4 answers

What are the pros and cons of becoming an entrepreneur?

Updated New York, New York

I want to know everything about this career before I fully invest into it. I love the aspect of business, but I hate working for somebody. #entrepreneurship #entrepreneur #ceo #startups

4 answers

(Cos) Ofer’s Answer

Updated Mountain View, California

Hmm, which aspect of the business do you love? What career are you considering?

Some people are "serial entrepreneurs" in that they keep starting new companies, moving on from the previous one to the next every few years. Others are "entrepreneurs" in that they help other people start companies.

For the first kind, you don't need to decide whether to become "an entrepreneur", you just need to start a business... and to do that, you need to be very motivated about doing a particular thing. Maybe you have an idea you're passionate about that you think can make money but you don't see anyone doing it, or doing it right. Maybe you see something other people are making money at that you think you'd really enjoy and be very good at and you think you can succeed at it on your own. Whatever it is, I'd say not to think of it in terms of do you want to be an entrepreneur? Instead, think of it in terms of how much do you want to do this particular thing, the thing you're going to go into business in or start a company for?

Be prepared for it to be very stressful at times. Be prepared to make yourself work long hours for months at a time, and maybe not take any vacation for a few years. Be prepared to have to do a lot of tasks you may find frustrating. But if you're really into the product, idea, or business you're building, all of that can be exhilarating and satisfying.

Once you've been through that process, then you'll know whether you want to do it again. And then maybe you can decide you want to be an entrepreneur repeatedly. But start the first time with something you very much want to do.

Alex’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

Hi Lekwan,

Excellent question! This is an incredibly relevant one given more people are opting for DIY businesses.

PROS: - The opportunity to solve a problem (big or small): Most businesses exist to solve a problem & make money (whether it's for-profit or non-profit). I helped start a music licensing firm called RightsFlow before we were acquired by YouTube. We recognized a "gap" in the music business and decided to fill it by being a licensing agent for record labels. The "problem" can be framed in any light. Much like tech companies, app builders, Retail outlets and restaurants solve a problem and serve a need (deliver clothes/goods/food to patrons) on a local level. There's intrinsic, special value there that can't be summed up. - Be your own boss / see the direct fruits of your efforts: Calling the shots and making decisions are obvious advantages, though Vivian nailed it with her comments. You're really working for the business as opposed to another person. - Set your own schedule: If you choose to run a business separate from your day job (as many entrepreneurs choose to at the outset), you gain flexibility in scheduling around your life. It becomes a much bigger perk as you grow older and additional responsibilities hit (such as family obligations).

CONS - Resource considerations: Entrepreneurs often contribute more than an average 9-to-5 employee, sometimes working 60-70 hour weeks in the early throes of business. Time spent at work can't be spent elsewhere. Financial considerations can also dwarf many other issues. - Self-Imposed Inertia: Lao-Tzu phrased it best: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Many potential entrepreneurs lose out by never starting. Getting over those first hurdles (creating an opportunity, determining how you'll fund it, getting your first customers) prevents more entrepreneurs from sticking with it.

Hope that helps! Best of luck and don't be afraid to think and act big! -Alex

Vivian’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Lekwan,

That's a great question. You probably hear people talking about being entrepreneurs and it's like, what does that even mean right? My interpretation of what being an entrepreneurs is being your own boss, having an idea that you plan to execute and working towards that goal. However, most entrepreneurs I know don't start out as an entrepreneur.

Most of us work 9-5 (our day jobs) and then work on side projects/startups (our night jobs). You mention you didn't want to work for somebody, which is a great goal. However, realize being an entrepreneur means you will be have a social facing life. Your success could mean that someone you know introduced you to someone who either invests in your idea, mentors you towards your idea, and/or introduces you to someone else who can help. It's a social life, so even if you don't work with someone, you will, in some sense, work with everyone. I hope that helps! :D

Dream big, Vivian

Vivian’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Lekwan, I saw this documentary recently and thought you would like it, it talks specifically on entrepreneurs. It's called "The Startup Kids" and it's free on Hulu. Enjoy!