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Are you chasing entrepreneurship for the right reasons?

The prospect of personal triumph, increased flexibility and only having to answer to oneself are just a few reasons entrepreneurship is so desirable... but if you're chasing the dream for the wrong reasons, you have an uphill battle on your hands.

by Anna Hume
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Picture this entrepreneurial oasis: You wake up at 10am, put on your slippers and walk downstairs to the comfort of your own living room, (which happens to double as your office.)

After some coffee and a restful breakfast, you settle in on your couch, refreshed and ready to start the workday at your own company, on your own terms. You have no boss to answer to, no gridlocked traffic to sit in and no nosy coworker to inquire about your weekend.

Suddenly, this autonomous oasis is interrupted by a blaring alarm. It is 8am, you’re disheveled and sleep deprived, and already running late for your corporate job. You rush out of bed, leaving dreams of a self-made fortune behind you.

It’s a no-brainer.

With these drastically juxtaposed scenarios, it’s easy to understand why anybody would leave a monotonous nine-to-five job to pursue an idea of their own. The prospect of personal triumph, increased flexibility and only having to answer to oneself are only a few reasons entrepreneurship is so desirable.

To complicate matters, success stories are perpetuated by countless movies, TV shows and podcasts that highlight rags-to-riches tales of a simple idea turning into a billion-dollar company (I’m looking at you, Zuckerberg).

The grass is always greener.

However, as anybody who has tried it can attest, starting your own business isn’t always as glamorous as it may appear. For every victory, there are tales of tireless failure (ninety percent of startups, to be exact). With leisurely mornings come inevitable sleepless nights. And with novel opportunity comes newfound pressure and anxiety.

In fact, it has been proven that entrepreneurs are more likely to experience stress-induced mental health issues than those working for an external company. With these less romanticized factors in mind, it is crucial for any prospective self-starter to examine whether they have the reasoning and resilience to start a business of their own.

Be the change you wish to see.

As much as it sounds like a stereotypical beauty pageant answer, the best entrepreneurs strive to fix a problem they see in the world. Your idea should aim to solve an unmet external need rather than simply satiate internal desires.

When the founder of LexION, Elle Kaplan, lost her father, she watched her mother tirelessly struggle with tying up his finances. The financial advisers she dealt with seemed unethical and intentionally vague and Elle realized how many other women must be in this stressful situation. This gave her the idea to start an asset firm specifically aiming to help women and families sort out their finances.

Wanting to better the world around you is a sound, sustainable reason to take a risk on entrepreneurship. This “bigger-than-yourself” mentality will keep you going even through the most arduous stages of startup development.

It’s okay to make a change for you.

You may simply feel stuck or uninspired in your current job situation and be seeking a new sense of excitement or challenge. seventy-to-eighty percent of people think about quitting their day job to do something more personally fulfilling.

As an entrepreneur, you are not only developing a company, but you are also cultivating a new side of yourself and growing in ways that wouldn’t be attainable in a different situation. You will be required to fill roles you’ve never been cast in and face daily obstacles you aren’t familiar with. Exposing yourself to unexplored scenarios will allow you to sharpen your skills and fine tune your leadership style. When rising to the occasion of entrepreneurial demands, you may discover qualities in yourself that you never knew you embodied.

Entrepreneurial success has been linked to high levels of self-actualization, or contentment with how one’s life has turned out. If you are seeking personal empowerment and growth, starting a business may be the correct path to lead you closer to yourself.

Know your worth.

There is a myriad of reasons (of both good and questionable authenticity) to start a business, but when it comes down to it, attitude is everything. Unwavering belief in your idea (and yourself) is as good a reason as any to pursue entrepreneurship.

Sometimes it’s hard to measure your own motivation objectively, and that’s where we come in. Awareness of your strengths and your blind-spots will help you develop a suitable and sustainable business plan and hire a cohesive team around you. The more insight you have on your own particular motivators, the more confidence you can cultivate in your entrepreneurial style.

Sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it?

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