“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

I don’t know who said this quote, but it’s stuck with me for several years. There’s so much truth to it.

At first you might think becoming an entrepreneur or a business owner is all about the money. The dream is a 6-figure or 7-figure lifestyle — you know the ones that are glamorized on Instagram with nice cars and fancy resorts.

I know that’s why I originally saved the quote. But that’s not it!

Most entrepreneurs make less than their peers working in salaried jobs. There are a few entrepreneurs that make it big, but they’re not the average.

Money is not what sustains entrepreneurs to do what they do. Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle and it’s ultimate reward is freedom:

  • Freedom to build
  • Freedom to develop people and teams
  • Freedom to innovate
  • Freedom to cut your own path

It’s not an easy lifestyle, but it’s a rewarding one!

Compelled To Create

I spend a lot of time traveling and working with clients around the world. In the past month, I was developing brand strategies with clients in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

I was reflecting on my travels as I flew home last night, and I was struck by how entrepreneurs share a bond: We are compelled to create.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what language you speak, if you’re an entrepreneur you have this deeply ingrained feeling. It’s hard to put it into words, but it’s there.

Entrepreneurs create businesses, products, and brands that didn’t exist before them. They bring together talented, like-minded people. They build teams. They invest and innovate to realize their dreams. And they work and toil, often for years at a time, to make their vision a reality.

Entrepreneurs have an internal spark and tenacity that really drives them to create.

The Lifestyle Isn’t For Everyone

I often describe the life of an entrepreneur as manic: massive highs followed by crashing lows.

Ask any entrepreneur, and they’ll agree. It’s the life we choose. Building a business and a brand is a journey fraught with obstacles and challenges, but to overcome them is a delight.

Building an idea — whether it’s a business, product, brand, or a community — is a long hard journey.

We don’t have a crystal ball, and inevitably we fall down and fail over and over again. But this is all part of the process. As we try and fail, we learn and grow. And this forms the foundation to build a business.

Not everyone is cut out for this journey. There have been many days where I have dreamt of a nice salaried job with benefits. (Oh, how glorious that must be!) But I don’t. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Being an entrepreneur is who I am. It’s part of my identity and my purpose.

The compulsion to create is too powerful to give up. And seeing this struggle in other entrepreneurs reinforces this is why we do what we do.

Money Is a Result, Not a Purpose

The success many people witness with entrepreneurs is years in the making. You’ll often hear seasoned business owners say, “I am a twenty year overnight success.”

That’s a mind-blowing statement! In a world of instant gratification, twenty years is multiple lifetimes. To find success and get to that big pay day requires three things:

  • Purpose: You gotta know why you’re doing what you’re doing, every single day. Without purpose, you won’t the fortitude to get to any definition of success.
  • Creativity: Like I said above, entrepreneurs create. But it’s bigger than that. They find innovative and creative solutions to solve unmet needs. You don’t create immense success by doing what everyone else is doing. That’s called getting a job.
  • Resilience: You have to grind. Five, ten, twenty years — whatever it takes. To achieve your purpose, you’re going to have to outwork everyone around you.

If you have these three ingredients, you will be an incredibly successful entrepreneur. I guarantee it!

Entrepreneurs are compelled to build, and are then celebrated for their accomplishments. But the journey is as important for the entrepreneur as the results.

Being an entrepreneur affords you a lifestyle that many people will never experience. And it’s not all monetary. It’s freedom, creativity, ownership, and empowerment. These intangible results are worth far more than the all mighty dollar. You get to do things and create things that would just not be possible any other way.