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Is being an entrepreneur really a lifestyle?

With all the sacrifices, the missing birthdays, the lack of time with family and friends, etc it is very hard for me to make being an entrepreneur a job description. What do you all think?

9 Replies

Tim Wat
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Tim Wat Advisor
Adjunct Professor at California State University, East Bay
There are significant semantic differences between 1) lifestyle, 2) job, and 3) vocation. I would suggest entrepreneurship is more along the lines of #3, than 1 or 2.

Lifestyle smacks (to me) of a particular level of material consumption, even though the bare term might be defined as "way of living or doing things". Your lifestyle can change...or be changed because of forces outside one's control.

Job is a temporal practical outworking of a paid role, and has little to do with passions, real purpose or calling.

Which brings me to vocation. The root of the word has to do with "calling" - and I believe humans are called to fulfill a purpose. This deep underlying purpose drives us despite a particular lifestyle, or the job I may or may not have at present.

A true entrepreneur discovers they have it in the blood - they are driven to create ex nihilo, to hazard the chaos and uncertainty and unreasonable risk and mounting odds against success or even finding sufficient customer validation or build an MVP. They must because it is hammered into them like purpose and passion and vision.

The sacrifices you mention are all real. And they hurt. When a founder tells me, "It's been really...hard", I know in that little pregnant pause how hard it has really been. And until you've really been there, you can't really understand. But once you've shared in that kind of "hard", that level of sacrifice and risk, it's kind of bonding and brotherhood.

It's a calling. Sorry to wax poetic on this one. Hope this makes some sense.
Stephen G. Barr
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Stephen G. Barr Advisor
Professional Ski Instructor, USSA Masters Racer, Advisor @ World Pro Ski Tour
I failed miseraby twice at married life while owning several businesses. It was a choice I made and I've been single by choice now for the past 30 years. Overall, I am happy with my decision but after a long day fighting the good fight at work I sure didn't want to battle at home too! I enjoy the freedom to make unilateral decisions.
Shel Horowitz: Shel AT GreenAndProfitable com
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I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing
You should control your business, not the other way around. I like a lot of freedom, and that's part of why I'm not at all tempted by a "real job." Even with the modest income my business has been bringing me thus far, I usually manage about six weeks of vacation (spread through the year), plus numerous individual days off to attend a conference or drive two hours to see my son perform. I also take lots of time off during the day. I start early, work late, and take breaks during the day to go hiking or biking, share a meal with my wife, harvest the garden, etc.

Remember that money is not an end but a means to an end. If I'm a smart shopper and can take a vacation for 1/4 what it might cost you, that means I only have to bring in 1/4 as much disposable income to enjoy that vacation. In March, I did a 9-day organized trip to China. Cost us $1500 each including airfare from NYC, three internal flights, all lodging, and most of our meals. This summer, we did a 20-day road trip in Quebec. I haven't added everything up, but I think the total cost for the two of us was somewhere in the $1200-$1500 range. I can't imagine a corporate job being so understanding about my wanderlust ;-).
Chicke Fitzgerald
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Chicke Fitzgerald Entrepreneur • Advisor
Game Changing Strategist, Advisor & Technologist | Board Candidate | Zigging where others Zag
It has been said that entrepreneurs are the only ones that work 80 hours so that they don't have to work 40 hours for someone else. True story.

But I choose to volunteer in the school store every Monday afternoon and to go to the mom's prayer group at school every other Thursday and to not miss parent/teacher conferences and to always go to his games. As an entrepreneur I am in charge of my schedule and if there is work that remains (there always is), then I am up at midnight working on a presentation or a proposal or a contract or a product requirements document. That is the name of the game.

But it is my game. And I love it. This is my 3rd startup on my own. I wouldn't change a thing.
Rod Abbamonte
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Rod Abbamonte Advisor
Co Founder at STARTREK / @startupHunter / @startupWay / @CoFounderFound / @GOcapital / @startupClub / @lastminute
It's not a lifestyle but a way of life.
K. Alan Robbins
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K. Alan Robbins Entrepreneur
Head Moose at Moose WorldWide Digital
If it's "work" then you're not doing it right. I love what I do, and am happy to do it 12 hours a day. That's what not having a "real job" is all about.
Suresh Kumar Neti
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Software Outsourcing Advisor | Custom Software & Product Development
Everyone has a choice to do what they want to do. Entrepreneurs do what they like, in a hope to achieve something in the future, which is not otherwise possible (without being an entrepreneur). AsChicke Fitzgeraldhas rightly mentioned above, you can certainly do things that you like and not necessarily 'sacrifice' everything.
CHRIS YONKER
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CHRIS YONKER Entrepreneur
EXECUTIVE PERFORMANCE COACH ●Author ●Speaker ● Specializing in Conscious, Purpose-Driven Leadership
I built a multi-six figure consulting business while still employed and managing a 10 million dollar territory. I did all this and still slept 7-8 hours a night, worked out, spend time with my daughter and wife . My perspective is we get one life and we should live it in a way that is aligned with what brings joy. At then end of your life what do you want to look back on and see? How would you have liked to live? The bottomline is, you can create a life that is built by design and not default. You can spend time with your family AND build a business AND take care of yourself. But first, you must believe this is a possibility.
Sebastien Mirolo
0
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Sebastien Mirolo Entrepreneur
Subscription Product Engineering
A lifestyle? No.
A state of mind? Yes.

Once you realize that a job is only one of the multiple ways to earn a living, you are already one step to the path of entrepreneurship.
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