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Entrepreneurship is Tough but Rewarding

Financial independence

I'm free!

One of our well-respected business bloggers, Scott Messinger, indicates in his articles that starting up a business is no child’s play. He mentioned that if you want to have more time with your family through your startup business, you should think again. From my experience, Scott’s advice is something that you should look up to.

We are too often presented with the hype of entrepreneurship and starting out new business ventures. All are touted as a way to ‘liberate’ you from 9-to-5 job and from working for a boss.

While I strongly advise people to start a business no matter what – whether you have been downsized or are currently on a 9-to-5 job – I do feel the need to join Scott to clarify a few things – things that can save you from entrepreneurial burnout, false hope and eventually going out of business (and bankruptcy.)

A case study: me

I was lost – I don’t like to work for a boss, but starting out seemed scary to me; the future looked blur to me. Fortunately, I enjoy reading business books and landed on Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad series. Some more dozens entrepreneurship books later, I decide to take a short cut into entrepreneurship through franchising – I joined a local leading business service center franchise as a franchisee. A year later I started another one, also from the same franchise.

All went well – Until the recession hit the hardest on the region my stores are in, and boom – both franchise units went out of business.

I went back to where I started, with debts to pay and lost investment to recover. To cut long story short, I survived the tough times entering the making money online and web property investing. And today, I don’t want to do anything else but everything related to Internet business.

Let’s go back to the reason why I failed. Is it the economy? Is it the recession? Maybe, but I realised that the culprit of the failure is… my wrong mindset and I.

Entrepreneurship brings you freedom – or is it?

I thought that, from the books I read, entrepreneurship brings freedom and more time for the family (or to do anything I want in any endeavour I desire.)

Wrong. Robert Kiyosaki, Tim Ferriss, Brad Sugars… those guys are not teaching wrong lessons. It is I who misinterpret their teachings. All in all, they teach that entrepreneurship can lead you to freedom. But as in everything in life, freedom is costly. How so?

1. Startup phase is physically and emotionally challenging – are you ready?

First of all, you have to bust your *** to survive the startup phase. You are exposed to risks and it’s your job as a business owner to control those risks (this is well-taught by Robert Kiyosaki, but I didn’t listen to him – my bad.) Even if you buy a franchise unit, it’s still a startup – only with a better, proven system (if you choose the right franchise.)

Secondly, be ready to spend long hours during the startup phase. When I bought the franchise units, I didn’t spend enough time to learn the business, thinking that the proven system is set and will take a good care of you – what could go wrong, after all? In any business you start, be ready to spend many sleepless night – all with the purpose to manage the failure risks. I spend (and am still spending, on a lesser scale considering my circumstances) more than 12 hours a day to learn what Internet business and make money online are all about… with the Internet, new trends and opportunities come and go at lightning speed – never lose sight of them!

2. Entrepreneurship can bring you financial independence, but not financial freedom

Entrepreneurship allows you to have one or more businesses bringing in strong income stream to allow you to be financially independent. Many said about financial freedom, but the truth is – unless you are an heir of a King or Sultan – you will never be financially free.

Sure, Donald Trump is wealthy. But I bet he is getting ready all the time for the ‘rainy days’ – it’s simply ridiculous to build something with sweat and tears only to neglect them later. What about Tim Ferriss who preaches 4-hour workweek? He is traveling the world today, but I don’t think he wants to lose sight of his business; he of course manages his business, but he does so creatively, in such a way that his presence in his business is no longer needed. Both are financially independent, but not financially free, after all.

Bottom line, if you want to be a beach bum through business ownership, think again. Entrepreneurship is no child’s play. Even a millionaire who is indeed a beach bum has got to work to keep his/her empire afloat!

3. If you enter entrepreneurship because you don’t want to work for a boss, re-evaluate your decision

Many people enter entrepreneurship because they hate 9-to-5 job and don’t want to work for a boss (hence the gimmick “be your own boss”.) The reality is as a business owner you could work 9-to-9 or round the clock (a colleague of mine once has 3 sleepless nights working on his new business venture.) And here’s the cold, hard truth – you will always work for a boss – or anything similar in function and level of importance. How so?

If you own a business, you will likely to work with your suppliers and serve customers – in a sense, they are all your bosses – your ‘life’ depends on them. Some proofs: If your suppliers cut their supplies, will your business shaken? If your customers left you, will your business die? What if an important partner pulls out of your business partnership, leaving your business with a crippled leg? We are, indeed, working for ‘bosses.’

So, as a conclusion, I would like to advise you to enter entrepreneurship with the right mindset. The right mindset is important as so many people enter entrepreneurship without knowing exactly the reason why they start a business or buy a business in the first place. The wrong reasons can leave you bitter toward entrepreneurship and could get you to preach that entrepreneurship is ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ (one of my relatives advises me to stay away from entrepreneurship because he failed so many times as he couldn’t cope with the challenges, like bad employees and such – I’ll say, d-uh?)

As of for me, I love entrepreneurship and enjoy web property investing. I want to prove that I can make a living 100% off the Internet and have a strong passion to encourage others to make money online and help others to at least achieve what I have achieved, and strongly hope they can do a lot more.

What’s your reason plunging into entrepreneurship?

Ivan Widjaya
Entrepreneurship rocks
Image by tchago.

About author

Ivan Widjaya
Ivan Widjaya 2594 posts

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.

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  • Scott,

    Thanks :)

    Yes, your articles are an eye opener as 80% of the entrepreneurship articles I read is about dream big. There is not enough articles that encourage people to keep grounded and be realistic. Dream big but be realistic is a rare combination – once we master that, financial independence and freedom to do whatever we want are within reach.

  • Scott Messinger

    Noob- Nice post. The one item that did catch me was your words regarding financial freedom. And interesting you had a comment on that subject.My perspective and experience regarding the financial gain you realize from either a successful sale of a business or from a successful cash flowing business, – Money doesnt buy you stuff, or more stuff, it” buys” you certain freedoms. It buys you the freedom to do something else if you want, freedom to move if you want, freedom to work part time if you want, freedom to start another venture if you want. A perspective similar to what you state, but slighlty different. btw thanks for the mention.

  • dev,

    Thanks for your valuable opinion. I used to believe that financial freedom is the one to after. But unfortunately, ‘freedom’ is something that a too obscure term to use. I’m a huge believer of being financially independent through passive income generated from real estate investing. But then again, ‘freedom’ is just a term.

    Owning an office building making a passive income of $1 mil a year in rent is a great achievement, obviously. Instead of freedom, I think entrepreneurs want security more – a financial ‘prowess’ that allows them to do whatever they like without worrying TOO MUCH about money. The truth is, we are all worry about money, especially in uncertain economy.

    Is Warren Buffet financially free? Maybe, but his Berkshire Hathaway loses its value considerably during these tough times. Mr. Buffet is financially independent, though.

    Is Bill Gates financially free? I guess so, unless Microsoft’s Top Execs make big time mistakes that damage Microsoft’s value. Again, Mr. Gates is financially independent.

    Here’s another thing to think about: Entrepreneurs might want to achieve financial freedom, but then again, once they come to a point that they are ‘free’, the just want to work for their other – usually non-profit – endeavours! (Bill Gates run his charity, Tim Ferriss travel the world and mentor others to achieve financial and location independence, etc.)

    And believe me, I know people whom I believe have achieved the so-called financial freedom, but all they want is actually financial independent. Entrepreneurs LOVE to work. Beats me. I thought I hate to work, but I found out I DO love working on things I’m passionate about, regardless the money.

    My 2 cents…

  • dev

    “2. Entrepreneurship can bring you financial independence, but not financial freedom”

    Huge limiting belief and just plain wrong. Plenty of people retire at a young age, having made millions. They may go back in business a couple of years later because they are bored and want some excitement, but they have invested their cash and they are financially free (unless they are dumb, or course).

    If you buy a revenue-generating piece of real estate for example, say an office building bringing in 1 million a year in rent, and you pay a property manager or two 50k a year to look after it, that makes you pretty financially free, now doesn’t it?