Being an entrepreneur is hard and the sacrifices you will make will grow as the company does. I’ve encountered a lot of losses on my road and I was having an interesting conversation this morning where this question was asked. ‘Was it worth the costs?’ I didn’t have an answer then, I just knew that when I thought about doing anything else, I got this really heavy feeling in my chest. So here are the four questions I think you should ask yourself to determine if the costs of being an entrepreneur are worth it to you.
Can your relationship survive the attempt?
Starting a business is one of the most stressful things you can put your relationship through so you need to know if you are comfortable with having to make the choice between your heart and your dream. Even in the best relationships the strain of financial support, the lack of attention you can give the relationship and the singular focus that you must have to run a business will affect your relationships and require you to have a breaking point. You have to decide what’s the most stress you are willing to accept asking your relationship to shoulder and be prepared to meet that limit because it will come.
What will you do to see your dream survive?
Will you work at McDonald’s to get seed money? Will you take on a full-time job if you can’t get traditional financing? Will you beg, borrow and generally throw your self-respect under the bus to get you dream off of the ground? If the answer is no, the costs are going to be too great for you.
Will you give up sleep and your social life?
There will come a time, at start-up and at lift-off, when things are so crazy that you have to schedule time to take a shower and your friends will start putting up ‘Have you seen this person’ posters. That comes with the job, if you have any inclination towards success at some point in time, you will disappear into your work. Can you do this without a second thought or are your friends and your social life something that you need to sustain you?
Why are you in this?
Is your goal to get rich or is it to see this thing through to the end? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most success stories are because the entrepreneur was completely committed almost to the point of fanaticism. If the goal is to get rich the cost may be too high because starting a business usually costs more than it makes the first go round. By the time you start turning a profit, you’ve invested heavily into the business. I know that the philosophy is to spend less than you make, but the reality is that the saying is the exception and not the rule.
I’ve recently been asked to take stock of everything running a business has cost me and for me the costs are definitely worth it. I’ve had experiences that I would have never had if I had played it safe. Having said that it has cost me dearly as well, cost that I will carry for a very long time and I would be doing my fellow entrepreneurs a disservice if I pretended that it didn’t. It was worth it for me, what about you?