The Best and Worst of Being an Entrepreneur

Last evening I read an article in Inc. titled, “We Asked, You Twittered” and subtitled, “What’s the best part of owning your business?” The submissions were as follows:

Defining success. You set the goals, and you sit on both sides of the table at the performance review.
— Elizabeth Grace Saunders, Real Life E

Making the sale. No better feeling than seeing an overjoyed customer. — Kendall Schoenrock, Larger Than Life Prints

Being able to inspire others: employees, clients, investors, partners. And to do so while in flip-flops. — Mike Mothner, Wpromote

Best part is working on me. My business is me and I am my business; there is no separating us. I can work on business from bed — Veronica Castro, Entiise Lingerie

I don’t have to worry about being “downsized.” — Tony Darnell, WideVision

Knowing what the “long view” really is. — Tom Sadler, The Middle River Group

The absolute absurd amount of hustle and how much knowledge you get from it.
— Braden Douglass, Pixel Spills Design

Calling the shots, creative freedom, managing a schedule based on my life needs, being myself and getting paid for it — Valerie Parizeault, Rose Flash Studio

The ability to be creative in pursuit of a creative goal — the best antidepressant ever. — Jeff Carter, Unison Search

Having a goal, a purpose, an income, and a destiny that’s in my own hands. — Ian Watt, Ian Watt Real Estate

Doing a video conference wearing a suit jacket and no pants. — Justin A. Schuck, L/A Events

No one yells at you when you take a day off. — Phyllis Pometta, Baby Swags

This got me thinking about my own likes and dislikes. I’ve been an entrepreneur in varying capacities since about 1997 or so when I started my own home-based consulting business, helping small local businesses with their computer needs and with their websites. This was the first spark in what has now become an entrepreneurial blaze. Interestingly enough, I find myself more than ten years later serving the same market in a very similar capacity. Well, anyway, I’m getting off track.

I thought about a few of my own items, and here they are. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you are an entrepreneur or even an aspiring one.

My 10 Favorite Things About Being an Entrepreneur

  1. Selling the vision.
  2. Watching my team work together to solve a problem entirely on their own.
  3. Seeing our customers happy.
  4. Seeing our employees happy.
  5. Hiring people.
  6. Building a company (not the same as building a business).
  7. Working towards my life goals.
  8. Knowing that I have a job tomorrow.
  9. Being a critical element in the plan.
  10. The constant change and need to adapt.

My 10 Least Favorite Things About Being an Entrepreneur

  1. Letting people go.
  2. The frauds, the poseurs, the leaches, the liars.
  3. Finances and financial matters.
  4. Being susceptible to powerful outside influences (e.g., economy).
  5. The pressure I put on myself to work harder.
  6. The consequences of working harder.
  7. Not having enough ______ to do ______.
  8. Unhappy employees.
  9. Unhappy customers.
  10. The constant change and need to adapt.

What do you think about these? Can you relate? What’s your list?

Check out CitySquares on Merchant Circle!

Today CitySquares got a voicemail from Merchant Circle.It’s not the first time either. Usually I just roll my eyes, shout something out to whoever is nearby for a laugh, and I move on. In fact, just about anything Merchant Circle does gets a similar reaction from me: roll of the eyes, wise-ass remark, laughter, move on. Always in that order too. For those of you who may not understand my response – it’s because CitySquares, my company, and Merchant Circle are direct competitors.

Today, though, I am in rare form. I think it’s all the cold and flu medicine I’m doped up on. The voicemail came through as a wav file, as they all do, and I decided to play it over the speakers in the office for everyone to hear. We all laughed. But I wasn’t done.

So I decided take full advantage of this opportunity today. They called me, for the third time, and this time I responded. I went to their site, I claimed my listing, and voila now has a profile in Merchant Circle’s directory. Actually, it seems we’ve had a profile there for some time, I just had to claim it. The address they had for us was three years old and it was a little tricky figuring out how to change it, but we figured it out.

Ya know I gotta say too, I was very impressed with the process! The obnoxious, spammy phone calls aside, claiming my profile and spicing it up was actually a very painless and enjoyable experience. In fact, we really should emulate some of it. But that’s all we’ll emulate, that’s for sure.

Anyone wanna place bets on how long it takes for them to take this down?


Bread & Puppet

It’s certainly not for everyone, but it has a certain appeal. I first went to the Bread & Puppet’s Domestic Resurrection Circus in Glover, VT in 1995, before I ever knew a thing about the theater and circus. These parties, held for 27 years, grew into a drug fueled spectacle of hippies, ravers, punks, you name it – thousands and thousands of people gathering on a couple farms for a weekend of music and partying. The thing that struck me most about these parties was that so many people of different colors, backgrounds, countries, tastes, could all gather together and get along. Strangers were no longer strangers. My experiences at Bread and Puppet were some of the best of my long and reckless youth.

My last year there was the last year. I woke up in the morning, August 8th, 1998, in my tent, hot and sweaty from the morning sun to my friend kicking my tent and demanding I wake up, which I did after hearing the words “someone was murdered.” That was enough to get me out of the tent. A mere 20 feet from our campsite on the farm were police and yellow tape, and a body bag ready to be carried away. Someone had died, violently, as rumor had it.

The sting of that experience has never left me – I’ll never forget the horror that crept up my spine that morning. A mere feet from me was a lifeless body – and that this person’s life ended at some point during the night – while perhaps no one even knew it. That amongst thousands of people, one person could be killed, and no one would notice, was a solitude I’d never considered before.

Here is a great history of Bread & Puppet’s Domestic Resurrection Circus.

A couple years ago I heard that Bread & Puppet was in town, here in Boston, at the Boston Center for the Arts, and my wife, who was also in attendance in 1998 (before we’d met) and I went to the show. We were blown away, by the depth of symbolism of the performance. The puppets brought me back over 10 years to the first time I saw similar ones, on the fields in Glover, VT.

Last week I volunteered to take photos of the Bread & Puppet performance at the BCA, and thoroughly enjoyed the chance to take part in B&P from a totally different perspective.

The times have changed, but in some ways, some things just remain the same.