When Entrepreneurship Became the Cool Thing to Do, Not the Right Thing
At a very young age (I'm talking single digits), if I wasn't writing and illustrating my own books, I was creating lesson plans for my students who attended class regularly, promoting a last minute concert that was going to start in five minutes (of which I was the performer, set designer, and stylist), and conducting investigative interviews with my cassette player/recorder. Needless to say, I was doing all this while being a baker who frequently passed out free samples of new recipes to potential clients.
My readers, students, attendees, interviewees, and clients at the time was my immediate family. My brick and mortar, classroom, venue, office, and industrial kitchen at the time was the house I grew up in.
Being an entertainer, educator, and creator was something that always came naturally to me. And being an entrepreneur who wears many hats was what I always aspired to be, without knowing at the time that there was a proper term for that path - entrepreneurship.
Throughout the course of my life I have always attempted various new ideas and had a busy schedule with a long list of to-do's for these ideas, even in the midst of grade school, college, and traditional jobs. Developing my entrepreneurial skillset and character was what I had been doing without that necessarily being the intention. It was just something I enjoyed.
Somewhere in the last few years, being your own boss became the cool thing to do. And social media aided in shaping the misconception of what that looked like. Working from home, running your own business, creating your own schedule, not having to clock in or clock out on someone else's watch.
But... that's the thing. Even though entrepreneurs may not have the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, it's typically because their work schedule is 24/7.
There is a science to being able to work from home. And being your own boss, your own accountability, is a work of art in itself.
Entrepreneurship, honestly, isn't for everybody.
I think, for millennials especially, this trend of being your own boss got to the point where it was almost an embarrassment or to a point failure if you worked for someone else and didn't work "independently". But I think the pickle in that situation is the fact that traditional jobs haven't evolved with times (which is a whole new blog post in itself).
There's absolutely nothing wrong with working for someone else if the company shares the same values as you do, and allows you to exercise your passions.
I have seen quite a handful of people around me chase entrepreneurship, failing to realize what that actually requires you to do and become. They became so caught up in this fantasy of turning their hobby or strength (not expertise) into their own business, that the basic knowledge and experience (which can arguably be more important than someone teaching you "Business 101") of running your own business didn't even come into play.
Regardless of always having had the entrepreneurial spirit myself, I also had my own misconceptions of entrepreneurship. There was a time, years ago, where I automatically correlated a business owner with riches. When truth be told, some business owners don't make any income off their business. Some are even constantly in debt, frequently playing catch up.
Having attempted little ideas and concepts here and there, losing some money and "failing" at them definitely gave me a sense of business ownership. Needing to expand my team because I couldn't do everything myself but in turn having to consider their well-being and time investment also helped in my learning.
Truth is... I don't mind working for someone else as long as it aligns with my long-term goals. I am comfortable being "financially safe" while I keep pursuing my own ventures because I have never doubted that one day I'd be a full-time entrepreneur.
If you are chasing entrepreneurship because the lifestyle seems appealing to you, chances are that it's going to sober you up pretty quick when you decide to go for it.
Pursuing your passion is the cool thing to do. Whatever that may look like.