The Good and the Bad of Being an Entrepreneur A man with three decades of experience running his own business shares his insights.

By Stephen Key

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I've been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years. It's been a wild ride.

I became an entrepreneur because the idea of working for someone else never sat well with me. I have always wanted to be in charge of my own destiny.

I'm thankful that I am more excited about the future of my business today than I ever have been. Some might say I'm a late bloomer -- and I'd have to agree. I feel like doing more, not less! I'm far from ready to slow down.

Related: What It Really Takes to Be an Entrepreneur

What is being an entrepreneur really like? Well, I'd be lying if I said that there weren't a lot of perks. I feel like the world is my oyster. It's a nice life. But it didn't come without significant sacrifices.

I want to share some of my insights with aspiring entrepreneurs who are asking themselves, "What do I have to look forward to? What am I prepared to give up?"

The good

1. Making your own decisions. I answer to no one. I thrive on the fact that the success of my business depends on me. Getting to experience the impact of my choices day in and day out fills me with confidence and keeps me on my toes.

2. Meeting and working with remarkable people. I feel like I've gotten to know some of the most interesting people in the world -- many of whom are entrepreneurs like myself. It's a fantastic community.

3. Limitless income potential. How much money you make is up to you.

4. Freedom. For me, the ability to live where I want and vacation as I please has been invaluable.

The bad

1. You'll put in more hours each week than anyone else you know. So you'd better be passionate about what you're doing. Every single entrepreneur I know works significantly more than 40 hours a week.

Related: 5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Burn Out and Quit

2. You'll always wonder about what you missed out on. Life is short. When you spend most of your time working, you miss out. It's that simple. When I read articles about work-life balance, I have to chuckle. It sounds like a great idea!

3. Stress. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. Because I'm so invested in my business, I can't help but let it get to me -- even though I know I shouldn't.

4. Becoming world-weary. If you aren't careful, you could lose your sense of wonder.

5. Lean times. Enduring years when paychecks are few and far between is all but inevitable.

6. You're always on call. Always.

7. Your personal relationships will suffer. For the aforementioned reasons, you have less of yourself to give.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur isn't an easy feat. It takes time, dedication, and above all, persistence. You are going to have to make sacrifices. You're going to go through ups and downs. Are you prepared for that?

Balance still eludes me, but I'm working on it.

Related: Passion, Freedom and Impact: The 3 Ingredients of Business Success

Stephen Key

Co-Founder of inventRight; Author of One Simple Idea Series

Stephen Key is an inventor, IP strategist, author, speaker and co-founder of inventRight, LLC, a Glenbrook, Nevada-based company that helps inventors design, patent and license their ideas for new products.

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