I know that this is the age of entrepreneurship, that it’s “à la mode.” And hell, it is much easier to do with all the SaaS offered nowadays. For every service I enquire about, I find at least a dozen services. I am sure there are lots of other categories that I don’t even know because I don’t need such services (there goes my idea of building a platform for IT oriented SMEs to manage their project costs).
So why do people become entrepreneurs? For most, it’s getting rich quickly. With all the startups getting funded and others that fail but go unreported, it is an easy thing to hope for. It has become much more socially acceptable as well since governments all around the world are promoting entrepreneurship. It is clear that nobody will be able to employ all recent graduates, so “go ahead and start your own business, just don’t show up on our unemployed numbers,” right?
Anyway, I don’t really know why other people do it. But I know my reason. Better to talk about something I know rather than guessing about other things.
Well, money of course is on top of the list. It is now clear that even though I could earn my life comfortably as I climb the corporate ladder, I am not sure I will be able to make as much as I would like as fast as I would like in the corporate world. Not that I think that money is everything, but it simplifies your life for sure. I am not dreaming of private jets or islands or lavish parties—just the freedom of not thinking about money would summarize it quite well. (I might post another article in the future about my approach to money and how much is enough, that’s a huge subject on its own). I am not dreaming of a multi-million dollar idea that will revolutionize the world, and creating a successful business with comfortable turnover and margins is quite challenging itself. We will see about revolutionizing the world after that.
The second would be freedom. I am not deluded; I saw all the cartoons and read all the articles explaining how entrepreneurs are not free, and how they work longer hours than normal employees and trade their bosses for customers, suppliers and other partners but I think it’s worthwhile, in my case anyhow. Why?
Longer working hours. The thing is, I just can’t work half-heartedly and I am not scared to work my ass off. So as a result, even when I am just an employee, I work my ass off anyway. So, the question is, why not give all that effort for something I am building?
Trading bosses for customers. I get the point, but I am not convinced. When you are an employee, well, you are an employee… As an employee, I always made it clear if I thought something did not make sense (could be business-wise or simply ethically). Sometimes I managed to convince, sometimes not. I am pretty open to debate and to change my mind: if my approach is not correct, it’s just a new perspective to be had in my next decision making. But I saw that in most cases I couldn’t convince were the result of my bosses being dumb, incompetent, dishonest, unethical, or fearsome (of their own bosses). And even if your boss is responsible for his dumb decisions, most of the time it also takes a toll on your reputation as well. So I guess I just don’t want my name associated with decisions that I don’t endorse.
I will probably have to compromise with my clients over some subjects, but the ability to say, “that is wrong and I won’t do it” will be completely my decision to make. That seems to be risky, but I think that if I manage to survive for some time, it can even be a reputation builder.
I might have to eat my words and get back to the corporate world, but at least I will have tried. After saying all that, I must also admit that I have a “thing” for corporate world as well: for all its difficulties and games, the corporate world also has its advantages: at least for the roles I occupied which involved lots of cross departmental activity. There is something exhilarating about putting together competing interests, agendas, and egos around a project, battling through legal and compliance departments and making it a reality. I think if I succeed, I will miss that; if not, well, I’ll have to find ways to be more convincing.