You are working for someone and everything is okay, you are getting along with your boss and co-workers, then the bug hits you. You wake up to the idea in your head, a business idea, suddenly you start seeing opportunities everywhere you go. You spot opportunities all over, you get more and more fascinated by the entrepreneurship life.
You start spending lots of hours in front of the laptop, researching on your idea. You start talking about it to anyone who cares to listen. It consumes you, until after several years you decide to resign and invest your life-savings into your business.
The freedom that comes with being entrepreneur makes you regret why didn’t you actually leave your job earlier.
There is nothing more liberating than doing what you love. I always say those who are able to discover the reason why they were born are the luckiest people. If your business is your passion, your reason for being on earth, nothing is more blessing that living your purpose, living your business.
Being an entrepreneur is a hard life, it is not an easy life – long hours, slow paying customers, sometimes no customers, cash flow problems, and sometimes you get to a point where you ask yourself why am you are doing this in the first place.
Then as if someone is watching you, comes a job opportunity, a good post, a good salary. You look at that salary and think to yourself ”With this salary I can pay all my outstanding debts, my children’s school fees is behind, some of my friends are not even talking to me because I promised to pay them a while ago and I haven’t and some have even wrote me off as their friend. My house was almost repossessed, its as if the bank official already knows that he is earning his salary just to chase me for payment”.
If you are not an entrepreneur, you might think I am exaggerating; trust me, I am not. If you are an entrepreneur, you are already smiling about this because you can resonate with the story. It is as if this offer is made for you, you even say to yourself, “God does love his kids, this is a perfect offer”. You look at the monthly expenses and say to yourself, “The way I have been scrapping by in the last few months (sometimes even years) I can even save a lot of money with this salary”. The thing with being an entrepreneur is that you manage to live on such small amounts, amounts that you never thought you can live by. You get used to not seeing money.
The notion of going to buy clothes, gadgets and fancy things when you are a start-up entrepreneur is foreign.
The funny thing about such offers, is that you are not even worried about whether you can do the job or not, of course you can do the job, you are an entrepreneur, you can do almost everything! If you don’t how, you will figure it out,.Nothing is impossible for you as an entrepreneur. You will make a plan. In South Africa we say: “’n boer maak ‘n plan”- meaning a farmer always make a plan to always keep the farm operational.
Besides the challenges of the corporate job, what makes the prospects of going back less appetising is routine. You will be doing more or less the same job for a year or even more, everyday, with not much opportunity to be innovative or think differently.
The only other problem with going back to corporate is the 9 to 5. The fact that you have to sign in at a certain time and leave at a certain time, report to a boss, smile and be nice to everyone (its okay to be nice when you want to, but when you have to, it is something else).
The thought of going back is worse than death. You feel like you are betraying yourself. You feel like you are selling your soul for money.
A lot of entrepreneurs end up looking at their financial responsibilities and how the financial situation is making them irresponsible and then bow to the pressure of going back to corporate to earn a living. But they know deep down that they are selling out their souls.
I have seen entrepreneurs go back to corporate and pick themselves up and I am so happy for them.
The challenge with corporate is that it sucks you in, if you go back, it becomes a challenge to come out. You get into the comfort of a salary, you are paying off your debts, for the first time in a long time you are able to buy yourself clothes, not because there is an event coming and you have to look smart, but because you can.
You can plan for that holiday, budget for it and go on holiday. I mean the independence of being an entrepreneur can wait a bit, you need a break, you deserve it.
But for those who decide to stick it out and persevere as an entrepreneur, going back is as good as being dead. You rather look for other opportunities, you rather be a boer and make a plan. There has to be other things you can do.
*extract from my book: The Start-Up Revolution: Fit In or Stand Out