Stuck in traffic on your way to work. You're sitting in traffic just to get to work to sit in another meaningless meeting. Your boss doesn't respect you and you certainly don't respect him, but you have been faithfully towing the company line -- smiling through the endless memos, company bureaucracy, late nights, etc.
What's the point of all of it, really? Job security? It's hard to call something secure when the company can fire you at will any day or lay off 25 percent of its workforce next month. You may have loyalty to your company, but then in an instant, you realize your company is loyal only to its bottom line.
If you fantasize about quitting your job and becoming your own boss, you're not alone. What could be better than taking matters into your own hands, setting your own hours, and pursuing your own goals? You don't have to deal with rush-hour traffic, cubicle mazes, or mid-management bosses.
Certainly, starting a business is hard work. It typically involves long days. But there's one major difference: you will be putting all your time, creativity, and effort toward fulfilling your own dream, not someone else's.
I recently read a quote from Richard Branson that summed up the beauty of entrepreneurship perfectly:
It is important to remember that life is not a dress rehearsal, and that none of us should waste our time on doing things that don't spark fires within us. My golden rule for business and life is: We should all enjoy what we do and do what we enjoy.
Since this is National Entrepreneurship Month, I have been reflecting on what entrepreneurship means to me. I launched my first company when I was in law school in California. Starting a business wasn't necessarily my only career option, but in many ways, it was. I can't imagine any other path would have been as fun and fulfilling as traveling the highs and lows of launching my own business. This is particularly true since my business taps into my passion: helping others turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.
What kind of impact do entrepreneurs have on the economy? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, startups in their first year of existence created 2.5 million jobs in 2010. Globally, we have seen countless examples where entrepreneurship helps lift women, families, and whole communities out of poverty.
If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, here are eight lessons that I have learned over the years:
1. The main goal shouldn't be to make lots of money or create an empire. A true entrepreneur's mission is to add value to the world and make a significant change to people's lives; money and jobs are just the byproducts.
2. If you are afraid of failing, you'll never get past the starting gate. An entrepreneur rides every wave, embraces every crash, and never lets the fear of striking out cause them to quit the game. All of my past failures have paved the way for each of my current successes.
3. You need to follow your instincts. At times, this can mean giving the finger (and you know which one) to anyone who stands in your way.
4. Entrepreneurship is not about following the rules. Yes, I want my children to be respectful of others and give 100 percent in school, but I'm proudest when they color outside the lines.
5. For a true entrepreneur, obstacles are just bumps in the road; they are never the end of the road.
6. Entrepreneurs never wait for things to be handed to them. There's never a "perfect" time or opportunity, so stop waiting for one. You'll never get what you don't ask for or work for.
7. The most important rule when it comes to employees, customers and partners is to be genuine and kind. Everything else will fall into place.
8. As Richard Branson said, life isn't a dress rehearsal. And it is way too short to spend time following someone else's path or passions. Get out there, follow your dreams, and make the world a better place.
Are you happy and doing what you love every day and if not, isn't it time your pursued your entrepreneurial dreams?