Are you an entrepreneur? Have you envisioned yourself an entrepreneur? The opportunity to be your own boss certainly has enormous appeal.

EntrepreneurThere are as many reasons to start your own business as there are entrepreneurs. But based on my recent LinkedIn and Facebook query and feedback, it seems that the most prevalent reasons are (1) the desire for freedom and autonomy, (2) to life a life consistent with one’s purpose and passion, and (3) leveraging a great business opportunity and bringing something new and valued to the market.

Obviously, an entrepreneur can find motivation and value in all three of these broad categories. When I started my first business, more than 25 years ago, my reasons were grounded and balanced in all three of these categories.

As a young woman who was intent on being successful, I felt my corporate job had prejudices and anchors that were weighing and slowing me down from advancing. Although my bosses had more “experience” than I did, I found it difficult to “challenge the process,” and offer up alternatives.   I perceived “opportunities for advancement” favored tenure and experience. So, I left my corporate job and with purpose and passion started my own business, providing support services to financial institutions.

I small headshot of Deborah Bateman.Deborah Bateman brings over 40 years of experience in business, philanthropy, and the boardroom. She inspires others to seek their truth, open their hearts and minds, and experience the power and abundance life has to offer when lived authentically.

For me, being an entrepreneur was 24/7. I worked long hours. I worked on weekends and holidays. I surpassed my “corporate” salary and compensation within the first six months of my new endeavor. But, even when I had project in-progress and money in the bank, I could not allow myself to relax. I was always focused on the acquisition of the next contract.

I found my work to be exciting and intellectually stimulating. My greatest strength was the ability to create solutions, and effectively provide value to my clients.

On the other hand, my greatest weakness was the ability to balance my work demands with my personal life. My perceived ideal to create freedom and autonomy never seem to materialize.

After seven years as a entrepreneur, the economy and the deregulation of the banking industry arrived and created material impacts to my clients and my business. I found myself at the proverbial fork in the road, faced with the need to transform my business, create new services, and expand my footprint. In order to go forward with my once thriving business, I was going to have to invest additional money and time – in order to persevere.

Stressed entrepreneuerConcurrent with my analysis of my ongoing business plan, one of my clients offered me an exciting opportunity. I assessed my two options, and I returned to the corporate world.

Today, 20 years later – I am, again, an entrepreneur. I have a wonderful product that will add value to others, and I am aligned with my purpose. And, this time, it is my intention to mindfully managing my freedom and autonomy.

But owning your own business is not an option for everyone. It takes sacrifice, intense drive and a willingness to take risks. Those who are entrepreneurs know that it is not all glamour, and there are real risks and sacrifices that not everyone talks about.

What about you? What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur? And, what have you found to be the most challenging?

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