Go Back to School or Become an Entrepreneur?
With unemployment skyrocketing near 15 percent and many businesses on the brink of bankruptcy, there is no doubt that the job market will be tight when life resumes. As a result, many will choose between higher education — grad school usually sees an uptick in admission applications during recessions — or entrepreneurship.
With the cost of higher education being what it is, and entrepreneurship being as sexy as ever, I believe that many will choose the latter. Here’s what you should know about starting a business.
Running a Business Is a Daily Fistfight
In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, Schmidt’s Naturals founder Jaime Schmidt said, “Entrepreneurship requires a strong love for the work you’re doing. If your heart’s not in it, you can only go so far.”
Running a business is a daily fistfight. There is no way you leave the ring without a black eye daily. You have to expect the punches and manage the pain. It logically makes no sense to start a business when you consider all of the headaches. One of the greatest things about owning a business is that you set the beat and create the song. What the team works on is up to you. Passion has to be at the forefront, which is why I encourage everyone to find their why.
If you’re not passionate about it, it makes no sense to do it. If you love the idea of creating your own projects and choosing what to focus your energy on, entrepreneurship offers those perks.
It All Comes Down to Sales
Be selling all the time. My dad was a relentless salesman — he knew how to tell a story. At the dinner table we would talk about the most mundane things, but he made it a story and it became exciting. You don’t have to be a salesman to do sales, but the reality is that in life, it all comes down to sales. Recruiting great employees, sponsorship negotiations (or renegotiations, in a COVID-19 world), acquiring new customers, keeping old ones: It’s all a game of sales. If you can get people to buy into your message, you can build a business.
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Motivation comes from discipline and routine. Business plans are useless. When you’re starting off you will have to pivot often to stay alive. So whatever your plan is it’s guaranteed to change. If you wait until you know everything you’ll be stuck and paralyzed by analysis. Best form of learning is by doing. It’s okay not to know all the details. Tag someone who should see this.
There Are More Downs Than Ups
My dad was an entrepreneur, and at the dinner table he would teach me what he knew about running businesses. I definitely got the entrepreneurial bug from him. He once told me that not everyone has the stomach for it. The upside is amazing, but trust me: There are more downs than ups, and when things are down they are really down. I’m talking about no days off, worrying about making payroll, losing clients and customers, late nights at the office, and early days before the sun rises. There are very few reasons to be an entrepreneur. How do you know if entrepreneurship is right for you?
According to a Harvard study, unpredictable and ambiguous environments are a source of motivation for entrepreneurs. In short, do you thrive in uncertainty, or do you hate it?