The Way of The Entrepreneur

Today marks the conclusion of my five-part series on entrepreneurial freedom.

If you’ve missed any of the posts in the series, here they are in order:

1. The Four Freedoms of Entrepreneurship

This post talks about the four freedoms we all seek as entrepreneurs in order to live a fulfilled and meaningful career, and the introduction of the Freedom Equation. 

Freedom = (Finances + Work + Lifestyle) ÷ Location

2. Financial Freedom: Spartan or Athenian 

In the pursuit of your own version of freedom, you need to clarify what financial freedom means to you. This post contrasts two different viewpoints on financial freedom and poses the question of which viewpoint you should adopt.

3. Freedom of Work

Not all work is created equal. As you progress in your career as an entrepreneurial agency owner, the work you do has a geometric effect on your financial freedom variable. You’ll discover the #1 question you need ask yourself so that the work you do helps you achieve freedom.

4. A Tale of Two Locations

I’ve lived in both Chiang Mai, Thailand and San Francisco, USA. Both cities are conducive to attracting entrepreneurs, but for very different reasons. Should you live in a cheap city as you bootstrap your business or should you live in an expensive city with a high cost of living to force yourself to execute faster? Read the post and discover the answer.

Now, for today’s final post on entrepreneurial freedom.

The Currency Of Freedom

Freelancers.

Independent Consultants.

Agency Owners.

At the core of each role is entrepreneurship.

Those who start their own ventures and sell their own work (or as Seth Godin says “art”) do so for one reason: Freedom.

No one quits their cozy 9-5 job to start their own business doing more of the same.

Could you imagine taking all that risk but still doing the same work routine where you clock in, get coffee and sit at your cubicle replying to emails?

Or to continue with the same work banter complaining about clients or other employees (“sounds like Keith’s got a case of the Mondays!”).

When you give up on receiving a steady paycheck every two weeks and a 3% annual salary increase in the name of freedom, you’ve officially made the jump into entrepreneurship.

The core of all four freedoms is entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is the currency of freedom for those of us dissatisfied with the status-quo.

The Lifestyle Of An Entrepreneur Versus An Employee

Look up the word “lifestyle” in the Merriam Webster dictionary and you’ll find the following definition:

Lifestyle (noun) – the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture

Any choice you make in business brings on an associated lifestyle. But that’s where the similarities end.

Entrepreneurs set their own schedules, priorities, and goals.

Employees are told they need to be at their desk from 9-5, what their work priorities are, and what goals to meet at the next annual performance review.

The lifestyle of an entrepreneur is self-directed.

The lifestyle of an employee is prescribed.

The way of life of an entrepreneur is about creating unique value that only you and your team can produce. It’s about putting your name out there in front of hundreds, thousands, and maybe millions who are waiting to reject your “art”, your venture, or your project. All in the hope of finding your true fans before the money runs out.

The way of life of an employee is about getting that next paycheck, maintaining a stable lifestyle, and minimizing risk.

Entrepreneurship = Lifestyle Of Risk

If you’re an entrepreneur, then you embrace the risk of rejection as part of your lifestyle.

The entrepreneur knows that at any time they can fail, or be rejected.

But it only takes one success to erase thousands of failures.

Thomas Edison knew it when he famously said:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

The greatest entrepreneurs are those who learn from their failures and move forward until success becomes inevitable.

Yet even when financial success does come, entrepreneurs love the work so much they still do it.

Work As A Way Of Life For Entrepreneurs

Most entrepreneurs, even after they’ve achieved financial freedom, still work every day.

Mark Cuban is worth over $3 billion dollars and yet his “morning meditation”  is his work.

“Business is my morning meditation. Business is what I like. I get up and I work immediately. I love doing this” – Mark Cuban.

For an entrepreneur, work is essential to freedom. Because your work aims to make the world a better place.

Even when an entrepreneur strikes it rich, many of them will work, work, and work.

Work is not a chore. Work is a lifestyle.

The lifestyle of an entrepreneur buys a whole lot of freedom, but the drive to work never goes away. That means living a life facing failures, rejection, and naysayers as you forge forward to the life you envision.

The mansions, Lambo’s, and other toys are just byproducts of getting things right after thousands of failed attempts. The byproducts of having the discipline to deliver work every day, and the desire to make an impact on the world.

That is the way of the entrepreneur. That is the freedom we all seek.

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