Writing this blog means that I get a lot of pitches, some financial, some for freelancers, and some for entrepreneurs. When I see the word “entrepreneur” in a subject heading or the first few lines of an e-mail, I usually have the following sequence of thoughts:
I wouldn’t want to be an entrepreneur.
Wait, wait I run a blog & a consulting business. I am an entrepreneur.
I would guess that at least half of small business owners/entrepreneurs find themselves thinking the same thing now and then.
Reasons Why We Don’t Want to Be Entrepreneurs
It’s pretty simple:
- Finding clients.
- Negotiating prices.
- Handling clients who don’t pay.
- Keeping records.
- Doing taxes (or at least getting together all our records at tax time and organized enough that someone else can do them).
- Paying taxes.
- Doing it all over again.
So Why Are We Entrepreneurs?
The one thing that was missing from that list was the work. Enjoying the work is the reason that entrepreneurs like us started our businesses in the first place. I love a smooth blog migration and I even enjoy the challenge of one that goes slightly awry. Helping people learn to use WordPress can be fun and it’s often rewarding to see how they build up from those basics to create their own awesome sites.
Other entrepreneurs I know have built successful websites and enjoy the writing or other aspects of running sites. I have an entrepreneurial coworker who has a small costume design business. Fortunately for her, it’s a partnership so she avoids some of the business responsibilities.
All of us, even if we don’t always love the nitty-gritty, love the overall scope of the work. (It doesn’t hurt that it pays either.) It’s likely that we got into our work in the first place because we were doing it as a hobby and it just grew. We are accidental entrepreneurs.
What About the Others?
There’s another type of entrepreneur—the intentional entrepreneur. For whatever reason, this person has decided to start a business. Maybe they want to make their own schedule. Maybe they want income in addition to another job. Maybe they like being the boss. Maybe they’ve got so much get-up-and-go that it’s just natural.
Normally these people have an idea and a vision, but they’re as driven by being an entrepreneur as they are by their company. If the one company fails, they’re just as likely to pick up and start a new company as to go back to a 9-to-5.
These people may not love the things that we accidental entrepreneurs dislike, but they view them as a package rather than unpleasant add-ons.
Which Is Better?
Is it better to be an accidental or intentional entrepreneur? It seems to me like neither’s better but that intentional entrepreneurs may be happier about the whole package. On the other hand, some accidental entrepreneurs are able to enjoy the small picture day-to-day stuff better (like I do) because that’s why we started it in the first place.
Like in any job, there’s plenty that makes us happy and plenty that makes us miserable.
I think the one upside to being an accidental entrepreneur is that you’ve got a disposition which means you can be happy in a 9-to-5 workplace as well, so long as the work is engaging. In a good workplace, with interesting work, the inherent negatives balance out with the negative sides of entrepreneurship.
The upside to being an intentional entrepreneur? You’re better-suited for the long run. In the end, it might be you hiring on the accidentals to do the work while you manage the business.
This wasn’t an April Fool’s day post despite the title, though I considered writing an April Fool’s day post on the subject and rejected it in favor of thoughtful consideration. Nor is it solid and fact-filled research, just observations over the last few years.