Recently, I was out with a bunch of old friends having a feed, reminiscing and talking about old times. Then the accusation and great conflict came up, that I was a workaholic who would never retire.
It was said with some intent on the basis that there’s something wrong with the way I live my life. Anyway, as I approach very quickly the ripe old age of 61, those comments caused me to reflect on my take on all of this.
You see what I was actually confronted with was the non-entrepreneurial civilian bias that most entrepreneurs will need to deal with at some point of time.
The accusation is you’re a workaholic and you pay a price in choosing to be one. Entrepreneurs are also accused of being wide-eyed risk takers that have lost their mind.
I would argue, business is risky but there’s no need to be fool hardy. After all, like anything in life, there’s no straight line to success in business either. There will be ups and downs.
That said, I always consider the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. Wise counsel I believe.
Another accusation is the price of entrepreneurial success is too high a price to pay. I agree. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. That said, other non-entrepreneurial employees pay a price too.
Like working for a boss or crowd they hate, doing a job they hate year in year out and often complaining about it but doing little or nothing about it. Being told what to do and when to do it and being hauled over the coals if you get it wrong.
Heck sometimes, the boss is the tosser. Either way, the employee pays a price just as the entrepreneur does.
Sure the entrepreneur can’t go home on time when there is a deadline. When my wife was dying of ovarian cancer, I didn’t get compassionate leave. Employees do or can.
Bottom-line, my clients really don’t care if I’m terminal and nor should they. What they should care about is the results I’m being paid to deliver.
Sure I know what you’re thinking. I could afford the enormous costs of my wife’s alternative treatments and that was because I was a successful entrepreneur.
In the business sense, I like to call it “blurring the line”. You see, it’s not work for me. Work and play is the same thing. Richard Branson said “I don’t think of work as work or play as play. It’s all living.” And I agree with him.
Truth be told, I think entrepreneurs are saner and happier than their critics. However, the entrepreneur must be thick skinned towards the criticism they are bound to get from non-entrepreneurs.