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Why I Don’t Want to Be an Entrepreneur

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.

crap.

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:

  1. Finding clients.
  2. Negotiating prices.
  3. Handling clients who don’t pay.
  4. Keeping records.
  5. Doing taxes (or at least getting together all our records at tax time and organized enough that someone else can do them).
  6. Paying taxes.
  7. 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.


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Friday Finance Followers – Spring is in the Air Edition | Suburban Dollar
April 2, 2010 at 8:54 am

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Mrs. Money April 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I am GLAD this is not an April Fool’s Day joke!

Sometimes I dream of being an entrepreneur, other times it scares the pants off me. :/
.-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..Who Handles Your Finances? =-.

Ryan April 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Excellent observations. I love being an entrepreneur, but there are certainly downsides to it. There will always be aspects of my small businesses that I love, and other parts I would just as soon not deal with. (I guess you take the good with the bad!)

But overall, I love it. I love knowing that something I created has had an impact on other people and that the money I earn comes directly from the work I put into my sites. There is a lot of satisfaction in that. :)
.-= Ryan´s last blog ..Discover Bank Review =-.

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach April 2, 2010 at 10:10 am

I’ve been an entrepreneur now since 1997…wouldn’t change it for anything. Hate the corporate politics that are so rampant these days….
.-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..A Secret Expert Glimpse Into PROFITABLE April Fools Day Postings (ie, how to write one) =-.

Mr Credit Card April 3, 2010 at 12:29 am

If you were to ask me, there is a difference between having your own business and being a true entrepreneur.

A true entrepreneur (by my definition) is someone who finds a problem that a market is not solving, and builds a business around solving that problem and provides something unique in the marketplace. Or they come up with some business that totally changes the industry.

So the person who started facebook or youtube (they were entrepreneurs). Markus Find, the owner of Plenty of Fish, IMO is an entrepreneur because he came up with a new business model in the online dating world.

Those who simply “blog something that everyone already blogs about”, or those who decide to be “real estate investors”, I do not really consider that entrepreneurship. Rather, they decided to “own their own business”.

But having said that, you can still be an entrepreneur working for a big company (depending on the culture). Some companies prize employees with that spirit and encourage new ideas and give responsibilities to such people. And the collorary is that you can have a business, yet still not be an entrepreneur.
.-= Mr Credit Card´s last blog ..Reward Travel And Credit Card News Today =-.

eemusings April 27, 2010 at 5:41 am

I dunno. I don’t think I have the personality for it. I’m not really an ideas person as such; I’m better at implementing things, a doer, if you like. I do some work on the side, and even though I have a regular job and income, there is nothing worse than waiting for invoices to be paid.
.-= eemusings´s last blog ..Meme Monday =-.

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