Paying Dues is Not Necessary, But Hard Work Is!

by Michael Simmons on Jun 26, 2010

I never liked the idea of starting at the bottom of a hierarchy, doing grunt work, and incrementally getting more money and freedom, as I did my job well and played the proper politics. That’s partially why I’m an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship allows you the freedom to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, and have “unlimited” earning potential.

However, here’s the reality:

  1. Most entrepreneurs spend more time working for themselves than they ever would for their boss.
  2. Being a successful entrepreneur often requires you to work harder (stuff that’s outside of your comfort zone) than you ever would for someone else.

When you work for someone else, you’re given a job description and an estimate of how much you’ll have to work on a weekly basis. Of course, you may have to work more hours sometimes and do stuff out of your job description, but a rough ceiling is set.

When you’re an entrepreneur, there is no ceiling. You’re responsible for 100% of the result. On the other hand, you have the freedom to do whatever it takes to achieve that result. However, very often, what’s required is gaining new skill sets, going outside your comfort zone, spending your own money, and doing whatever else it takes.

This reality is very different from the one that’s painted in the media. I used to think that entrepreneurship was only about doing what I enjoyed 100% of the time, not having any challenges, and become rich overnight.

The problem was thatn when I tried to live the picture that the media painted, it didn’t work very well. I found myself resisting the hard work that would lead to growth, which made me feel guilty. It also meant that the business wasn’t growing, which meant we amassed tens of thousands in bad debt.

When I switched my paradigm away from purely passion to passion and purpose, my life completely changed personally and professionally. It’s a much harder life to live, but completely worth it in my mind.

I’ve seen many people stop being entrepreneurs because they are running into challenges, which is not fitting in with their paradigm of “living the dream effortlessly”. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that entrepreneurship has challenge after challenge and a great entrepreneur is able to constantly confront those challenges and recontextualize them as opportunities.

A great book you may want to check out is the War of Art.


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I'm the co-founder of Empact, one of the leading entrepreneurship education organizations in the world. I'm obsessed with understanding how we all can lead meaningful lives that have a positive social impact. I love probing into the truth of how we experience life. I believe that challenges are what make us grow the most, and I openly share my experiences. Continue reading…