This is a rant on the ‘entrepreneurial lifestyle’ – it’s been on my mind for some time now, and I finally decided it’s worth publicly ranting about. If you agree or disagree, I’d love your comments below.
Disclaimer #1: You might be directly offended by this post. Sorry I’m not sorry. Real Talk.
Disclaimer #2: I realize I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past. It was immature.
Posting pictures of yourself sipping a tropical drink on the beach is NOT the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Bragging about how little you work isn’t impressing (or attracting) anyone except a bunch of lazy people who have little if any desire to create something significant in the world. The same goes for pictures and memes of people ‘making money in their sleep.’ Let’s get real…
Every single entrepreneur worth remembering, from Richard Branson to Steve Jobs to Henry Ford, and those who built their successes more quietly have WORKED THEIR ASSES OFF. Every successful entrepreneur I know works extremely hard, or has for a significant portion of their lives and careers, to create something of massive value in the world (but, that depends on how you define entrepreneur).
If you’re an entrepreneur, you are driven by building your vision. You can’t NOT work hard. It’s not in your DNA.
You take risks. You dare to think different. You do things that haven’t been done before. You create, you innovate, you inspire, you lead, you manage, you put it all on the line because you believe in a bigger and better world. YOU WORK HARD to create it. Often times in the face of uncertainty, rapidly shifting market conditions, self-doubt, limited resources… you work hard because you believe in what you’re building.
80+ hour work week, intense focus, SACRIFICE… that’s the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Not sitting on a beach sipping a damn margarita.
I think this crazy misconception might come from how loosely we define ‘entrepreneur’ these days… MLM, affiliate marketing, etc are all great, but there’s a fine line (ok, maybe not so fine) between building a company and promoting a product/opportunity based on how you get to sit on the beach and ‘get money’ on the Internet. The latter is fine, but please stop calling it entrepreneurship.
The Four Hour Work Week? No. You didn’t get it.
Another crazy misconception comes from Tim Ferriss’s “The Four Hour Work Week.” I LOVE that book – in fact reading it over a dozen times in college played an instrumental role in creating the life that I have now (I also think Tim is a genius; I’m a huge fan and was fortunate enough to meet him and hang out for a bit). But Tim does NOT preach laziness. In fact, the opposite. It’s all about focusing less on money, and more on who you are becoming and what you are creating in the world. Tim himself works extremely hard, stays super focused, and is overwhelmingly driven to create something significant in the world during his life. The misleading title only refers to ‘work’ as ‘necessary things that you don’t really want to do, but HAVE to do for income generation or other logistical reasons’ (my definition) … reread the book, especially the Filling The Void chapter, and you’ll agree.
Real entrepreneurs don’t brag about how little they work.
Yes, they delegate, they create leverage, they often travel, and yes they can often afford a better ‘lifestyle’ than a typical employee. But the entrepreneurial lifestyle includes a ton of hard work, risk, and sacrifice. It’s rewarding, and can be exhausting, but they also have a massive amount of extra energy from their vision… so the long hours don’t feel like work, they feel like creation. Like art.
In fact, most successful entrepreneurs I know can’t even take long vacations. They get antsy because they are aware from what they are creating, from growth, progress, invention…
This doesn’t mean you don’t take time to rejuvenate.
Now, I’m not saying Rejuvenation isn’t important. I’m not saying FUN and EXPERIENCE isn’t important either. It is. Sometimes you need to chill out, take time away from your business, have fun, experience something new, go on an adventure, or do absolutely nothing. Whether to relax and rejuvenate, or to get mental clarity to come up with better solutions and innovations. You want to avoid burn out (been there, done that) and a resulting depression (yes, many of us face this) from overworking.
But this doesn’t mean that the entrepreneurial lifestyle is defined by relaxation, chilling out, and doing whatever you want whenever you want. It simply means you need to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit, so you can go back at the real entrepreneurial lifestyle (of hard work and creation) with ever more energy, creativity, and focus.
So next time you see someone on Facebook post a neat lifestyle picture promoting the entrepreneurial lifestyle, remind yourself: building a great business takes discipline, hard work, focus, and creativity. Maybe even drop a link to this post as a comment on their picture. If you want to live the ‘entrepreneurial lifestyle’ then be prepared to make sacrifices, work your ass off, and take less breaks than your employees… because you get to build something great. And that’s worth bragging about.
If you agree, disagree, or have a different perspective on this, I’d love your comments below.