Entrepreneurship is NOT Glamourous

Running a company, being an entrepreneur, is the most tumultuous, exciting, scary, gratifying, thankless, blessed, frustrating, exhilarating and powerful thing you could ever do.

Sometimes you attract amazing people and other times, "coat-tailers" who disguise themselves as committed contributors with very little staying power and attitude/entitlement that makes you wonder. I mean REALLY wonder.

There is a stigma attached to "management" and "leadership" of ruling by fear, aggressiveness, assertiveness, that I believe is clearly misconstrued. Often I get accused of being short, harsh and abrupt. I know many of my clients, colleague, and friends have shared similar experiences.

I mean, for anyone who complains about not being paid enough or working too many hours I ask you:

  • Are the 15th and end of month good days for you? During the early days, payday was frightening. Suffocating. Because we are not just responsible for ourselves, we are responsible for ALL OF YOU.

  • Compounded with payday is rent. RENT. That office space that you may or may not like costs an absolute fortune every month. For most entrepreneurs, it's also personally guaranteed. That means that downturn or not if we don't pay rent, they take our office space AND POSSIBLY OUR HOME.

  • Do you realize, that when you drop the ball, someone has to pick it up? This isn't high school where 75% or 80% is good enough. It's 0 or 1. You succeed or fail. The client stays or goes. One small mistake on a campaign or in a negotiation could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue for the company. IT IS NOT ALL GOOD.

  • AND FINALLY, for all the entitled "coat-tailers", whiners and complainers out there, understand that if you're not delivering, you're OVERHEAD. Hemorrhaging money through base wage or massive opportunity cost is just plain bad business. There's one in every shop. Sometimes more. Not sure how people don't understand that they are blessed to be putting food on the table, a privilege over 100,000 Albertans no longer share.

And this is why we're abrupt, sometimes short and INSIST on things being done well. Because every business owner is on 100% commission all the time. Every business owner is responsible for the well being of their clients AND their team. Because when you go home, crack open a beer and binge on Netflix, we're working. When you're posting selfies at the bar and too hung over to move on a Sunday morning, we're hustling. We're thinking about rent and payroll and delivering value to clients so that we can create wealth and you have stable employment.

I often tell my wife that we are either going to make it really big, or not at all. The upside to entrepreneurship can be tremendous. AND it's a long game. The odds, slim. Worth it? For sure.

But nobody OWES anybody ANYTHING. Work hard, master your craft, be outstanding and don't expect anything to be handed to you on a silver platter. Cause eventually, you're going to be on the wrong side of the door.‪


Almin Kassamali, StyleLabs Inc.

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