Seeing this image posted on Facebook (hat-tip to Funders & Founders) got me thinking about how many so-called entrepreneurs are really just busy fools. If the sentiments and emotions expressed in this cartoon look all too familiar to you, the chances are you’re not an entrepreneur at all. In fact, the chances are you’re not even really in business.
I hear so much nonsense talked about how “entrepreneurs” end up having to work all the hours god sends just to keep their new venture going. While I agree that starting up a new business is hard work, and it can be very time-consuming, if you are working stupidly-long hours at it, then you’re really not doing it right. You see, real entrepreneurs plan the necessary resources to achieve their objectives – they don’t kid themselves that a business that takes all their time and doesn’t pay them enough money is a viable operation. They may not be taking any money out in the early stages, but they do know when they will be able to. And they know when they will need new staff, to avoid the doing-the-accounts-at-midnight thing so beloved of would-be entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs recognise that doing the accounts themselves is a very poor use of time – especially time that they would like to be spending relaxing with family and friends.
The term “entrepreneur” means, literally, someone who undertakes an enterprise. And I would question whether a one-man-band business is really an enterprise, where the owner is trying to juggle all the tasks that running an effective business requires – while somehow also squeezing in the bit that they are actually brilliant at and love to do. I was once told that the only thing a real entrepreneur should be doing is the thing that only they can do – everything else gets delegated. That may not be practical for a great many startup businesses, but if you haven’t thought about freeing up your time to do the stuff where you add most value, then consider that you may not have a business, more a lifestyle.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. If the work you do creates a lifestyle that you love, allowing you to work the hours you want, doing your own thing, then go for it. Just please don’t kid yourself that you’re an entrepreneur!
PS: if it makes you feel any better, right now, my own business is definitely a lifestyle, not an enterprise. And that’s great – when I’m ready to add the necessary to turn it into a business, I’ll do that. For now it’s OK as it is – I’ve been an entrepreneur in the past, and doubtless I shall be one again, just not right now.
If this article has got you thinking, and you would like to follow up on the ideas and see how you can take control of your busyness and your time, let's have a chat!