What Nobody Told Me About Becoming an Entrepreneur

I recently decided after more than 10 years of working for many different companies in different roles that it was time to take a leap of faith on myself and start my own company, building a career out of my passion for food and marketing.

I had read endless articles on entrepreneurs, building a business, and personal success stories, but I'm learning there is so much I didn't know. Here are 5 things nobody told me:

1. My dreams are bigger, more ambitious, and more alive than I've ever known.

It's an odd thing starting your own company. You're not only building a business you're building a life. I really am capable of earning more by working more or working when I want with who I want (for the most part). I can daydream about spending next summer finding cafes in Japan for conference calls while on vacation or starting my days at 6am so I can get home when I want. No one knows how silly or realistic all of it is and that's the point.

2. You never want to stop working.

I had heard over and over again that when you have your own business you never really stopped working. Sure, I get that. But I didn't expect to feel torn away when I had to step away from my computer at certain times. The motivation is so freeing but it can also suck. 

I've been at dinner parties or out with friends and have realized that I haven't actually heard anything anyone has said because I've been going over the million things I still have to do before the end of the day. You never check out because you can't but also because you are more invested than you ever have been in anything before. (Professionally or course.)

3. Your relationships change.

I talk a lot of business with my partner, family, and friends. I've connected on a deeper level with some of them compared to before because they understand, are invested, or deeply rooted in your success while with others you feel a bit more distant because you're both living in two completely different worlds. 

4. It's lonely.

I was trying to describe this to a friend recently. Usually, when you get a new job you have someone there to say 'my first year was hard' or give you an idea of how the culture will be, stuff like that. But nobody can do this in this case. Even other entrepreneurs can only relate so much, they can't tell you if you'll be a success or how to be successful and 90% of the time their business is pretty different than yours anyway! 

You're forging your own path. You've basically decided to become a business explorer of a new world. 

5. So. Many. Feelings.

I don't even know where to start, it's emotion overload 90% of the day. Taking a leap of faith on yourself is thrilling, terrifying, amazing, scary, beautiful, overwhelming, and such a source of pride and self-doubt. I don't know how many times a day I bounce between feeling like Beyonce before going back to thinking I have no idea what I'm doing. If you could read the texts and transcripts from my conversations with the people in my life you'd think I spend all of my time drunk but it's just that it's such an avalanche of feelings you want to unload, share, and describe that you can't. You basically have given birth to a baby that most of the world doesn't understand and you want to post daily photos capturing every small step.

Ultimately with your business, there is no promise of anything. No job reviews, no raises, no knowing, no ensured success. I guess the only exception is that you hope that you can know you'll have no regrets.

Lindsay O'DonnellComment