The lure of entrepreneurship is something that, for many of us, is unavoidable. Those who know that this life is their destiny crave freedom more than security, the want options more than comfort and they desire control over direction. So much has been said to glorify and glamorize the world of entrepreneurship.
Admittedly, there is a lot to fawn over. Aside from having to catch a rare early flight, I never wake up by an alarm. My schedule is mine to create. That’s never the way it begins in business, but the beauty of running your own show is that you have the option and the freedom to dream, design and create the life- and schedule- that you desire. There was a long period of time that we valued extensive travel, and we built our business and schedule around that. Now that we have two teenagers and a ten-year-old, we have shifted our values and our vision to creating the most quality time with them as we bond in our relationships, prepare them for their future and make sure that we focus on the most important thing in our lives- our family.
That all sounds peachy, doesn’t it? That’s what all of the wantrepreneurs- a joking term for employees that want to be entrepreneurs- focus on as they dream out their lives. But often, in chasing their dreams, they overlook the darker side of entrepreneurship. The health issues.
Don’t let any of the images of these business owners on their yachts and chilling at the beach fool you. The world of entrepreneurship is closely tied to some potentially damaging health issues.
It all starts out so innocently. And passionately. Because entrepreneurs generally enjoy the work that they do, they actually like to work. That’s something that most of the American population crave. A poll conducted by Gallup found that 85% of employees are unhappy in their jobs. 85 percent! So when you are able to create a business where you enjoy the work, it’s not a stretch to want to work more. And often it’s not just for the money. It’s because of human nature- we want to be engaged in what we are interested in. That’s why so many employees tell me they are dying a very slow death- they get paid well but are disengaged and bored with their work.
So when they finally get out of their to do their own thing, the excitement of loving your work can tend to take over. Multiple studies have shown that entrepreneurs work sixty three percent longer than employees do. So it’s not a surprise to hear that, not only are they more engaged with their work, but they also earn more income. In Thomas Stanley’s book The Millionaire Next Door, he showed that seventy five percent of millionaires were self employed yet only twenty five percent of the population were self employed. Essentially, it’s really difficult to become a millionaire as an employee and you have a much greater percentage of reaching that status as an entrepreneur.
This world sounds pretty sweet right about now, doesn’t it? Are you ready to go tell your boss to go pound sand and go get your life of freedom? I can relate. I had that moment too. But as I ran head first into this world, there were things that nobody told me about what I was rushing into. And who would tell me, anyway? Nobody I knew was really in this world. All I knew was that I was so tired of not having control of my time and being paid a low wage with no options to increase it that I just needed to get out without worrying about the downsides. Part of me is glad that I didn’t know. Maybe, just maybe, it would have scared me off. Or caused me to pause. In full disclosure, I would take all of the health challenges that came with this life for the tradeoff that we made six days a week and twice on Sunday. But looking back, it wouldn’t have hurt to be more prepared.
So as we dive into this theme of Entrepreneurial Health this week, this will not only be beneficial to the newcomers but to the veterans as well. In our mastermind, the conversations and struggles are often around how we navigate the mental challenges of the work we do. The loneliness, the isolation, the overthinking, the sleep issues and the anxiety. The mental health as well as the physical health.