I always wanted to be a businessman. The only problem is, I never knew exactly what it even meant. Maybe it was the beautiful word that I wanted to be associated with.
I started doing research seeking to understand what it really meant to be an entrepreneur. I came across a lot of information, and business ideas ranging from manual to automated ideas.
With all this information, I could not conclude what it really meant, or whether or not this would influence me to undertake the path that I was thinking about.
In all this confusion, I decided to look for a job first, as I seek to understand what entrepreneuring means, and whether or not it was worth my time.
I worked in the accounting field for about 4 years, as an accountant. And in those four years plus transitioning to entrepreneurship, I learned what the difference is between an employee and an entrepreneur. I will share my experience with you, to hopefully help you decide on whether being an entrepreneur is worth it for you.
As an employee, my earning potential depended on a couple of things. First, my level of skills, second the company I was working for(size and revenue), third my position in the company and lastly my boss’s decision.
All these combined had one meaning: “Though it was my life, I was under someone else’s control“. This was never fun. When a transitioned to being an entrepreneur, I was my own boss.
This meant that “It was my life, and I had total control of it now“. This was awesome, but it also called for a lot of self-discipline without which, all was meaningless.
As an employee, I had a defined work plan. Working in one office, from 8 am to 5 pm. No matter what happened, the best flexibility I got was either when am on leave, or I was sick. In a way, this made me feel like a robot, which had an on-time and off-time. I did not enjoy this schedule.
As an entrepreneur, the case was totally different. I chose when and where I wanted to work. I would plan my schedule the way I wanted. No restrictions. Given that I love being in control, this was a win for me.
Challenge vs Normal
An employee, I was paid to do what the boss said. As an entrepreneur, things were totally different.
Every day presented its own challenge and reward. I had to stay on top of my game if I was to remain relevant. This was enjoyable for me, though at times it also gave me sleepless nights and made me daydream.
Passion vs money
I was an employee because I needed the money. When I transitioned to business, at first the days were quite dark. Converting your passion into a business model is a bit tough. Learning to regulate your passion is even harder.
At times I got carried away exploring new things, that I forgot I actually need to sell my already existing products/services, to be able to pay my bills. Passion at times got into my business, as I was moving too fast, that at times I would pass my destination, only to realize moments later.
Starting a business to do what am passionate about was totally worth it. I would rather work on how to learn to slow down to avoid going past my destination, rather than just work to meet my bills.
Purpose vs life
There is life and there is purpose. you can have life, without a purpose, but purpose gives life meaning. As an employee, I had life. But when I transitioned to business, I got a purpose. To make the world better, one bit at a time.
Of course, not everyone can be a businessperson, the only thing you need to make sure is that, whether in business or employment, you need to fulfill a purpose, not just a life.
Self-actualization vs recognition
Staying in employment for me might have meant I become someone very senior, and probably get recognized worldwide. But I was seeking self-actualization, not recognition. I wanted to be able to look myself in the mirror and feel proud of what I had done. This only meant one thing for me, going the entrepreneurial way.
Seek self-fulfillment, not validation. At the end of it, you have yourself to deal with.
Restriction vs freedom
As an employee, you can only go as far as your boss will let you. You have to run decisions by him/her before implementing them. No matter how creative you might be, or how much you feel your idea is valuable, it can only be implemented when the boss approves.
As an employee, I had a lot of ideas I felt would have taken the company to the next level. But of course, my ideas were only as good as my boss’s approval, which never happened. In the entrepreneur world, things are different. I implement any idea I think about. At times I do it in a simulated environment, to mitigate risks. But the point to remember is, I implement the ideas nevertheless.
The freedom I find in entrepreneurship gives me the ability to dream and be creative. It is this ability that has enabled me to fulfill my customers’ needs beyond even their expectations.
Risk-taker vs risk-averse
This is what brings the clear distinction between employment and entrepreneurship. Employees tend to be risk-averse, unwilling to try out new things and just be satisfied with the status quo. On the other hand, entrepreneurs are risk-takers. Most times they lose a lot from taking the wrong risks, but this never stops them.
I have lost a lot of money in investing in areas that I expected high returns, only to realize it was a wrong call.
This however has never and will never dissuade me from being an entrepreneur. I consider every moment of time, whether winning or losing to be worth it.
Of course, I think the world would be better if we were all entrepreneurs. But I cannot force people into this. I shared my experience to shed light on what it means when you get into entrepreneurship.
But at the end of it all, you need to evaluate yourself and know where your calling is. Is it employment, or is it business?
Whatever it is, always be determined to keep pushing boundaries and achieving greatness.