Entrepreneurship is a beautiful thing. Not only can it help develop economies, regions and countries but it also provides for many, a lifestyle that could not possibly be attained through traditional income streams. Those who stick with it sometimes come out on the winning end. But entrepreneurship is not always as glamorous as it appears to be.
Here are 5 experiences that they NEVER tell you will come with the journey of Entrepreneurship:
You’ll Live A Life Characterized by Financial Limitation
You won’t be able to buy new clothes and shoes as often as you like nor will you be able to go out to dinner as often as you like. You won’t be able to travel as much as you like and sometimes you’ll even be broke; at least in the beginning. With entrepreneurship, delayed gratification becomes a lifestyle, and those who don’t adopt it often don’t come out on the winning side of things.
Your Family & Friends Won’t Support You
Most Caribbean parents are happy if their kids go to university, get a couple of degrees and settle into a nice, comfortable job. With entrepreneurship being a fairly new and unstable culture in the region, be prepared for your parents and family members not to understand why you’re not working a 9-5 instead of slaving away for 20 out of 24 hrs for returns that seem disproportionate. They will try to do everything to get you to live a “normal” life including secretly handing out your resume to their influential friends.
Sometimes the lack of support will come in the form of a lack of patronship. It can be hurtful to see your family and friends endorsing the products and services of other people and companies while refusing to do the same with yours. Other times it will come in the form of you being constantly asked to be benevolent; do free work.
There Will Be No Work-Life Balance
An entrepreneur’s work-life balance is a myth. Especially when you’re just starting off you’re going to have to work 28 hours in a 24 hour day. Your limited budget will often require you to learn to do everything on your own: from graphic design to website design and development and there are moments where you’ll need to forgo a lime that sounds like just the stress reliever you need because you need to meet a deadline or simply because you’re as broke as ever.
People with families find that in many instances they have very little time to spend with their families. Sleep sometimes becomes an unattainable luxury and it would seem like the days escape you.
Nothing Goes According to Plan
Alright. Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration. However, it would be problematic to immerse yourself into the culture of entrepreneurship thinking that everything will go as outlined in your business plan. Quite contrary, it will seem like Murphy’s Law is in Play. Everything that can Go wrong will go wrong. Deadlines will be missed, unexpected technical difficulties will show up, and people you thought were reliable will turn out not to be so. The key is to prepare for the unexpected.
You’ll Feel Like Giving Up
Entrepreneurship is one of the hardest roads that a human being can travel. I think it to be an even more difficult journey for Caribbean entrepreneurs when one takes into consideration our unique constraints. The journey is so arduous that many times you’ll feel like it is not worth it and the only option you’ll see ahead of you is to give up. In these times the way forward is oftentimes found in remembering what prompted you to begin.
What made you feel that this was a brilliant idea to being with? Why were you so excited to start it off? Who was your motivation? Was it providing a better life for your family? Was it honoring the wishes of your dying grandmother?
I share these experiences not to scare you away from entrepreneurship but to prepare you for the possibilities that come with this journey. It is likely that if you know what to expect that you would be better prepared to deal with the issues and difficulties when they come. With that said I say, “Happy Trekking!”