The costs of being an entrepreneur have recently come to the front of my attention again and I have started to see (through the eyes of experience this time) exactly what those costs are. So I thought I would share this insight with you, in case you are contemplating the entrepreneurial journey yourself.
I meant to write this article last Sunday, as I realized my Sunday was not like most people, but I got busy with other things (typical of an entrepreneur) and I never wrote this post. Then this Sunday came and it was a similar routine. So now I can write this article with even more evidence and clarity.
In 2006, at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey I knew that it costs lots of time and energy (not to mention money) to be a successful entrepreneur. I remember having business calls at 2am to discuss marketing plans and thinking, “who does this?”
Then there are moments when I realize that I need to devote some time and energy to the most important aspect of life… relationships. So I try to find ways to squeeze it all in there, but there are only so many hours in a day and days in a week. Hence why I am frequently a week late on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. (not my proudest moments). Eventually, people begin to think they aren’t important to me, and that is probably the worst of any of the “entrepreneurial bug” side-effects.
Not Your Typical Sunday
I woke up and had breakfast. Then starting preparing for a video shooting that I was doing at 10am. Completed the video shoot just in time for a quick lunch. Grabbed some dog food for my babies and came home. Immediately started working on importing and editing the video I had shot early. Before I was finished, I had to leave to go horseback riding (a anniversary present for my girlfriend). Got home 30 minutes before a conference call to discuss a contract. About 2 hours later, the call was over and I was back to editing the video. Finished editing the video at about 9pm and started uploading to YouTube. While that was uploading, I had some “day job” work I needed to complete by Monday. So I spent the next 2 hours working on that.
I met a previous employer (and kind of a business client, since I still do audio gigs for him occasionally) for breakfast. Then I took my girlfriend to get coffee and supplies for her business (I guess the entrepreneurial bug is contagious 🙂 ). Came home and helped her setup for an event she was having for her business, which included me designing and printing labels. Again, I had “day job” work to do, which took me about 2 hours to finish. From there, I had to review/revise the contract from the call last Sunday. And now, it is after 9pm and I am finally writing this article for my blog (a week late… again).
The Grass Is Greener
Looking at how I spend my time has made me recognize the value of having a simple 9-5 “day job” and nothing else. It would have afforded me the time to just live life and experience the world. No side business. No side projects. Just some fun hobbies that re-energize and rejuvenate the body and spirit.
The entrepreneurial path that I have chosen has afforded me with a different set of experiences, which I also value. I am not even sure I could have chosen another path, but I finally see the benefits of having just a “day job”, which was previously difficult for me to understand why people would “settle” for that.
For me, I know I at least need to experience working solely for myself before I can decide which professional lifestyle is best suited for me. We Aries tend to be stubborn like that. Once we get an idea in our head, we have got to experience it. 🙂
I know there are people who are much busier than I am, but life shouldn’t be about comparing yourself to others. So I am merely comparing my lifestyle to what I had wanted my life to be like at this point. Looking back over the last 8 years of being infected with the “entrepreneurial bug”, I have spent a lot of time and energy doing things which could have been spent in other ways… like going camping with my girlfriend and our dogs, visiting a new city, reading a good book, or just cooking together with a glass of wine. I can’t tell you how many of our dinners she has prepared and brought to me, glued to my computer, while she eats alone.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t aspire to start your own business. I just hope this is a reminder for you take the time to recognize that all life choices have their own set of side effects. So choose the side effects that are the most acceptable for you and the lifestyle you want to have.
Right now, one aspect of life may not be too important for you (like having a meaningful relationship), but in 5 years that may change… even in 1 year things change! Unless you remember to take a step back from your life (I recommend annually) and re-evaluate what you spend your time doing versus what is important to you, you may not recognize this mismatch of lifestyle versus life goals. This mismatch is the cause of most anger, frustration, stress, and other negative emotions, because many people forget to re-evaluate their life at regular intervals. So when you are feeling stressed, try to find what it is that is conflicting with what is important to you.
I must say that I have not approached my entrepreneurial life in the most efficient manner, but (in my defense) what entrepreneur ever begins with the wisdom it takes to manage that work/life balance effectively? I would love to hear your tips for balancing your work life and personal life!