When we were little, we aspired to a lot of different career paths. While some wanted to be astronauts and scientists, others hoped to become police officers or firefighters. Some even wished to become teachers or lawyers. And then we grew up.
Let’s face it, not all of us got into the career field we dreamt of when we were little. In fact, a lot of us still don’t know if we’re in the right career path, despite having worked day and night for years. Thinking about it now makes us want to rediscover our passions and be our own bosses. Well, at least that’s what the trend seems to be now.
A lot of young people today aspire to start their own business, mostly because the idea of working for someone else does not appeal to them. They may have a passion for something or an idea that feels revolutionary, but they aren’t completely educated on what exactly it takes to start a business and keep it running successfully.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur today?
Many of us belonging to gen X or gen Y (‘millennials’ seems to be the favored word) have witnessed our parents working hard and earning a modest income to get by the daily demands of life. It’s not that they didn’t follow their aspirations, but they caught on to the rewards of hard work and refused to let go. On the flipside, our generation grew up being fed the idea of following our dreams and passions. You sure might have come across aspirational snippets of successful people like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, and how they dropped out of what they were doing to pursue their dream. Of course, their contributions have been legendary and have revolutionized the world as we knew it, but is it enough to simply dream big?
In the past decade or two, entrepreneurship has become synonymous with the need to follow one’s dreams and has transformed into a need to reject the authority of any kind. People now believe that you are not truly content or happy with your professional life if you’re working for someone else. This perceived ‘impossibility’ of truly being successful without owning a business has led many people to feel less than their entrepreneurial peers, especially if they work a 9-5 job.
In saying so, we shouldn’t be opposed to the fact that there are truly many, many young people out there who want to build on an idea and start something of their own. They may have the right business acumen for it as well. To clarify, we need these people to fulfill the needs of the ever-changing world. Entrepreneurs drive the economy and provide plenty of opportunities to many people out there.
The proposal here is to not just look at entrepreneurship as an escape from the perceived mundaneness of life, but to see it as just another ‘job’ you have to be skilled at.
What people today don’t know about being an entrepreneur
As glamorous as it sounds, being a business person requires just as much work, if not more. When you decide to start your own business, you are responsible for making money, but you are also accountable for your employees and customers. Furthermore, a lot of entrepreneurs invest their entire life savings on this one idea that may or may not take off. Not to sound grim, but a large percentage of businesses fail within a year or two of launch. This is not because the person no longer has the passion or spirit to take on the endeavor, but simply because the market is not sustainable for all ideas. The only respite here is that if you work hard enough and completely focus on the different ways in which you can re-build your brand and make money, you can survive in such a competitive atmosphere.
Women, you don’t have to aspire to something you don’t want to
Our present age has become much more inclusive in terms of opportunity — and thank the heavens for that! Our mothers had to face questionable biases and comments when they set out to pursue their careers in male-dominated fields. For the longest time, even business was labeled as a ‘male profession’ — ever wondered why you grew up hearing the word ‘businessman’ way more than ‘businesswoman’ or ‘businessperson’?
As we step out of these archaic gender roles, many women have excelled in the field of business and have built empires, to say the least. While this is a major achievement for not only womankind and the world as a whole, it has also brought about a sense of despair for the modern-day woman.
Women everywhere see their counterparts opening and establishing successful business ventures, and while they are truly happy for them, these women have also begun to equate success to owning a business. Yes, of course, there are several perks to being your own boss, but working in a field of your own choice, even if it’s for someone else, does not, in any way, mean that you are not successful. With that said, if you feel like you are in a deadbeat job, or if you’re struggling to cope under a tyrannous boss, don’t hesitate to look out for other opportunities. This may or may not be a business of your own, but that’s the lesson — you can be successful in more ways than one. There is no one definition to success, and it is our responsibility to show our future generations that we can be whoever we want to be.
If owning and running a business is something you feel like you’re meant to do, it would be advisable that you first focus on specializing in your area of interest. This will help you determine if you truly enjoy it, and if you do, becoming an expert in it would be much easier.
For those who wish to work under someone else, or offer their services, or keep multiple jobs going at the same time — you do you. If you are inclined to grow and excel, and if you’re committed to putting in the work, any job of your liking can put you on the path to success.