The 4 Delusions of Entrepreneurs

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Ask an aspiring entrepreneur why they’d kill to make the jump and, without fail, four of the top 5 reasons will be:

  • Freedom
  • Control
  • Money
  • Passion

They dream of working their own hours, not having to report to “the Man,” skipping though fields of money, loving what they do every moment of every day and changing the world. All great aspirations.

Question is –

How much is real, and how much is outright fantasy?

Let’s take a deeper look at the 4 big entrepreneurial motivations, bust a few myths and open a few eyes:

1. Freedom.

First let’s break it down. What do people mean when they say freedom? Sometimes they mean geographic freedom or what people have come to know as the ability to be location independent. Sometimes they mean financial freedom. Sometimes it’s the freedom to do what they love. And, other times it’s freedom from a fixed schedule. Or, not having to follow the orders of a boss. Either way, there’s a lot of myth here.

Geographic freedom – If the type of business you are drawn to creating is largely online and the places you’d like to travel to and work from are wi-fi’d up, there’s a good chance the dream of location independence can be real. This was a big theme in Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Workweek. And, Lea Woodward, takes it a step deeper in her blog, But, you’ve gotta be realistic. Many other types of businesses that seem to have potential for location independence, upon deeper analysis, don’t. Or, at the very least, the logistical challenges and stress created by them would make it not worth the effort.

Also, if you’re drawn to brick and mortar, especially face-to-face service driven businesses (which, oddly enough, I am), location independence becomes a bit of a myth. You still need to find and locate yourself where the people who are desperate for your solutions work, play and live. Put another way, if you want to surf the big waves, you’ve to go to the ocean. It won’t come to you.

Financial freedom – Okay, how do I answer this. Many entrepreneurs do experience a certain degree of financial freedom, translated roughly as the ability to generate enough consistent money to live well in the world and step away here and there, knowing things won’t crash and burn. But, truth is, with rare exception, the key to the financial freedom doors only open after you’ve stepped up and said, “here’s a massive chunk of my own blood, sweat, tears and money. I am willing to put it at risk and potentially even watch it evaporate into thin air.” And, if you’re entrepreneurial jones leads you down the brick and mortar path, you may also find yourself on the hook for a lot of high fixed monthly costs.

That’s all cool, I’ve lived that burden for a lot of years, especially before much of my efforts moved online. The benefits for me far outweighed the risks and because I’m fairly risk tolerance and passion-driven, I’ve found ways to work through the ebb and flow of entrepreneurial anxiety that always comes.

But, it’s important to go into it knowing that you may well have to put significant money at risk for an extended period of time before you get that warm and fuzzy feeling we like to call financial freedom. This is one of the reasons, most of the people I interviewed for Career Renegade ended up “legging into” their entrepreneurial journey, building on the side, while they still had consistent cash supporting the family until the entrepreneurial venture had proven itself and was generating money.

And, like above, if there’s a way to migrate much of your entrepreneurial jones online, it’s very often way easier and faster to launch, requires you to place far less money at risk and can often move into the black much more quickly.

Freedom to do what you love, work when you want to and not be under the thumb of “The Man” – Much of this is true. You do have a lot more freedom to build your daily activities and long-term vision around passion-driven activities or causes. And, you do have much more control over what you do or don’t do and when you work or take time off.

BUT, reality check, even when you’re an entrepreneur…you still always work for someone else. Your customer or client. Doing what you love doesn’t mean people will line up to pay for your efforts. You’ve got to find the sweet spot between what makes you come alive and what people are willing to pay for. Because, in the end, you always serve someone. And, if you’re not making them happy, you’re not paying your bills.

Same goes for setting your schedule. You may choose and industry where regular hours don’t matter. But, if you want to own a restaurant or retail shop, guess what, those are 7 day a week, 16 hour a day businesses. You don’t get to choose. Here, again, if you’re interests can be satisfied through online entrepreneurship, you still have to find the passion/hunger sweet spot, but you may well have substantially more freedom in where and when you work and the world becomes your market.

2. Control.

This really ties in closely with the discussion about freedom. Because freedom implies a greater opportunity to CONTROL your own destiny, how and where you work, who decides what and when. But, as we’ve seen above, just because you’ve put yourself in the perceived role of top dog in your business doesn’t mean you really are. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, you need to get paid. That means, you need to create a service or product other people value and are willing to exchange money for. And, you need to offer it in a way that is appealing enough to facilitate the sale.

So, do entrepreneurs have more control than lower-level employees, especially in larger organizations?

Very likely yes. Because every layer that lies between you and the ultimate customer is a layer that removes an element of control. But, don’t delude yourself into thinking that when you’re at the top of your business you will have ultimate control. There will always be one person above you. And, that’s you customer.

3. Money.

We’ve talked about money above as well. You may well have the opportunity to generate substantially more cash as an entrepreneur, but not always. And, remember, a fundamental truth in business is that great rewards almost always come as the result of great risk.

We’ve seen that equation degrading more and more and people better understand how to leverage the online world, especially in the context of commodotizing and selling knowledge. But the more traditional your idea, the more likely it is you’ll need to place real money at risk in order to have the opportunity for to get real money back.

And, there will, without fail, be challenges along the way. Times you just want to walk away. Times you wished for…gulp…a consistent paycheck, so you could sleep at night. Even when, most of the time, you love what you do and you still believe in your greater purpose.

Realize, too, it’s important to lead NOT with the quest for money, but with passion. Because the quest for money won’t get you through the dips, while the quest for mad passion may. Then, work like crazy and, if needed, innovative to create unconventional ways to generate an income around the activities, culture and communities that make you come alive.

And, one last thing, there’s a lot of talk these days about setting up supposed “passive streams of income.” Before you dive headlong into that pursuit, you might want to explore the truth about passive income, especially as it relates to making passive income from blogging.

And, if you’re looking for solid advice on about the closest you can come to this vision online, you may want to explore the intersection between your passion and non-smarmy ways to make money online and have a real life by checking out people like Glen Allsopp, Chris Guiilebeau, Brian Clark and Lynn Terry. They have great information and resources in this area.

4. Cause/Passion.

No doubt, for me, one of the greatest elements of entrepreneurship is the ability to pursue a passion or cause. Something capable of serving others, having a profound impact and making me come alive. That very quest, in fact, is often the purest fuel behind the most successful entrepreneurs. In fact a recent study of pentamillionaires found that most were driven not by money, but by passion or the quest to solve a pervasive problem.

BUT, it’s also critically important to explore how you are going to leverage that quest, that passion, that cause into a business and venture that is capable of generating enough cash to live well in the world and, if necessary, support a family. Sometimes there’s a readily available answer. Often times there’s not, and that’s where you have to get hyper-creative. In fact, I wrote Career Renegade largely to answer the question, “how do I take a normally moneyless passion and wrap a living around it?”

Realize, too, that, in every professional venture, be it writing, creating a product, building a company or offering a service, there will be times you get to do what you love…and times you are forced to do what you hate. I’ve taught 100 people in a sweaty, vibing, blissed out yoga class, only to find myself cleaning toilets 20 minutes later, because in the early days of a business, I did every job. It makes it better that you’re on a mission…but cleaning toilets is still cleaning toilets.

What about the giant benefit nobody talks about?

In light of all the challenges laid out above, I am still a huge proponent of entrepreneurship. In part, because of everything I just shared, but there’s one giant benefit most people never focus on. As an entrepreneur, I get to create the culture and pick the people I surround myself with

We don’t often realize how mission critical the people we surround ourselves with are in our ability to not only thrive in business, but feel fulfilled or just love every day. In the brick and mortar businesses I’ve built, I’ve taken years to build families of people, from managers to services providers to receptionists and volunteers, who are the very people who make ME come alive. And, I’ve taken it a step further and become insanely selective with what vendors I work with and who I take on as customers, students and clients.

Because, the nature of the people you surround yourself with everyday will have a profound impact on the way you experience your life. That’s why, when I’ve realized I’ve made bad decisions, I’ve not only fired employees, I’ve also fired vendors and clients.

You cannot pay me enough to take someone else’s money when I know the interaction with that person will end up sucking the life out of me.

People matter more than you realize. So, if you choose to follow the entrepreneurial path, make them a priority.

Realize, too, entrepreneurship CAN happen WITHIN the walls of a company or organization you don’t own. I’m a big believer in larger companies fostering empowered, innovation-driven entrepreneurial pockets and projects. It’s rare, but if you have an entrepreneurial jones but would really rather work within the support structure and tap the resources of a larger entity, work to find one that supports and empowers original thought, innovation, service and freedom.

Entrepreneurship can be an immensely rewarding life, especially when things go right.

But, make no mistake, rewarding does not mean easy, certain or stress-free.

So, if you choose to enter the waters, do so with your eyes open.


Awakened Shout Out – This week, I’m following the lead of my friend, Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project blog and now #1 NY Times Bestselling author (woooohooooo!!!). Here and there, I’ll be ending posts with a brief Awakened Shout Out to people who are doing cool things in the world or resources you guys should know about.

This week, I’ve been reading Dani Shapiro’s beautiful new book, Devotion, that explores big questions of spirituality, parenting and faith on a personal, real-world level. I met Dani recently at a small gathering of writer-types a few weeks back, she’s very cool, genuine and man can she write. Give it a read.

Also, just got off Skype with Ishita Gupta, who some may know as Seth Godin’s Head of Hoopla, but she’s working on a very cool project on being fearless called Fear.Less that’s about to launch soon. You can get a feel for it over at


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49 responses

49 responses to “The 4 Delusions of Entrepreneurs”

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by remarkablogger: RT @jonathanfields The Entrepreneur Test: Are You Delusional? (pls RT)…

  2. Holy cow man you hit it on the head with this post! So absolutely true! My own experiences when stepping into the work for yourself world weren’t terribly delusional but I believe I certainly had some unreal expectations.

    It certainly doesn’t help when there are Ton’s of marketers out there making it seem like it’s all cotton candy and care bears easy starting a business from home or otherwise. However I AM seeing a lot more transparency and realism entering into the market on setting peoples expectations. Your post is a very refreshing & transparent reality that people should pay attention to.

    I’ll be RT’ing, bookmarking and emailing this post to lots of people I know. Thank you for nailing it.

  3. Lisis says:

    Your point about “The Man” is spot on. When you are in business for yourself, your customers become “The Man”, and you are as much a slave to them as you were to the old boss.

    My dad was, by all reasonable standards, a successful entrepreneur. I learned a few things from his experience:

    1. You think about the business 24/7. Every moment is a working moment, and every person you meet is a potential network contact. Every vacation is a working vacation, which is OK, if you like that sort of thing.

    2. Your passion to conquer the world on your own ends up engulfing the whole family… whether they like it or not. Why is your freedom more important than theirs?

    3. A traditional career, working set hours for someone else (who lives with the 24/7 stress), can be very liberating, since your free time is 100% free and clear.

    I love your final point on this article, which emphasizes that either path could be the right one. The simplistic notion that being an entrepreneur means freedom and untold riches is a bit misleading, to say the least.

  4. Michael says:

    Love those four, Jonathan.

    Passion/Cause is a big one for me, what with my drive to help people do more Great Work.

    But truthfully, control is a huge part of it too. I realized that I never got on with my bosses… so really had to be an entrepreneur to be happy

  5. Daniel says:

    Heya Jon,

    Hope ya remembered me. Had commented a few times and read up on your book Career Renegade (twice). I think I’ve finally got it right with the whole entrepreneurship thing.

    Gotta say that I was once caught up with the entire stuff about financial freedom and aspirations to creating “the next big thing”, until … reality caught up with me.

    Jan 2010 (yes, it was just a few weeks ago), having almost going for broke (got terminated by another job again), was hungry and ended up driving all efforts into creating one brand new website to drive online sales for an offline product / service.

    It became an instant hit with 1st batch of sales came in by day 3. 🙂

    Who knew that I’d be in the food business today?

    And since mid Jan, I’ve replicated the same “formula” (if it’s even considered as one) to 3 sites — my parents’ existing business — and … I’m now working towards the launch of a new one. 😉

    To share, I’m now dealing with wholesale BBQ in Singapore (the one that caught us off guard, now an award winning product for 2009/2010), and the latest one is called AGrowthMedia, providing web media solutions in Singapore (3 more pages of copy to done!).

    5 sites in 1 month. I think it’s pretty neat.

    I’d say that I’m in for the passion. Growing from “very small” — had like S$200 (US$140) when all these started (including food, domains and web hosting) — and seeing every single one of them getting income to place food on the table the next day is a tremendous blessing.

    Perhaps control also plays a part. I’m a type of person who doesn’t like reading another piece of email that says “please change” in the subject header and a “11 points” of stuff to change (some of the things to change were changes from the previous change).

    And maybe the passive thing comes in too. I’m getting a lower part of the profits as I just work in the background, while sharing with people I meet face to face when I’m out in public about the stuff that I’m doing. My friend would be getting the higher portion of the profits for doing the active work and liaising with the customers.

    To sum it up, it’s the fulfillment of bearing positive results while allowing our customers be happy sharing the word of our business out to their friends—it’s totally amazing. 🙂

  6. Salma says:

    Right now with a financial crunch having a stranglehold on me and a family to feed, i still couldn’t bring myself to work again for a regular paycheck. It’s been a helluva 2 years and i don’t know when it’ll get better. I just know it will. I’m doing what I love and I’m building my business, one slow excruciatingly ecstatic step at a time. Perhaps I’m naive, perhaps an idiot, perhaps just driven – but to follow my passion and experience all of the highs and lows that come with being an entrepreneur is a feeling i wouldn’t trade. Your article Jonathan is a gem. And thank you especially for this sentence: “here’s a massive chunk of my own blood, sweat, tears and money. I am willing to put it at risk and potentially even watch it evaporate into thin air.”

  7. Ali R. Khan says:

    I’m aspiring Entrepreneur. After reading Your full article, I was thinking about my Drive of being Entrepreneur and I realized that I have more then one motivation for being a Entrepreneur.

    First, I want Freedom, all kind of Free, Financial or Geo.

    Second, Control also Motivates Me to be an entrepreneur.

    Third, I also want to Make Money.

    Lastly, I’ve Passion to be Entrepreneur.

    but Most Important element of being Entrepreneur is Creating or doing something of VALUE.

    @Daniel: Your story really Inspires and I’m also Planning to start a Local Clothing business with combination of Online Marketing.

    Great Blog post on EntrepreneurShip.

  8. This chimes with me on a number of levels. I am a part-time entrepreneur that ticks some of the boxes you mention but I am also lucky with a day job which is on the whole empowering – but this is a result of alot of hard work. In reality I find when I am most challenged (read irritated) by my job it is because I need to learn something about myself rather than I need to quit and avoid challenging situations that make me feel uncomfortable. Even if this isn’t true I find it an enriching belief to have 🙂

  9. I would really LIKE to make a lot more money than I make now, and I do plan to be able to travel and work.

    But the biggest reason I want to be an entrepreneur is meaning. I want every bit of work I do to be driven by meaning and purpose. I spend far too much of my time and the day job with busywork and sitting at my desk because I’m supposed to be here. The biggest freedom would be to spend the same time creating, building, relating and serving people!

  10. Joe Jacobi says:

    Loved this post, Jonathan. Since I’ve been in the workforce for a few months now, I completely agree that entrepreneurship can happen with the walls of a company/organization that you don’t own. You have to deeply believe in the cause and objectives and if you do, the creative juices are going to flow. As for the “giant benefit that nobody talks about,” more challenging working for someone else for sure but the opportunity to surround yourself with good people is always there.

  11. Brandon W says:

    Jonathan has a point, but I’d also recommend reading “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber. Somewhere between busting your ass and sitting on the beach is a middle ground you can probably figure out by reading both books. Tim Ferriss’s “4 Hour WorkWeek” has some worthwhile thoughts and suggestions on how to outsource parts of that system, once you’ve created it. I wouldn’t dismiss any of them wholesale, as they all have their proper time and place.

    • Brandon W says:

      Another book worth considering is “Cashflow Quadrants” by Robert Kiyosaki. I’d skip his first book and go right to this one. Along with a pretty good discussion of proper-mindset, the short of it is that there are 4 ways to earn money: (E)mployee, (S)elf-employed, (B)usiness owner, and (I)nvestor. (E) and (S) are trading time for money. (B) owns a system that generates income. (I) earns income off investment which generally requires you to generate significant excess income first.

      Leap over to Gerber’s book, and you see how (S) can be converted to (B).

      So in effect, Jonathan’s book is (E) to (S), Gerber explains the concept of (S) to (B), and Ferriss will explain how to be a (B) in the modern, globalized economy. Once you have the excess income, you can go to (I).

      Each step has it’s value.

      • That’s great advice Brandon! I think it’s really important to understand the difference between self-employed and business-owner. It’s one I’m really waking up to in my own life, considering my father has more of a self-employed business… ala Gerber “working in the business”.

        Definitely lots of great examples online and on sites like Jonathan’s here, as well as his book! 🙂

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Brandon,

      I’ve read pretty much everything Michael Gerber’s written, but there are some thing’s about the E-myth approach that don’t sit well with me. One of them is that it’s based on the assumption that you’ll be equally fulfilled by management/oversight tasks as you will by being into the creative/product/service-development aspect of the business. For some people this is true, for others, it’ll allow them to spend less time IN the biz, but WHAT they are doing becomes substantially less appealing and makes the whole idea of being in business less appealing and less passion-driven. It’s more about building a business you can step away from, instead of a business you can’t imagine ever wanting to leave.

      • Brandon W says:

        That’s a valid point. What I take from Gerber is the idea that you can systemize a business so that you can hand off whatever you don’t want to do. In this respect, it’s not so different from Ferriss. No one says you have to give up the creative development side of the business; in fact, I think that would be fatal to the business. Instead, use systemization and employees (or outsourcers) working that system to free your time to do as much creative development as you can (or want). The other part of systemization is that it lets you grow the business beyond your personal limitations: both by letting others more capable of certain jobs/details handle them, and by multiplying your time. In the beginning it makes sense to take on as much as you can, personally, to minimize startup cost and to decide the most effective way to build your system. You never have to give up the passion in your business, but to grow it and make it manageable you eventually need to let others grind through the details so you can focus on the fun stuff (and have family and friends!). Eventually, someone else needs to take over the cleaning of the toilets.

        • Jonathan Fields says:

          Challenge is, B, this works in theory much better than it works in reality. Th E-myth is really about pulling yourself out of the role of artist or technician and into the role of business owner, entrepreneur or investor. His model doesn’t work with you staying what would be perceived to be at the eBottom. So, if you happen to discover you have an equally strong jones for entrepreneurship, management, oversight and complexity and you’re comfortable being the final say and having your money on the line in the context of a bigger, more complex venture, that’s cool. It very well may work for you.

          Rare is the coder, painter, craftsperson, musician or other technicial or artist where this is true. I’m not saying it’s impossoble to pull it off by remaining the artists and building systems around you, it’s just extremely rare that it ever happens. Theory is one thing, life is another. I think I’m going to go deeper on this in a full post, though, so stay tuned.

  12. Shane Mac says:

    My favorite point is this,

    “People matter more than you realize. So, if you choose to follow the entrepreneurial path, make them a priority.”

    Sometimes with all this technology and automation we forget that life, business, and everything we do is built around the relationships we build. Build Bridges.

    Glad I found you,
    Shane Mac

  13. Gordie says:

    I agree with Brandon. I think Lifestyle Design is maturing and people are expanding it’s definition to not just mean doing very little work, while traveling and generating tons of passive income. I think that when starting your business, one should at least try to see if it’s scalable and that it has the potential to be run without you in future while still generating income for you.

    You’re right about passion being key to get you through the hard times when money is tight. If money is your sole motivation, then you’re likely to give up much sooner.

  14. Nice post. Made me a little uncomfortable reading it whic is always a good sign.

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  16. Morten Juul says:

    Great post. Regarding your four reasons above, the most important (as you yourself state) is without a doubt that you have passion for what you’re doing. You could be driven by money and succeed, but you’d probably find that you’d be failing in (many) other areas. “Control”, “Freedom” and “Money” are all interconnected and not what should be the main driving force of the machine. You need to reach a certain level of control, freedom and money, sure, but there’ll always be that next stage of more control, more freedom, more money. This shouldn’t be understood in a negative sense though, as long as the passion is there, the other driving forces can be almost anything.

  17. “I get to create the culture and pick the people I surround myself with”

    That is the one that outweighs all the others for me and makes it possible to keep plugging when the money’s not there, I sometimes work when I’d rather not or on things I don’t love quite so much.

    It’s the one I can have absolute control over because I never ever have to work with someone I don’t want, as long as I’m willing to surrender a portion of one other from the list (usually money.) I’ll never make that trade, working for/with someone I don’t like just to take their money.

  18. adil says:

    nice post. halfway through it, I was wondering whether you were being too pessimistic, but you won it back round with the final comment. it’s all about the people. funnily enough, in our end of year review – i concluded on the same point. the truth was that it was hard work, that sometimes you don’t feel in control, that the money isn’t there without the risk, but the best bit, without doubt is surrounding yourself with people who make you feel better and look better. increasingly, I see that as my role, to unleash the spirit and talents of the staff, creating an entrepreneurial culture (rather than relying on an entrepreneurial individual – me). nice read.

  19. The thing is that we are all entrepreneurs – we just do not like to admit it. We are getting rewarded for with money for providing services. Is that not a business transaction?

    Here is how I see an employee should look at the four points..

    As an employee do we get freedom? No – but truth is many entrepreneurs do not get freedom either. Many who start their businesses are trapped just as many who work for “The Man”. But if the employee works the system and applies some of the “4-Hour Work Week” ideas – they might just get more freedom than many of the entrepreneurs I know.

    As an employee do I get control? Well, probably not. At the very least it is limited and subject to the amount of influence you get with the bosses. (Do not translate that as the loved corporate terms “brown nosing” – I mean influence from adding value). But, for many entrepreneurs control is NOT really what they want – they just think it is. Sometimes control and profit are 180 degrees apart. I might want to run my art business providing paintings – but I might have to realize the customer wants something else. So you are back to the value proposition and they influence game – which both employee and entrepreneur can get. One just gets paid to get the influence and the other pays (advertising and PR) to get the influence.

    As an employee do I get more money? Careful here. While owning your own business can make you look stinking rich, truth is many are not. I know a lot of small business owners who look very successful – but take home less than $60k per year. And given their skills, they could make more if they were NOT the boss. But, you said it – passion is the key no matter how you play the game.

    As an employee do I get to chase my passion! Often! The number of people who just love their jobs shocks me. I know, the stats do not support this as the majority – but I continue to meet smart and energetic people who COULD make something happen as an entrepreneur who instead love what they do working for the man.

    I just wanted to offer the counter view. Like I think you are pointing out in the post – many aspiring entrepreneurs do not know the facts! But I still lean to the entrepreneur. To me something is motivating an energetic about the game – but you must know the TRUTH and forget the idealist view – which you have done a wonderful job of pointing out.

    And for another counter view – I see a lot of people with incredible passion but they resist the idea of doing it for a living because they do not want to be enslaved by their passion. They think doing what they love for money will kill the passion. I have yet to determine if this is fear talking – or just good judgment on their part. This is especially true of the younger gen coming out of high school and college right now.

    Any ideas on that one?

  20. Laurie says:

    I LOVE being an entrepreneur! While I don’t have a brick and mortar business, I don’t always work at home either. During my busy season (which is right now), I go into schools and do science presentations. During the summer and the early fall, I am working on other aspects of my business at home. As far as money, my company has been in the black for a while now and we are just in our second school year. I’m still not making all that much because I am still reinvesting into the company. Because of that, we are growing nicely. I really believe that our presentations hit a huge need in a really innovative way. It’s the outside of the box thinking that has really helped us offer a product that no one else offers. We are very blessed.

  21. Sean Aiken says:

    Great post Jonathan!

    Should be required reading for every college entrepreneurship class.

  22. As someone who has had the entrepreneur streak for as long as I can remember I can attest to the accuracy of some of the points you outline.

    – stick it to the man. Yes you can stick it to your boss, but in the real world of business relations you can strike potential problem people who will try and control you, be a general nuisance etc.

    Lisis said:

    “3. A traditional career, working set hours for someone else (who lives with the 24/7 stress), can be very liberating, since your free time is 100% free and clear.”

    I think for some people (probably the majority) a job is a better fit than a business.

  23. Randy Mejias says:

    Great post, found it through a tweet.

    Those top 4 reasons are exactly how I originally perceived entrepreneurship. I’ve learned a lot since then, though I still have these goals in mind, they are with much more realistic perspectives.

    My current biggest reason for wanting to be a full time entrepreneur is to get away from “The Man”. I work in a huge office and every day have experiences that make me want to get out, but I know switching jobs will just end up in the same routine over time. I also have no passion for the kind of jobs that involve a cubical.

    Even though doing my own thing is a lot of work and won’t be the easy path, it’s one I’d much rather dedicate myself to.

  24. Right on point. For me it was the freedom to be a mom and not have my kids raised by someone else. and of course make my own hours and location, etc.

    You offer a good view of the reality of entrepreneurship and not just the glitz. “there will be times you get to do what you love…and times you are forced to do what you hate.” is so true. Welcome to life.

  25. […] 4 Delusions of Entrepreneurs This is a re-post of Jonathan Fields Blogpost. Here Jonathan helps to dispel many of the common misconceptions about going it alone. I […]

  26. Jacinta says:

    This is a great post – going out on your own is hard work and often not as much fun or financially rewarding as being on wages. Its good if people are made aware that the grass is not always greener.

  27. Steve Errey says:

    What really jumped out at me was this:

    You cannot pay me enough to take someone else’s money when I know the interaction with that person will end up sucking the life out of me.

    Bang on the money Jonathan. I just ended a contract with a growing marketing agency in London for the simple reason that there was virtually nothing for me to do. They were paying me handsomely, but I was bored to tears and going out of my mind as a result.

    I could have shut up and continued to take the money, but I know that I’d end up as a smaller person if I did that.

    You gotta go to the edges, particularly as an entrepreneur (or intrapreneur) – that’s where stuff happens.

  28. Hilary Young says:

    I’ve worked ridiculously for others and will continue for myself. My passion will be totally appreciated, by me! Life is and the only ideal environment is the one we create. Entrepreneuralism demands a high self-esteem and love for the product, such is life and

  29. My old job felt like it was “sucking the life out of me” — that’s why I had to get out of there. It was not so much one individual, but the negative attitudes of the majority of the people that I worked with.

    Working from home was the best decision I could have ever made… I choose who I want to work with (and who I don’t want to work with) and I don’t let negativity enter my life!

    Don’t get me wrong, my life is not problem free, but I look at my problems as opportunities and continue forward. I have my eyes on the big picture and that keeps me on track and on target.

  30. […] comment reminded of Jonathan Fields’ article from a few weeks ago, “The Delusions of Entrepreneurs,” in which he explored what made so many of the trappings of entrepreneurship a bit more myth […]

  31. I have to agree that all four really are myths. Working for a sage large employer arguably leads to more freedom, finacial security, etc. But thee is one great example in my book: it’s all on you. If you succeed it’s because of you. Of you fail it’s because of you.

  32. […] While the payoff potential is greater, the investment is far steeper — sometimes at great cost to the rest of your life. Any new entrepreneur needs to understand than before diving into the […]

  33. Tom Mrak says:


    Great article as usual.

    I think there is a fine line between being crazy enough to take risks, and being delusional.

    There are no guarantees in life any more.

    I’m driven by the motivation that this is something I need to do so that even if I don’t make it, I can live with myself for having done so. My big thing is, there isn’t enough creativity in this world.

    Our culture has become too focused on procedure, rules, and logic. None of these are bad, but we’re really obsessed as a society.

  34. […] While the payoff potential is greater, the investment is far steeper — sometimes at great cost to the rest of your life. Any new entrepreneur needs to understand than before diving into the […]

  35. Maulik says:

    Can u tell me what are the Least appealing about being an Entrepreneur…?

  36. Maria Brophy says:

    My husband and I have our own business – he’s an artist and we license his art and sell his paintings for a living.

    One of the reasons I left my old high-paying corporate job was for Freedom to travel anytime I’d like.

    I am so glad to no longer be a cubicle drone! I travel anytime I’d like, sometimes we go overseas for 2 months at a time, and my husband and I spend quality time with our son and surf anytime we’d like.

    Sure, we work hard at times, but we set our own hours and have complete freedom. We aren’t wealthy, but we do quite well and our lives are as rich as can be.

    I guess it sounds like I’m bragging, but really I just want to inspire others to know that they CAN live the way they want.

    It’s lifestyle by design. You just have to give up some old programming in the brain to be able to make it happen.

  37. […] While the payoff potential is greater, the investment is far steeper — sometimes at great cost to the rest of your life. Any new entrepreneur needs to understand than before diving into the […]

  38. Freedom is the reason why I am starting up a company. Many employees get frustrated with the lack of respect and lack of listening.

  39. Natan says:

    I love the part about making people a priority, so true. A lot of first-timers don’t really view their business as an actual business. It’ll always be about the reader and the hardest thing for a marketer to accomplish is learning how to leverage themselves to benefit and serve others, not the other way around.

  40. Jimmy Sim says:

    More time and freedom is what everyone wants.
    We all have the choice to choose who we want to be and what we want to be 🙂

    Good luck everyone!

  41. TJ Mollahan says:

    Well put, people so often have their eye on the prize and lose sight of what is in front of them. These “Delusions” are no more evident than in the small business failure rate. The thoughts of freedom, control, and money push someone to start pursuing their passion only to lead them down a path of disappointment and failure. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, just realistic which is why I appreciate you taking the time to spell this out for everyone. Everyone, heed Jonathans advice!

  42. […] few days ago I was reading a post of Jonathon Fields on ‘The Four Delusions of Entrepreneurs’. It’s very interesting reading and relates well to us as Work at Home […]