Judging from some of the queries and e-mails that I have been getting over the last couple of months, it is abundantly clear that the perception around business startups is really, really, really skewered.
I know that at the moment, everyone wants to be a “CEO” or a “Director” and that, in the face of things it is not a bad thing – it’s good to dream. The reality though is that having a title won’t make your business a success and having a title doesn’t mean that you can sit back and delegate all the tasks and that’s the extent of your involvement in the business.
The reality is that as a startup – more often than not, you are not only the “CEO” but also the PA, the marketing department, the admin department, the tea lady (whether you are male or female) and the delivery driver. The reality is that although your “doors” may close to customers at the end of the day, it is highly unlikely that your business duties will allow you to pack up and have the luxury of putting your tools down for the day.
Sadly many corporate employees look at their bosses or directors and see only what they want to see – the afternoons playing golf or the expensive cars or expensive clothes. What they don’t see is all the hard work, the 18 hour days and no weekends, no public holidays, the loss of family life. They don’t see the working while you are under the weather and sick, and oh . . don’t forget the trying to convince yourself that you were in bed for two days recuperating from a surgical procedure and those days amount to your time off for the next 6 months.
When you work from home, unless you control it, it actually becomes worse. Going upstairs to bed at night, I more often than not turn right at the top of the stairs – into the office, instead of left into the bedroom.
I soon realized that no matter how “smart” I worked, I needed to put in the long hours in order to set things up and get ahead of the competition. I knew that I had to make the sacrifices then, in order for me to reap the rewards further on down the line.
Needless to say, many would-be Entrepreneurs give up and fall by the wayside, disillusioned by the world of business – the reality of what it takes to grow and run a sustainable business, victims of their own shortsighted, un-researched, rose-tinted expectations.
Most return to the types of bosses from whence they came, blaming the government, the red tape, the economy and in fact everyone other than themselves, unwilling to take the responsibility for their own lack of judgment. Some forage forward to the next pipe dream or hare-brained scheme of “instant riches” that can be amassed, again without any idea of “what it takes” to achieve the type of success that only successful people can make look so easy.
Understand though – in order for them to have achieved that level of success in their businesses, they have had to put in the time – they have had to make the sacrifices, often at the cost of their marriages, their families and their loved ones and they have had to remain focused on their goals. Ultimately they have had to believe in themselves.
The question is – do you believe enough in yourself and are you willing to make this kind of sacrifice?