Being an entrepreneur is fun, if you're crazy.
When you're an entrepreneur, you get to make your own hours, push your ideas forward, and attempt to solve problems from a new and unique point of view.
When you're an entrepreneur, you also lose a lot of sleep.
When you're an entrepreneur, you get to mold a team that will work with you to blaze a trail into paths unseen and you get to reap the rewards of your labor.
When you're an entrepreneur, you also have to deal with investors.
You can also read the marketplace. You can deconstruct what you do, rebuild things from the ground up and become the master of your own destiny, reworking products and services to meet the demands of the marketplace.
When you're an entrepreneur, you also have to pay rent or a mortgage.
It takes a special kind of person to be an entrepreneur, and not everyone is cut out for it. It can be a mentally draining experience to be responsible for the paths (and income) of so many other people.
It's like the difference between being single and being a parent. When you're single, you can do what you want, you can live where you want, you can follow your dreams and see where the proverbial seas will take you. When you're a parent, you have to consider the needs of your family and especially of your kids. You need to plan for the long term and make sure you create an infrastructure that will thrive when you're there, but could succeed if you were gone.
Of course that last applies to your business as well. The goal of any entrepreneur is to create a product or service that scales beyond their individual talents. That's the difference between an entrepreneur and a consultant. Both can be visionary and both can have amazing ideas, but an entrepreneur will try to see them through and grow and expand a business to meet the needs of the marketplace -- whereas a consultant will do enough to get by, making a healthy living, and will rarely grow beyond those parameters. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being a consultant. It's kind of an "entrepreneur-light"!
The thing about being an entrepreneur is that you always need help. You need mentorship and you need guidance. You need to learn from the mistakes of the past in order to be successful in the future, and there are only limited resources available.
That is something we need to fix, and this column today is a plea for your help. If you've started a business in the past, you should remember that somewhere along the way someone helped you. Someone was at least a little bit selfless in lending you some time, and that helped you to succeed.
We are living in an age where we need more jobs, and we need to foster creativity and more entrepreneurial ventures. There are lots of ideas in the world, and plenty of people who can see these ideas through to success. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to be a resource for these people and to foster an environment of creativity and innovation. If you can help by providing a desk, making investments, or taking a lunch meeting with someone who wants to pick your brain... all of these are invaluable to someone who's trying to get a start. That meeting may only be 30 minutes to you, but it could spur infinite possibilities for the person on the other side of the table.
So remember that when you're an entrepreneur, things aren't always so easy.
But when you're an entrepreneur, things are almost always exciting and definitely worth the pain. At least, they are if you're a little bit crazy.