Why should you become an entrepreneur? For a lot of people, especially those in the corporate world, the allure seems to be in “being your own boss”. If you’re an entrepreneur, you no longer have to be accountable to anyone. You don’t need to answer to any individual. There are no pesky line managers to tell you what to do, or department heads to stipulate the entire team to work on a Saturday.
You do as you please!
Unfortunately, as an entrepreneur myself, let me tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the entrepreneur is accountable to far more people than an employee ever will be.
Firstly, the entrepreneur is a servant to their customers. This is because, a great business cannot be built unless you are extremely attuned to exactly what your customer wants. How your product is going to look, what features it will have, what price point you can sell it at and many other crucial decisions all depend on your customers. If you are not greatly sensitive to your customers’ needs, they can fire you from your job by simply taking their business elsewhere. However, if you are a finance executive at a multinational company, you can’t care much for your company’s products simply because it is someone else’s headache.
Secondly, the entrepreneur is a servant to their employees. The biggest strength of any business is in its team, and you can’t build a great team unless you take very good care of the people working for you. Especially in the early days, it is quite difficult to hire and retain great employees because you can’t be offering them fat salaries. You have to make it up by being extra supportive to your team, giving them non-monetary perks and nurturing them so that they grow up to love you and your company. You have to stay vigilant to their needs and morale constantly. On the other hand, if you are an employee in a company, it is none of your business if employees at a different department are unhappy with their supervisors. It is simply not your headache.
Thirdly, the entrepreneur is a servant to their investors. Truly great entrepreneurs are always working hard to generate shareholder value for their investors, because they feel it is their moral responsibility to give back to the board who trusted them with their hard-earned investments when no one else did. Shareholder management can be a very tricky exercise for entrepreneurs, which is another job an employee never has to bother about.
The list goes on and on, and includes accountability to your fellow co-founders, external partners, suppliers, etc. In this way, a great entrepreneur realises that once they step away from the corporate world, they have many bosses to manage, instead of just one or two.
Having said that, remember this is nothing to be scared about! Instead, this is part of the fun because in the end, you do have your freedom. You still get to decide at the end of the day whether you want to curse that customer who left a bad review on your Facebook page. You still get to decide whether you want to fire an excellent employee because he once suggested your business could be run better. But whether you choose to act on your whims, or choose to do what is best for your business, is what ultimately dictates your fate as an entrepreneur.
Muhammed Asif Khan is striving to leave an impact by working hard and helping everyone around him. For any support or advice, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.