I see many people who are new to the self-employed world who have been told by their “upline” that if they work hard for 5 years, they will be wealthy and they won’t have to work anymore. The MLM mantra, “work hard for a few years doing what others don’t want to do and then you’ll have the life only others dream of” is ridiculous.

In reality, your business BEGINS after 5 years (if you can make it past survival phase). The first five years are merely the FOUNDATION of your business. You are learning how to survive before you can learn to thrive.

Many “overnight” successes are ten years in the making before they are even acknowledged to exist.

“Entrepreneur” is not a career. It’s not some five year degree that creates magical wealth. It is sweat equity. It can be working for FAR below minimum wage while you try to cover your expenses for your staff. Capital… so much capital is needed. Time. It is repeated sacrifices and hundreds of hours at the office long after everyone else has gone home. It is learning how to do something important when your time is stretched enough.

It’s learning that your friends and family don’t want you to fail but they also don’t want to be your customer. It’s the criticisms of your failings as a parent, a spouse, a friend when you just don’t have enough time to appease everyone. It’s the myth of a balanced life when one doesn’t exist.

It is being on the edge of success while you trip repeatedly into the chasm of failure. It’s knowing when to close one door so you can open a new one. It’s deciding how long to fight before you throw in the towel. It’s the embarrassment/disappointment you face when your timelines were too short and resources too low. It’s the arguments you have with yourself about the choices you should make and more sacrifices being demanded of you.

Entrepreneurship is a calling, not a job. It is an effect not a cause. You can be self-employed and not be an entrepreneur, and you can be an employee of a company and be entrepreneurial.

Success? As an entrepreneur success is not defined purely by money because each milestone is merely a checkpoint. There is an innate hunger to continue to grow, explore, learn, increase efficiency, expand. There is a thirst to find more puzzles to solve.

People will chastise you for chasing money but they don’t see that money is just a by-product of chasing your passions, your dreams, your sense of purpose.

“Every hardship is an opportunity to level up.”

Don’t be fooled by the promise of a short journey to wealth. Don’t be seduced by the illusion of residual income without any effort. But for those of us who pursue this path with eyes and hearts (and wallets!) wide open, we may find the journey will change the trajectory of our destiny forever.

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