Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business(es) is no easy feat by any stretch of the imagination. The hours are rough, the rejections are tough, and the stress of having your name on everything is a great way to save money on haircuts. But with the guts certainly comes some glory.
Here are 11 of the finest perks of bringing your own army to the battlefield…
You Can Put Anything You Want On Your Business Cards
This is the business card of an entrepreneur I recently met at SXSW:
Another entrepreneur I met a few days later had a space man on his card. Yes, a guy in a spacesuit floating next to earth. That guy’s business had zero to do with space – he was just a marketer. He didn’t give a sh*t. He wanted a space man, so he got a space man. Forget hip new titles like, “Resident Rockstar” or “Intergalactic MVP” – if you run your own show, you can put literally anything on your card. Like, “Don’t Call Me On Mondays” or “My Other Business Card is a Lake House.”
You Find Out Pretty Quickly What You ACTUALLY Love
As far as a career goes, you might think you know what you love. But if you haven’t done it for 80 hours a week, eight billion weeks in a row, it’s still a toss-up. Usually we don’t know what ride we really want unless we kick the tires ‘til our toes bleed. If you go the way of the entrepreneur, bleed you will. And once you bleed, you’ll know where your heart is.
You Can Fire People Who Suck
When chubby infants are incompetent, it’s cute. To a point. When professional colleagues are incompetent, it’s a gateway to alcoholism and assault with a whiteboard. On your production set, you pick the cast and crew. It’s not that you want to fire people; it’s the fact that you can when you need to. Having the flexibility and authority to curate a top-notch team is great for personal motivation and it’s great for business. It’s even better for hangovers.
Everything is an Expense
Those coffees? Business meeting. Your new couch? Office expense. Laser hair removal, an electric dog collar, and tickets to an EDM festival in Croatia? I don’t know, I’m not an accountant. But definitely expense it. As long as you keep all your receipts, you’re good – only drug dealers, professional gamblers, and other people get audited.
People Expect You to Be Cheap/Broke
Trust me: it’s a lot easier to be cheap when everyone thinks you’re broke. Constantly say phrases like “tough quarter,” “meeting with potential investors,” and “haven’t eaten much this year” – people will quickly realize how tough life is for an entrepreneur and be more than happy to pick up their fair share of tabs. Don’t worry, you’ll hit them back when you’re a billionaire.
You Learn Everything About Everything
In high school, I learned how to wear my pants below my ass without having them entirely fall off. In university, I learned how to play flip-cup and hate long-distance relationships. Over the course of my first several jobs, I learned how to make sexy PowerPoints. After starting my own business, I learned everything else. To be fair, you learn a lot as an employee, but the real education – the real ins and outs of people, business and life – starts when the bumpers are totally off.
You End Up Meeting the Most Interesting People
Because anyone could end up being the most important person in your life, you tend to open up to more events, more opportunities and more people after becoming an entrepreneur. That social willingness and hunger for engagement gets you into a lot of great conversations with a lot of great people.
More Business Travel Just ‘Cause
You met someone who knows someone who might know someone who needs your services? And they’re based in Barcelona? You should totally go. And yes, you’ll definitely get a ton of leads from that conference in Miami. And the one in Paris. And the one in St. Louis. Wait, maybe don’t go to St. Louis. Either way, I’m pretty sure you can expense the hotels.
“The Rules” are “Your Rules”
Want the “work day” to start at 10:30am and uphold a strict policy against pants? Want to put a wine fridge in the office and settle every internal dispute with a game of Connect 4? Want everyone’s email signature to be a face swap with Lady Gaga and pay employee bonuses in puppies? You can do that now. All of it.
You Get Good at Failing
Real character is formed when you trade pride in for resilience. Few people like getting rejected or enjoy taking a beating; but the smartest people appreciate the growth and perspective available in the experience. Once you get good at being bad, there isn’t much that can get in your way.
You Inspire Other People
This might seem a little cocky, but believe me, that’s not where it’s coming from. There are so many people who want to go off and do something on their own but just haven’t come across the right example, the right story, or the right inspiration. Being an inspiration to people and helping them take their first big step towards startup success is a real part of the job and it’s absolutely one of the most fulfilling.