got home that I was exhausted but my wife Angie and I got to go on some good vacations for 1 week and spent about 5-6k and then its back to work for a whole another year before I could do it again so I am Really motivated to be an entrepreneur in Internet Marketing and have been at it for 1 1/2 yrs and had’nt made a dime, just spent a hell of a lot of money because all of these blood-sucking pigs that lie through their teeth to get you to buy their product and when you get it well they want to upsell you on something else that you supposedly need too. I am kinda frustrated but I am not gonna QUIT because thats what everybody does is Quit, its so easy to just quit and go to work to be treated like shit and then all you can think about is doing your own thing and don’t get me wrong because I want the American Dream just like everyone else but it has a price on it too. If you are willing to go through the trial and error to get there and not quit! You can if you are Lucky find a Mentor that will help you sincerely but I have’nt found that person yet but God has a Plan for me and I do have the Faith that it will come to pass! Do You? If you would like to talk w/me sometime just shoot me an email and it was certainly my Pleasure to meet you, Be Blessed!
Sorry for the late response! It got buried from my other comments.
Thanks for the the encouragement!
I agree. The road of entrepreneurship is tough, but it is very meaningful. Never give up and one day you will achieve your dreams!
People depend on luck, but like you said, there is no luck but what God determines us to do.
God Bless and take care!