In this article, we asked several entrepreneurs, some being CEOs, how their lives have changed for them once they started on their entrepreneurial journeys.
Vivak, CEO of a Small Company
It’s 9.30am on a Wednesday morning and I’m at McDonald’s right now having a cuppa tea, working on my laptop, wearing 3/4 shorts.
My office is 10 minutes away – staff come to me to get my signature when needed (in Asia so often need to sign paper documents). I prefer to work here as I don’t get everyone disturbing me every 5 minutes.
Will get stuff done this morning (after writing this!), play a game of squash in a couple of hours, and then go home and work from home until dinner. That means chatting with my family while I churn out emails and catch up with my partners / managers over Skype / WhatsApp.
After dinner I’m then talking to investors from Europe and planning for tomorrow.
It’s definitely not all work, but I do value my time very highly. Squash must be very near me so I don’t spend time going and coming. I avoid meetings (typically take up 1.5 hours), prefer to talk over Skype (20 mins). It’s all about maximising my time.
A few years ago it wasn’t quite like this. A lot more of doing things myself, I was a lot less in control, and a lot less efficient. And it’s been a lot of hard work to get here.
Anyway, it’s stressful as the buck ends with me and a lot of hard work. Everything constantly on edge, but it’s great when things are going well. When things are not looking good, it’s mentally very tough. The freedom is priceless. My days as an investment banker, chained to the desk, are long gone
Stanley – “It’s a life without boundaries.”
It is a life of no boundaries, of creativity, passion, and putting your thoughts, to ideas, to goals, to actions, to achieve what you set out to to do and it is immensely satisfying.
I used to get laughed at, for leaving my safe and secure role at a multinational, with a 6 figure salary, doing the same thing I did every day, I was a number, doing numbers (I am a CA by profession….sorry used to be, I have my own CA now.
Now, as an an entrepreneur:
- I have a proper office, a home office, and a site office – yet I am hardly at all 3 as I love working in cafes and tasting different coffees and cuisines
- I am not office bound, I have meetings all around town, however, I keep them to a minimum, as I believe in a quick 10 min phone call, following a set agenda (far faster, less travel, and get more done)
- I avoid commute, everything, home, soccer grounds, office, cafes, malls are 8 mins away max, and I detest traffic
- When I set my mind to something, I make it happen, because I can, and in the most efficient way possible, using my power team
- I have amazing staff and contractors on call, who do all the detailed work, I set the vision, and the strategy, and walk away – then we use technology, whatsapp, laptop, apps wonderlist etc to project manage
- I am using all my talents, energy, creativity to the full, never a moment wasted, I watch no tv during the day till 11pm (ok I do watch sports, and the odd movie)
- I love business, achieving results, helping my team, working on my terms, as and when I want
- I pick the ventures I work on, the projects that I enjoy doing, the results are my scorecard, which I measure against goals. I don’t worry about the destination, the journey is what counts, and there is a lot of fun, laughter, and enjoyment along the way
- We achieve new things.
- I spend a lot of time with my 2 boys, my wife, and I still play competitive soccer league, coach my boys team, ensure that they are high achievers as well, and train them where needed – gives me pleasure that they excel at school and sports, and are taught to have their feet on the ground. I compete with them at impromptu speaking at home, as training grounds for them when they start their own ventures….
- We travel a lot, we enjoy nice things, going out, travelling….I don’t watch pennies, as I used to when I was an employee…..am doing better than I ever thought I would be
- All in all, I love what I do, I am an entrepreneur.
I have the privilege to be able to speak to a lot of people every year about business and how to start one. My favorite question is always based around the concept of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. What’s that life like? What do i need to do?
If you’re considering an “entrepreneur” lifestyle be sure that you have a thorough and clear understanding of its true meaning before you ever dive in. Too many people graduate from business school with the wide-eyed expectation of being a billionaire entrepreneur with no idea of what it really takes, the time, effort and mindset. It can’t be that hard, right?
Most have absolutely no idea what it means.
The essentials are those things that they don’t teach you at B-School. It’s a mindset. Believe me there is a reason that nearly 90% of all startups every year are broke within two years. Here are seven foundational mindsets, of many, that i believe you must embrace to survive and thrive as an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur must ….
SACRIFICE: You’re on your own in most cases. You have no safety net. You have no sales staff. You have no marketing team. You have no income, no 401-K, no health insurance. Sometimes you won’t have a paycheck. Sometimes you’ll have to decide if you want to make payroll or pay yourself. It’s all up to you. So how bad do you want it?
FAITH: If you don’t have an unfailing belief in yourself, then you may be very alone and you’ve lost. You must believe in yourself, even when it feels like no one else on the planet believes in you. You must believe in you and your vision. Bankers like that. Spouses like that. Investors love that. Employees model that. There is always that bell weather moment in an entrepreneur’s life where you will realize that you’ve done enough planning and research and its now time to simply take a deep breath and to step out in faith. Are you ready to do that?
WORK ETHIC: Most successful entrepreneurs are successful entrepreneurs, because they were willing to just work hard and with extreme focus. They adopted the idea that the job isn’t done until it’s done right! If you can do it by sitting in a coffee shop and answering emails all day then that’s ok i suppose. But it’s usually not the case. Remember, the world does not owe you a thing. You are going to have to work for it.
COMMITMENT: Whatever your endeavor, you must be committed to it and be willing to do anything to achieve your vision. Anything. And that means that you must be committed to implementing and if necessary improving the vision. You must be willing and flexible to change and then be committed to the new and improved vision. Investors, bankers, advisors, partners and employees will be watching to see how committed you are and how committed you remain when the going gets tough and that can mean the difference between a long or a short business life span.
RISK: Being an entrepreneur is knowing and understanding that there is always a RISK. You must be mentally prepared to take on these risks and their consequences, both good and bad. So, slow down a bit, think things through. Thoroughly understand all consequences, then move forward.
ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES and HAVE A THICK SKIN: You will get criticized. You will be laughed at. You will be back stabbed. People will lie to you and talk behind your back. And, you’ll also learn who your friends really are and aren’t. If you let these things tend to bother you, then don’t become an entrepreneur. You must persevere, always with the vision and end result in mind.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! Whatever you do, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you must never give up. No matter what happens you must keep your dream alive. Because when you do, and when you begin to win and then perpetuate the momentum and begin to make a difference, and grow the possibilities, then there is nothing like it on earth. it’s intoxicating. It’s addictive. You go from, “I CAN DO THIS!” to “I DID IT!” Yes, you did! YOU DID IT, and you’ll want to do it again.
Should you become an entrepreneur?
Answer the following questions:
I want to grow personally, in the ways I could not before.
I want to experience new things, which I did not experience before.
I want to build new cool things, which I could not build before.
I want to be challenged in different and new ways, which I was not challenged before.
And yes I want to be successful, but more I want to become an inspiration for others than rich. To have money is kind of a sign of successful entrepreneur, but true success is more complex than just the money.
I see it more like another part of my life, another path of my journey until I will want to be someone else until I will play another game, where I would take some new role again.
If you answered “yes” to the majority of questions above, then the gate open to entrepreneurship is wide open for you.