I started my own company when I was 23 years old.
Like any entrepreneur, I was a dreamer.
I had this image in my head of this well-oiled business machine that was going to make me millions of rands and set me up for life.
6 months later, I was crying into a bottle of vodka, on my bathroom floor, in my one bedroom flat, wondering if I was going to be able to pay rent or not.
Thankfully, those days are well behind me, but so many people don’t realize that there is a darker side to entrepreneurship.
I have staff now as well, so it’s not just me I worry about.
I now have the well-being of other humans in my hands.
Before the success of my first company, I remember taking my last R700 to help out a homeless man with a backpack of clothes and toiletries.
I remember someone calling me out and saying “You say you’re a business owner but you only have R700 left in your bank account?”
It was at this moment that I realized what a warped perspective the rest of the world has on entrepreneurship.
Self employment has been glamorized in the media – especially social media
We’re force-fed images of influencers in Ferraris, mansions, wads of cash and exotic destinations. Most of these are rented and posed!
In my Instagram feed, you will see photos of me traveling, trying exciting activities, working from beautiful new destinations… But you won’t see the other side of it.
The greasy hair because I haven’t had time to have a shower longer that 2 minutes in 4 days, the bags under my eyes because I have only slept 4 hours, the ache in my bones because I am worried more about meeting deadlines and making others happy than taking time out for self care, the 15kg I have gained this year because I haven’t made the time to eat properly and regularly, so I cram everything into one large meal a day… The list goes on!
But, at the end of the day, I would rather work 100 hours a week building my dream than work 40 hours a week building someone else’s.
To this day, I still have friends that think I pretty much get paid to travel around the country and cruise by, doing very little.
They don’t see the nights that I spend working until 2am or the strict budgets and time management systems I have to keep to make sure my cash flow stays steady.
18 hour work days are not unusual, when you work for yourself and I think this is something that a lot of people looking to open their own business do not realize.
There are feelings of isolation, depression and internal conflict that come with it.
I love what I do, but there are still some days that I wake up and the first thought in my head is, “I don’t want to do this shit anymore.”
It takes courage to push through and realize that those feelings aren’t permanent.
Don’t quit when times are hard. Success is often just around the corner.
It takes a strong person to be successful in owning their own business, which is why I love working with these individuals so much.
The boss life is not for sussies…
So, if you’re marching down this path, you need to remind yourself what a strong motherf*cker you really are!