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When most people think of an entrepreneur, they think of some young, probably sexy, person living a really cool lifestyle—usually in a bustling city. A bit like riding a fun roller coaster.
In reality, most entrepreneurs are small business owners riding a roller coaster you wish would just stop.
They’re older people, often your neighbors in the suburbs. They’re parents, or even grandparents. They’re not just twenty-somethings living it up in the city. They’re not software developers trying to get VC funding, strike it rich and sell out some day. They’re real estate agents, financial advisors, mechanics, bakers, fitness coaches, artists, bloggers… They just want to make ends meet—for the numbers to add up or even just wash out.
Some are trying to bridge their way from an unfulfilling day job to a life where they have more freedom and control. Straddling two jobs is insanely difficult. Even moreso when you have a family to provide for and nurture. You’re pulled in many directions at once and it can be tough to keep sight of the larger goal (this is where young twenty-somethings have it sooooo easy…).
It’s financially taxing: any money that comes in from a day job goes right back out to make sure the mortgage is paid, fund your new night/weekend business as an investment, buy an insane amount of groceries for your 4-person family, and hopefully there’s enough left to put shoes on your 7-year-old’s feet (who’s shoe size changes about every two weeks). All while barely having time to really see or be with your family because you have to get all the work done.
And, there’s constant pressure to give in (a.k.a. give up). Your day job wants you to commit even more and you’re pressured to move up or take a promotion (which sounds good but also takes you away from the small business you want to build). Your family doesn’t feel like you spend enough time with them, not to mention the house repair and maintenance that’s still sitting on your to-do list.
People look at you like you’re crazy because the only time you have to work on your own business is on nights and weekends. You’re the one with the laptop at family events getting all the dirty looks, and the comments… Where people always want to give you “advice” about how you shouldn’t be working so much… Hey, man. How about you shut it and pay my electric bill. That would actually be more helpful.
It’s rough out there… But there’s one thing that keeps you going. A single thought. That, by continuing to bust your ass, you’ll someday get to the point where you’ve earned your freedom. The freedom to work on your own terms, freedom to worry less about money, freedom to spend more if not most of your time with your family.
I hear you.
Your best days are coming soon.
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Kevin Namaky is a consumer brand leader, trainer and speaker. He trains brand teams to enhance their marketing skills, lead and grow their business, and accelerate their careers. As a consumer brand leader and strategic consultant, he created billions in new value for Fortune 500 clients. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.