There are a few different societal perspectives that come to mind when I think about the lifestyle of an entrepreneur.
One that comes to mind is that it’s glamorous. They have lots of money and known for creating something super cool. However, I think that as startups become more mainstream and the stories of those business giants come to light, it’s becoming clear that the road to the top is far from linear for entrepreneurs.
So a perspective that’s coming around is the idea that the life of an entrepreneur is hard. They work crazy hours, never see their family, and are constantly haunted by the idea that things could turn upside down at any moment and their business will fail.
But what I don’t hear quite often is how versatile the life of an entrepreneur can be. The freedom to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle to create a life that makes you happy is probably one of my favorite things about it. The beauty of starting your own business is that you do in fact have the final say on what you want it to be like.
Have you ever stopped to think about why that amazing mom and pop Italian place up the street from your house hasn’t gotten bigger? Why they don’t have new ones popping up all over the city because of how delicious their lasagna is? And if you have considered that, did it ever occur to you that maybe they don’t want to?
Maybe the life they wanted aimed to make enough money to support themselves, know their community, and have time left over to spend with their family. Mega empire might not be on their list and that is totally fine! In fact, it’s beautiful that they have the ability to CHOOSE to stay small and work in a way that makes them happy.
My point here is that starting your own business can look like whatever you want it to look like. So I’m going to share a few ways that entrepreneurship in its various forms can be used to help you create the life you didn’t know you could have.
How many of you have heard of a side-hustle? My guess is all of you, but for those who might be hiding under a few rocks, a side hustle is in essence a mini-business.
It’s something that you might do before/after school or work that makes you some money to have some fun, go on trips, save or anything else one might do when they come into some extra cash. It can be as simple or complex as you’d like and could be just about anything.
I have already had a few of my own. In high school I would tutor math on some evenings or do makeup during prom season. Just things that leverage some skills you have or convenience you can offer.
The key here is that you have something that takes up the majority of your time and functions as the priority in your life whether that’s school or a full time job. But your side hustle can help to fill in some of those financial gaps that just gives you room to breathe easier and enjoy your life!
Fund Your Creative Outlet
Think about your friends who love to draw or paint and have beautiful pieces, but can’t always afford canvases? Or maybe you love to dance, but taking classes or joining a team is just too expensive?
The thing that you can’t afford to do can become a way to make the money! Put it this way: your creative talent is something that over the years you have paid money to get good at so it’s pretty reasonable to think that other people might pay you to help them get good at it too.
This one is similar to the side hustle category, but with a twist because people often let go of their hobbies that bring them joy because they might not have the money or the time. But if the thing that’s bringing you joy could also make you money, wouldn’t you make the time?
It could be as simple as creating a simple website to show people your art pieces and see if they might want to purchase some or letting your facebook friends know that you’re offering dance lessons for kids who might be needing some extra help outside of their team practice.
A few of these small things can get you the money for that master class you want to take or those new paint brushes you’ve had your eye on. Insert pretty much any product with paintings or any service with dancing, and you’ve found a way to keep doing what you love without breaking the bank!
Build Your Empire
Here, the emphasis is on the word “YOUR”. This is referring to people who want to make their business their primary source of income, but how you do that is so incredibly varied.
Back to the mom and pop Italian restaurant. Their version of an empire is having something close to home that gives hours their comfortable with, makes them happy and gives them something personal to leave their children. That’s their dream and if it makes them happy, then why change it?
You don’t have to fall in line with any pressures to become a massive brand if the life you want means you should stay small. Thousands of businesses choose to stay small because that’s how they like it. They open when they want, they know their customers, and they can provide quality without devoting their life to it.
But if you want to be like Oprah, your business will involve constantly thinking of ways to expand and grow your audience. The ability to create something from nothing and reach tons of people excites you. If that’s the case then it is yours to create, change, and grow. Your goal might be to effect massive change, make lots of money, or to become a household name and those are your goals to have.
Moral of the story is, you have a choice. In fact, you have lots of choices, but in order to make the most of all these entrepreneurial options, it’s important to actively take time and think about what kind of lifestyle is going to make you happy. It’s totally fine is you don’t yet know that life looks like as long as you’re taking time to figure it out or put some pieces together.
Maybe you want to be a school guidance counselor, but you’re a great typist so you’re going to do some transcription in the evenings to afford some cool trips. Or you really want to be a lawyer but there’s no way you’re giving up making candles because it’s your favorite de-stresser so you’re going to sell them on ETSY. Or maybe, you’re just ready to take the world by storm and build that mega empire you’ve always dreamed of.
All of the above and any combination in between are phenomenal choices. And what do they all have in common? Entrepreneurship made it possible, but hard work made it happen.