The Finding That Next Gear Blog

My Entrepreneurial Journey- the good, the bad, and the ugly

Entrepreneurship is an interesting “occupation”. It’s one of those career choices/paths where most people think you are utterly insane, overly optimistic and foolish, or they applaud your boldness and bravery, all while secretly hoping you fail 😉 …The amount of negativity that I had to overcome (my own included) prior to launching my company was uncanny.  Everyone I spoke to seemed to have a very strong opinion on what I should or shouldn’t do, and most of the “shouldn’t’ do’s” involved either not starting a business at all, or at least not starting the business I was passionate about.  Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and I jumped out anyways and started a business around what I was good at (connecting people) and more importantly passionate about.

Since the beginning of this journey, I have wanted to chronicle my experience giving people real and raw insight into the plight of the entrepreneur, not the puff pieces you see on social media.  The last, almost three years, have flown by and been a much tougher, longer, and more expensive journey than I ever thought possible. While I wouldn’t change the decision and how everything has played out, there are a few things I would have done differently…to be covered another time

Below you will find a few of the pluses and minuses I have encountered over the last couple of years…

The Good-

  • Fulfillment in my previous career began to wan in my early 30’s and left something to be desired. I always liked what I did, but had lost my passion so knew a change had to be made. While not an easy road, I really enjoy what I do and am fulfilled career wise
  • My personal life and overall quality of life has been increased substantially. I am able to spend more time with my family and am generally more present.  Of course there are sacrifices that are made in order to accomplish this, like putting in extra hours in the early morning, nights, and weekends in order to make up for lost time
  • I get to meet interesting people and play a part in solving mission critical problems. I love entrepreneurship and having a platform where I can truly make an impact resonates with me to my core
  • My future and success lay solely in my hands, versus an executive team that is out of touch and makes nonsensical decisions that negatively affect me and my team. Now I have the ability to vet if a business opportunity makes sense for my business or not

The Bad-

  • Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and isolating.  This has actually been the most surprising realization of my journey.  While I get to meet a lot of new people, no one can truly relate to what you are experiencing aside from other entrepreneurs
  • Moving the needle takes a tremendous amount of effort.  I am heavily involved in each decision that is made and sometimes the actual delivery.  While I outsource what I can, being so involved in each decision can stymy progress, even with the most mundane of tasks
  • With so many priorities and initiatives, it can be tough to prioritize what is the most important and in what order items should be tackled. As such, I have found it super easy to work on low priority items that don’t necessarily add value…this is not a positive thing
  • Starting a company from scratch is not easy (I totally see why people buy franchises)… A start-up, by its very essence has no brand equity. So establishing a customer base is both critical and extremely hard…It takes a lot of testing, patience, and confidence that you are not in fact insane

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but totally worth it for those that are interested.  There is no lack of sleepless nights so you need to continuously remind yourself to keep hustling and most importantly, why you are putting yourself through this journey in the first place.

To all those that are considering venturing out on your own, keep fighting the good fight and take a concrete step forward today! I’d love to hear from you.

Beau Billington is the founder of the Free Agent, a consulting company immersed in the strategic-layer of the Gig Economy

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