The Secret to Being a Happy Entrepreneur

Jan 29

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1/29/2016  RssIcon

When I was in college, I thought about being a restaurant owner. It looked so glamorous… going from table to table, greeting guests and friends. Being surrounded all day and night with good food and wine…. It seemed like every night would be a party and I would get to be the host! 

I told my friend’s father about my dream, who happened to own a restaurant. He took by the shoulders and asked me to sit down. He gave me a serious look and sternly asked me to forget this dream, because it actually was a nightmare. He asked me to think about having to work all day and into the night, six days a week. Never being able to attend a Saturday night party or wedding because that is a restaurant’s most profitable night. 

He continued… imagine that you are surrounded by cash, food and alcohol; all perishables that easily disappear into the cars of less than honorable staff. He then threw a napkin on the floor. He said “No big deal, right?” Then he yelled at me, “To me then is a penny wasted! You know how many good napkins fall on the floor each night?! This is what I worry about day and night. Thousands of pennies being wasted every day!” 

Thanks to that “discussion,” I saw the light and realized that the restaurant business might not be for me after all. What’s looked sexy and glamorous from the outside, now seemed like a living hell from the inside. 

The same could be said about entrepreneurship. When you read the pages of Inc. Magazine, watch the charmed life of Mark Zuckerberg and see the Ferrari of the guy that just sold his company for $50 million, it’s easy to think, “that’s the life for me.” 

Well, please go get a glass of cold water. Now throw it in your face. 

Being an entrepreneur certainly is rewarding, but let me tell you, it’s 95 percent hard-ass work. Not only do you have to worry about your product becoming irrelevant every minute of every day, you also have to worry about competition eating your lunch, cash flow, payroll, paying rent, firing people, employees quitting, hiring the right people, constant innovation, and so much more. Believe it or not, this is the tip of the iceberg. 

If you’re not waking up at 3 a.m., five to seven nights a week, then you probably don’t have the finger on the pulse of your business. 

In addition, a good entrepreneur is well balanced. This means they are also focused on their health (exercise and eating habits), family, relationships, faith/spirituality downtime and much more. Once you get past the magazine cover, it’s a tough life. You are always “on.” It’s not for the faint of heart. Eight out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. And out of those, only 50 percent make it to year four. Yikes. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love it. It’s my drug of choice. But it’s not for everybody and it’s definitely not the sexy picture you imagine when you turn the page on the “rich” entrepreneur who’s on the magazine cover. But (and here’s the big but)…. If it’s you’re calling, there is nothing better. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love the highs and I appreciate the lows, because I learn. Plus, the lows help me to appreciate the highs even more! 

Entrepreneurship is a very dangerous, at times, lonely rollercoaster, but if it’s in your blood, if it’s your calling, then there is nothing better. Just remember, it’s 95 percent scary, hard-ass work. 

But the five percent.... oh the five percent is sooooo good. Please stay tuned for my next post. I’ll continue the discussion and include habits and strategies you can implement to increase your chances of being a happy, well-rounded and successful entrepreneur.

Copyright ©2016 | David Mammano

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