The word ‘sacrifice’ usually makes people cringe. We associate it with loss and reluctantly giving up something that makes us happy in order to achieve a goal or some sort of enlightenment. If you want to lose 20 lbs. then you have to sacrifice that Napoleon you love getting every week at the local French bakery. If that new Prada bag is a ‘must have’ then forget about taking a vacation for the rest of your life.
In some cases these sacrifices are next level, like God asking Abraham to slaughter his son–it’s a good thing that was a false alarm and a ram was there instead, talk about pressure! The sacrifice is actually not a punishment, but a reward. I know sporting around your new Prada bag or fitting into that smaller dress size is perceived as the reward, but the reality is that the sacrifice was the vehicle that got you to your goal. When you are ready to make the sacrifices it takes to achieve your goals then you have reached an important breakthrough. This same mentality applies to entrepreneurship. There are a few things you need to ask yourself before you make the plunge into being your own boss.
First, be honest with yourself.
Ask if yourself if you have what it takes. Lying to yourself only hurts you and sets you up for failure. Not everyone is equipped to be an entrepreneur, that’s the reality. It doesn’t mean that you are less of a person or that you don’t have talents, but just like any pursuit in life, not all of us are meant to do and be everything that’s associated with what we love. I have a seriously weird obsession with surfing. I am so white that I actually reflect the sun and I grew up on the East Coast. I have a sarcastic personality and get mistaken as Snow White by children all the time (whole other article). I don’t exactly typify the average sun-kissed, west coast, bikini clad water angel. Therefore, people find my affinity for this sport rather bizarre. Give me a great surfing documentary with intense images of a Green Cathedral any day and I am down. I have been known to binge watch surfing documentaries on a Saturday while ordering in multiple meals and never changing out of my pajamas.
And yet, as much as I love surfing, I am not going to be the next Alana Blanchard or even an instructor for toddlers in a baby pool at the 92 Y. Why you ask? Wearing a swimsuit on a daily basis would kill me and those weekly Brazilian waxes would be a very painful part of my regimen. Not worth the sacrifice! Seriously. The truth is that I am honest with myself about my talents and capabilities versus what I love. This isn’t to say that the two aren’t possible, but everything you love doesn’t always turn into a career. I have tried surfing, but as much as I love it, I will not be working in the field anytime soon and probably not attempting to do it again either. Being a spectator in this case is best.
Not everyone is equipped to be an entrepreneur, that’s the reality.
I have many people in my life who have thrown themselves into the entrepreneurial world only to find themselves back in an environment where that wasn’t the case. They were still able to do the work they love, but realized they didn’t want all of the responsibilities and risks of owning a business. When I decided that I wanted to be a career/life coach and an artist manager I had to create a list of traits and skills required to do this work, but also what was required of me to be my own boss.
Are you Cut of the Entrepreneurial Cloth?
I asked myself the following questions below about being my own boss.
- Do I have good leadership qualities?
- Am I self disciplined?
- Do I have the ability to manage chaos and problems that are unforeseen?
- Do I work well in uncharted territories?
- Can I promote myself and business?
- Can I take risks?
- Can I avoid doing a comparative analysis with my peers?
- Am I resilient enough not to let others opinions derail me?
- Can I think outside of the box?
- Do I have the strength to walk away when I know something isn’t going to work although it may be masked as a great opportunity?
Answering the aforementioned questions honestly helped me to determine that I was going to move forward with my businesses. As a fun exercise I also sent these questions to friends, many of them wrote me back and said that there is no way they would want to be an entrepreneur. When they really looked at those questions and reconciled with themselves, they knew there were many things on that list that didn’t apply to them.
Now About Those ‘Sacrifices’…
Once you have established that you are entrepreneurial material then you have to ask yourself the million dollar question:
“Am I willing to make the sacrifices to be an entrepreneur?”
“What sacrifices?” you may ask. I get to be my own boss and work from wherever I want and do whatever I want. It’s my business and I call the shots. Yes, not only do you call the shots, but it’s all you.
There is no customer service department or assistant or a 401K with a great health insurance plan. You do not get a guaranteed check every 2 weeks or designated paid vacation or weekends. I spent most of my adult life working for larger establishments. I had a very short period of free lancing, but for the most part since I was 15-years-old I always worked for companies that paid me whether it was part-time during the summer or full-time as an adult. I did my job and I got a pay check every two weeks. Those paychecks came with benefits, paid vacation time, and promotions. There was structure and security. I eventually moved into leadership roles quickly most of the time.
However, I wasn’t really happy in any of those roles, although I learned a lot. I don’t regret any of those experiences and they have added value to my career life today. However, my health was also negatively affected at one point and that within itself is a piece for another day. I was at a cross roads a few years ago. Do I go back to my corporate life where I was unhappy and sick with guaranteed income/comfort or do I pursue less guaranteed work that will make me happy and where I can maximize my talents to benefit others and myself ?
I decided to move forward with venturing out on my own, but I had to prepare myself for the sacrifices and lifestyle changes. I made a list of sacrifices that I would have to make in order to have this freedom of being a ‘Boss Girl.’ Most people who pursue their own professional, independent endeavors make many of these sacrifices in the beginning and sometimes for years until they reach that specific place of success within their field.
My Own Sacrifices…
- Living within my means – No vacations or extras. Sometimes no healthcare. Dramatic lifestyle shifts.
- Taking on additional menial work in between projects if my freelance projects can’t pay my bills that month.
- No free time – ‘I am my business 24/7’ mentality
- Relationships – Distancing yourself from people in your life who won’t support your goals no matter who they are. You don’t have time to deal with them, nor should you.
- Living a life with no guarantees or security. No benefits or support.
- Pride – Sometimes requesting help from people in your life who you trust and those who believe in you.
Good entrepreneurs usually make it look [easy]. People who don’t work in this space have no clue what sacrifices are made to be here.
I had a friend say to me once after leaving a movie on a Sunday night, “You are so lucky that you don’t have to be up in the morning to go to an office tomorrow and have people bitching at you. Your life is so cool and easy.” This statement really annoyed me at first, but I knew she wasn’t saying it with malicious intent and really felt that my life was ‘cool and easy.’ It’s because good entrepreneurs usually make it look that way. People who don’t work in this space have no clue what sacrifices are made to be here. I love global travel (you can read about traveling solo here), but haven’t left the country in years. I miss my seasonal Anthropologie and Anna Sui dresses, but I don’t need to buy 5 of them a year. I know these sacrifices sound like 1st world problems, but these and many more enjoyable aspects of my life were indeed sacrifices for me.
Being my own boss has put so much in perspective about what is important in life for me and that’s doing the work that I love every day, working for myself, and with my clients. I get to coach people into better parts of their life and support an array of artists in their development of new music or new work. With that comes great sacrifice and great reward. You have to decide what’s best for you. Are you willing to make the sacrifices required to be your own Boss, Girl?
Once you have decided that you are then you must read, The 7 Things You Must Do Before Starting Your Own Business by Nely Galan.