That doesn’t mean settling is easy. There’s a price for apathy. It just comes further down the road. And often, it’s unbearable.
The alternative? Striving for the things that are worthwhile.
If you’re reading this article, that likely means taking the plunge and starting a business.
Why? Because it’s the only way you’ll create the freedom you actually want. No other path gives absolute responsibility over your destiny.
And yeah, it’ll be hard.
Your business often comes before family.
Your comfort zone becomes a thing of the past.
Fun gets indefinitely paused.
It will be worth it—if you endure it.
And the only way you’ll endure it is if you embrace reality from the start. Recognize that the most rewarding success will be the most painful to earn right now. Own it. Then, start building your future.
The 21st-century image of the 25-year-old tech wizard creating a disruptive startup and becoming a billionaire is largely a fiction.
The data is clear—entrepreneurs find their greatest success at age 45.¹
Some entrepreneurs start even later. Ray Kroc was a 52-year-old salesman for milkshake makers when he discovered a local restaurant. The owners? Richard and Maurice McDonald. He was almost 60 years old by the time he bought the restaurant chain outright.
If Kroc wasn’t too old to become an entrepreneur, neither are you.
So no matter your age, your previous career, or your current circumstances, it’s never too late to make the move.
Only one question remains—what’s holding you back?
¹ “Research: The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45,” Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim, and Javier Miranda, Harvard Business Review, Jul 11, 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/07/research-the-average-age-of-a-successful-startup-founder-is-45
² “How a Late-Blooming Entrepreneur Made McDonald’s the World’s Largest Burger Chain,” Jennifer Latson, TIME, Apr 15, 2015, https://time.com/3774670/mcdonalds-ray-kroc-history/
Who are the people you pour your money and time into the most?
What is the accomplishment, pursuit, lifestyle, or dream that drives you?
Your answers to these questions are what inspires you.
They’re your two whys.
And when things get tough, they’ll be what keeps you going.
So, what are your two whys?
Some will be small. You’ll try a marketing campaign that flops. You’ll launch a product that fizzles.
Others will be bigger. You’ll lose a key team member. You’ll make a strategic misstep. You’ll feel like you’re about to drown and not know which way is up.
Those failures suck. They hurt. But they’re absolutely critical.
Why? Because there’s no better teacher than failure.
That awful feeling you get when something goes wrong? That’s your brain telling you that you need to change what you’re doing.
In order to succeed, you have to be willing to fail. You have to be okay with making mistakes and learning from them.
So the next time you experience a failure (and you will), don’t beat yourself up. Embrace it. Learn from it. And keep moving forward.
Consider two scenarios…
Imagine you’re walking around your house when, suddenly, a 135-pound weight appears across your shoulders.
It came from out of nowhere. You stagger. Every muscle in your body fires in a desperate struggle to keep you upright. Your mind goes blank. Your heart races.
It’s an intense, potentially dangerous situation that you had no control over. It’s terrifying.
But now imagine you’re in a gym. You’ve been working out consistently for months, and it’s time to test your limits.
You place 135 pounds on your shoulders. You squat down, then start pushing. Every muscle fires. Your mind goes blank. Your heart races.
It’s an intense, potentially dangerous situation. But it’s thrilling. You celebrate when you’re done.
Both scenarios are almost identical, with one critical difference.
In the first scenario, you didn’t choose the challenge. In the second scenario, you did.
That’s the difference between terror and triumph.
So if you want to be an entrepreneur, make a habit of facing challenges head-on, rather than waiting for problems to drop in your lap. See if you start having more triumphant days than terrifying ones.
Successful businesses begin with answers to questions like…
What are the startup costs and can you afford them?
Have you found a proven system to follow that creates predictable results?
Will you create your own market assets or outsource to others?
What technology will you need? Is it already in place or will you have to assemble it?
Are you prepared for having too few—or too many—customers?
These are the questions you need to answer before you can transform your idea into a business. If your answers are less than satisfactory, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Why? Because you may find yourself with a business, but no customers. That’s because you have an idea, but not a solution. And people will pay you for solutions, not ideas.
You may discover that your idea is good, but needs refinement.
Or you may discover that you need a new idea!
Either way, it’s better to vet your ideas fully at the start than realize you’ve built an entire business on an unstable foundation.
So take your idea, and put it through the ringer. If it’s good, it will survive. If not, you’ll have saved yourself a serious headache, a lot of time, and possibly a significant amount of money.
Yes, logic steers the business—entrepreneurship requires a full embrace of data, metrics, and brutal honesty.
But raw reasoning doesn’t sustain you through seasons of hardship and doubt. Far from it—the numbers may actually lead you to quit prematurely.
Think about what’s sustained you through your most difficult challenges. Was it a spreadsheet full of formulas predicting your odds of success? Or was it clinging to the things that matter?
That’s what creates uncommon success—emotion based tenacity to hold on, comeback, and win, regardless of the odds.
And note this well—starting a business that doesn’t inspire you, one without a mission or vision, simply won’t generate that emotion.
What inspires you? What do you want to change? What’s a skill that gets you in the zone? Those are all signposts pointing you towards a business that you can sustain through whatever life throws your way.
Why? Because of the very nature of entrepreneurship.
Here’s how it works…
Entrepreneurs solve problems for consumers or businesses. The greater the problem, the greater the potential reward.
Recessions present massive problems to everyone—unemployment, restricted cash flow, businesses shutting down, and an atmosphere of tension and dread, to name just a few.
Step up to the plate and solve those problems, and you stand to reap significant benefits.
But having more problems to solve isn’t your only advantage.
Afraid of a saturated market? Recessions can thin out competitors and free up market niches.
Intimidated by startup costs? Recessions can lower the price tag on the goods and services you need to get your business into gear.
Unsure about going it alone? Recessions can increase the availability of talent looking for new, fresh opportunities.
So if a faltering economy has you skittish about starting a business, it may be wise to reconsider. Research the market you seek to enter, speak with a seasoned entrepreneur, and start taking steps towards starting a part-time business. You might find that the downturn is the start of your next opportunity.
For many, employer benefits are non-negotiable. They help mitigate the costs of healthcare—which can be extreme—and can offer extra firepower for building wealth with 401(k) contribution matching.
You lose those direct benefits when you quit your day job to make the move to full-time entrepreneurship. So sacrificing them rashly could set your finances—and future—up for disaster.
Fortunately, a catastrophe is easy to sidestep. But how?
If you don’t have the resources to fully replace your benefits, don’t make the commitment to full-time entrepreneurship.
Instead, keep your full-time job and work your business part-time.
You keep your benefits, and you learn the ropes of entrepreneurship. Once it’s clear that your business has the potential to replace your 9-to-5 income, you can transition to full-time entrepreneurship with more confidence. It’s a win-win strategy.
The downside? You may find yourself strapped for time and energy during the transition.
But it may be a small price to pay for what you get—the opportunity to start a business without sacrificing your stability.
That’s because you’re making a trade with your boss.
You give your time and effort. They give you a paycheck.
They help you pay your bills. You help them build their business.
Make no mistake—paying your bills is a good thing.
But building a business is better.
Why? Because freedom, true freedom to build something, requires both the time to do what you want, and the money to make it happen.
A paycheck gives you little of either.
A business gives you limitless potential for both.
When you’re an employee, you work for someone else’s time, earning their money, building their dream.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you work on your own time, scaling your own income, and creating your own freedom.
If being an entrepreneur sounds better, that’s because it can be… IF you can find the right system AND leadership.
Together, they can help you mitigate risk and spare you the wasted time and mounting stress of trying to build a business from scratch.
So if you’re ready to make the move from employee to entrepreneur, let’s talk. We can explore what it would look like for you to start a business that can help create the time and money you need to achieve the freedom you desire.
They fail when they try to go it alone.
And it’s no wonder why. Unless you’re a hermit, you need other people.
You need encouragement.
You need mentorship.
You need camaraderie.
And that’s normal—it’s what it means to be human.
But entrepreneurs? Too often, they go it alone.
It’s no wonder why. Make the leap from employee to entrepreneur, and you may find yourself alone on the other side.
Everyone else is working their 9-to-5s, while you’re spending 16 hours each day making your dream a reality. Unless you find a community of collaborators, it’s a lonely existence.
Loneliness makes it far more difficult to jump-start a successful business. It literally kills.¹
I believe that entrepreneurs succeed when they work together. The e2E model leverages teamwork and experienced mentorship so anyone can start a business with greater support and less risk.
It’s the least I can do—my journey to entrepreneurship was marked by constant support and encouragement by fellow entrepreneurs.
So if you’re considering entrepreneurship but are afraid to make the move, let’s chat. We can explore the support systems available to you if you fire up your own business.
¹ “Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions,” CDC, Apr 29, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html
In fact, most people want ownership of something. They want to look at a home, a family, a business, a life, and say “I did that. I built that.”
And that means they want stakes. They want the potential to fail, and to win anyway.
But what do most people get? Cog-in-the-machine jobs they don’t care about. Counting the hours until the day ends. Feeling like they’re not making much of a difference—for themselves or others.
In other words, no stakes. Who would want ownership of that?
Yes, starting a business is hard. Even with support, pre-built processes, and mentorship, entrepreneurship will stretch you. There will be many times where your decisions actually matter.
Choose wrong, pay the price. Choose right, reap the rewards.
And that’s the whole point. Because ownership unlocks a whole new dimension of life. You discover what you’re made of. You’re confronted by your weaknesses. You’re amazed by your strengths.
You find out that you’re far stronger than you ever realized.
So if you’re thinking about entrepreneurship, make the move. Own your own business. Own your own decisions. Own your own failures and successes. Own your own life.
There’s a stereotype that all successful entrepreneurs have borderline mythic powers of focus.
They wear the same t-shirt days on end to free up their bandwidth for big decisions.
They hone their mental acuity by reading dozens of big books per year.
They can move boulders with their minds and shoot lightning from their fingers…
You get the picture.
But you don’t have to be a Jedi Knight—or Sith Lord—to become a successful entrepreneur.
You just have to really love what you do.
Studies have shown that people with strong willpower actually enjoy the hard things they do.¹ The maniac who’s out running at 5:00 AM? He’s not necessarily a self-loathing monk—he might be having a blast.
The same is true of entrepreneurs. The fuel for their focus, their refusal to quit, and their seemingly limitless resourcefulness is that they’re having fun.
The takeaway? If you’re going to start a business, choose an industry and mission you love. It’s the best way to fortify your will against the challenges you face… and maybe have some fun while you’re at it.
¹ “Why willpower is overrated,” Brian Resnick, Vox, Jan 2, 2020, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/1/15/16863374/willpower-overrated-self-control-psychology
It’s because the right kind of business can provide income that scales with inflation. Here’s how it works…
Inflation is the steady rise of prices over time. The only way for a salaried employee to keep up with those price increases is for their paychecks to grow at the same rate, which may not always happen.
Entrepreneurs have an option—they can increase prices. As the cost of living increases, so does the revenue from their business.
Here’s the catch—it only works if you’re selling a solution that’s in demand. Otherwise, customers may decide that they really don’t need your services after all and stop buying.
So if you’re looking to inflation-proof your income, a business may be just what you need. But make no mistake—the industry and mentorship you choose to start that business will mean the difference between inflation-proof, and inflation-vulnerable.
“Warren Buffett says these businesses do the best during periods of high inflation,” Nicolas Vega, CNBC, Aug 19 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/19/warren-buffett-inflation-best-businesses.html
Here’s a thought that will make your heart race: Quitting your job to start a business. It’s the ultimate step away from security and routine to uncertainty and chaos. But it’s a step many think is necessary to become an entrepreneur.
But it’s not. For many, it might even be a mistake.
That’s because it may be too intense for first-time entrepreneurs. Without support and, above all, experience, diving into full time entrepreneurship can be the short road to burnout.
That’s why it’s often best to explore entrepreneurship in your spare time. It gives you the freedom to start slow and steady, making strategic steps to build momentum. If your spare time experiment falls through, no sweat! You don’t necessarily need it to make ends meet.
That freedom also can give you the boldness you need to create innovative—and possibly risky—solutions.
Put to rest the myth that you need to dive into entrepreneurship full time. Start small. Start strategic. Start building. It will serve you far better than making a rash decision before you’re prepared for making a full time commitment.
It often comes with a pay raise, which is always good. It can represent a boost in responsibility, pushing your career forward.
But here’s a question few have asked—is a promotion the best way to boost your income?
Let’s do the math.
The average income boost from a raise is 3%.¹ If you earn $60,000 per year, then you can expect a raise to give you an annual boost of $1,800. That’s $150 per month.
Depending on your situation, that could make a huge difference for your financial picture. But it pales in comparison to other income-boosting strategies. For instance, changing jobs can boost your salary by 14.8%.² The average annual income boost from starting a business is $14,705.³
Suddenly, 3% doesn’t seem all that impressive!
Again, this isn’t to detract from getting a promotion. It’s a testament to your work ethic and grit.
But if your entire career arc hinges on landing one promotion after another, you may need a better strategy.
¹ “What to Expect from an Average Promotion Raise,” Indeed.com, Feb 22, 2021, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/average-promotion-raise
² “Average Salary Increase When Changing Jobs Statistics ,” Chris Kolmar, Zippia, Dec 28, 2021, https://www.zippia.com/advice/average-salary-increase-when-changing-jobs/
³ “STUDY: Millions of Americans have a ‘side hustle’ to boost their incomes and pursue their passions,” Vista Newsroom, Aug 1, 2019, https://news.vistaprint.com/side-hustle-study-us
But we all know entrepreneurs wear many, many hats. At times, they’ll juggle acting as CEO, the marketing department, sales, support, HR, and accounting. Even thinking about that level of multitasking makes many peoples’ brains shut off!
But the science is clear—multitasking doesn’t work. Hopping back and forth from task to task takes a massive toll on your brain’s efficiency. One study showed it lowers IQ 15 points, putting most people in the intelligence range of the average 8 year old.¹
Trying to successfully multitask is one of the greatest barriers to becoming an entrepreneur.
So entrepreneurs, being the problem solvers they are, have developed a simple solution—don’t multitask. Period.
Instead, they’ve learned two workarounds…
Leveraging flow. That means turning off the phone, going on do-not-disturb mode, and giving their entire attention to the task at hand. They work on one priority at a time for a sustained period to maximize their focus and efficiency. Then, they move on to the next task.
Delegating the small stuff. Remember, the super power of entrepreneurs is their team. Once they can hire employees, this frees up their time to focus on the important tasks that require their full attention.
So if you’re afraid of starting a business because you don’t think you can handle all the multitasking, don’t be. Just remember to focus on one task at a time, and delegate the rest.
¹ “To Multitask or Not to Multitask,” USC Dornsife
Seems counterintuitive, right? Business owners can work long hours, face complex problems, and carry a heavy load of stress—with no guarantee of success.
At least, that’s what you get told. And it couldn’t be more wrong.
Two new studies reveal the truth.
The first, from Baylor University, found that entrepreneurs are subjectively happier.¹ In other words, they feel better. Why? Because they…
• Have a greater sense of autonomy
• Feel a closer connection to their purpose
• Apply their skills and passions to their work
The second study, from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, showed that entrepreneurs are far happier than employees.² Even the high number of unsuccessful entrepreneurs didn’t change the results. Entrepreneurs, regardless of income, were happier than even highly paid corporate officers.
And it wasn’t just the entrepreneurs. The study from Baylor proved that the presence of small businesses improved the health of surrounding communities.³ The more entrepreneurs, the greater the health of the neighborhood.
Start a business. It doesn’t have to be a stressful, high-stakes tech startup. Just an outlet for your skills that also pays you.
¹ “The Good Business of Thriving Entrepreneurs,” Justin Walker, Baylor University Hankamer School of Business, Mar 30, 2020, https://www.baylor.edu/business/news/news.php?action=story&story=218228
² “Rich or Not, Entrepreneurs Are Happiest in Study,” Elizabeth Blackwell, TheStreet, Sep 28, 2012, https://www.thestreet.com/investing/rich-or-not-entrepreneurs-are-happiest-in-study-11721398
³ “Entrepreneurs Are Happier And Healthier Than Employees According To University Research Studies,” Bernhard Schroeder, Forbes, Apr 1, 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernhardschroeder/2022/04/01/entrepreneurs-are-happier-and-healthier-than-employees-according-to-university-research-studies/?sh=340a1cc73ee6
Hint—it’s not what you tell yourself.
What you tell yourself are excuses. They pop into your brain as thoughts, like…
“I just don’t have time.”
“Maybe in a few months.”
“Well, first I’ll have to make a business plan, and then I’ll need to find clients and then…”
Those thoughts are coming from somewhere. They come from your emotions. And emotions can be irrational… and very, very powerful.
Emotions cause the sense of overwhelm when you think about the long, hard, lonely hours.
They cause the hazy uncertainty of ditching your stable and comforting routines.
They cause that churning in your gut when you realize you could fail.
Emotions are stopping you from entrepreneurship. The reasons may come and go. But the feelings stay the same.
So what are the feelings that come up when you think about starting a business? Are they moving you towards a destiny that excites you? Or are they moving you away from pursuing your potential?
Your partners, mentors, and collaborators will impact every way you’ll be measured as an entrepreneur. What your success will look like. What your income will look like.
As the great Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Think about those five people in your life. Do you want to be the average of them?
If your answer is anything less than an enthusiastic yes, it’s time to do some soul searching. To be a successful entrepreneur, it may be time to make some hard decisions about who you spend the bulk of your time with.
Maybe you need to limit your time with energy vampires. Maybe you need to stop sharing your hopes and dreams with negative people. Maybe you need to completely cut toxic influences out of your life…
You may think it’s cruel to tell someone in no uncertain terms, “Sorry. I’m not going to spend my energy on this anymore.” You’re afraid they’ll feel like they’ve been abandoned.
But you don’t owe them anything. They’re the toxic people who brought negativity into your life. If they can’t deal with your building something great, that’s kinda their problem.
In other words, it’s time to set boundaries for yourself. It’s time to say what behavior you’ll tolerate and what behavior you won’t. It’s time to show yourself some respect like never before.