• Flexibility– Sometimes I work during the day and other times at night. I like having control over my schedule. If I need to go somewhere or meet someone at the last minute I don’t have to worry about having to schedule it in advance.
    • Interesting people– Now that I’m no longer a 9-5er, I’ve had the chance to meet some pretty interesting folks. Not that I didn’t meet interesting people when I worked as a leasing consultant, I did, but it’s a different experience now. I interact with people who are going through the same experiences I am and the relationship isn’t just based on me wanting to sell them something. I’ve met quite a few people that I keep in touch with from conferences, hackathons, and meetups.
    • I can wear what I want– Yup, no more suits! Well, only if I have to meet a client or investor, or I’m going somewhere like a formal event. Other than that, it’s jeans, t-shirts, and pajamas, baby!
    • I can wear my hair anyway I please– As an African-American female with natural hair, that’s huge! When you work in a corporate environment you’re expected to look a certain way. As a woman with natural hair, that didn’t always go over very well. I wound up wearing wigs so that the focus would be on my work and less on my hair. Now that I’m my own boss, I wear my hair how I want.
    • Swag-You can get quite a bit of swag from tech events. I have t-shirts, bags, pens, candy (5 pounds of twizzlers as a prize for most improved from HackFosscon). You name it, I probably have it.
    • Respect-That’s right, respect. My friends and family have more respect for me now that I’m an entrepreneur than when I worked for other people. I know that looking for a job and starting a new job can be scary at times, but nothing beats giving up a cushy paycheck to follow your passion. As much as many of you complain about your jobs, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting a steady paycheck and benefits. Quitting your job, or in my case getting fired, is a big leap of faith. You may only have savings, unemployment, or friends and family to keep you financially afloat. It takes a lot to become an entrepreneur, but it’s worth it.
    • You get to follow your passion– I have so many ideas! More ideas than I know what to do with, but I now get to see where those ideas will take me. I get to work on projects I care about. This is a good thing because that passion will carry you through on those days when you want to quit or kill your co-founder.
    • You pick up new skills-I am learning how to use Gimp, a photo manipulation program, in order to do basic things like remove the background from an image and resizing images for different uses. I’m also learning WordPress so I can make the website I really want without having to rely on someone else. Learning a new skill gives you more freedom to create what you want and comes in handy if you want to create something as simple as a logo or a favicon (a small image next to the name of the website on the tab of your browser) for your website.

Those are the good things about being an entrepreneur, here’s the not so good:

    • You’re on your own-When I had a job, I also had co-workers: people to talk to and laugh with about the crazy clients or management. While I do have a business partner, we’re not always in the same room or up at the same time. I spend a lot of time alone. Fortunately I don’t mind being alone for the most part, but every now and then I wish I had someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of.
    • Kiss your social life goodbye-There’s a saying that when you become an entrepreneur you choose the 20 hours a day you’ll work. The saying is funny, but it’s also true. I probably work harder now than I did when I was employed. Everything right now is about is about my business. I haven’t been to a movie or restaurant in almost a year. I keep bailing out on invitations because I either don’t have the money or I’m too tired. It’s not all bad though. I go to a few tech events which gets me out of the house a couple times a month. I also chat with some great people on Twitter (thank you technology!)
    • No money– Yeah, lack of funds sucks! I had to cut the cable cord almost a year ago. Couldn’t afford to keep it AND cellphones and Internet. The upside is that I am no longer paying for channels I never watched. Also, I’ve discovered a bunch of great shows on YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix. The little bit of money I do have goes back into the business. Not entirely bad. I see that as an investment in my future.
    • Friends and family don’t understand what you do– They respect you for taking a chance, but they’re not exactly sure what it is you do. They know Date My Apartment is a website and it has something to do with apartments, but that’s all they really understand. I can’t really get into any deep conversations about what we’re doing and our struggles for fear their eyes would glaze over. I limit our conversations to general business updates and move on to other things like the weather, family, etc.
    • It’s all on you– When I was a leasing agent I only had to worry about leasing apartments to people and completing paperwork. I didn’t have to deal with payroll, marketing, accounting. Wasn’t in my job description. Now that I’m an entrepreneur, I have to find clients and pitch them, find investors and pitch them, deal with technical issues, and marketing, among other things. I’m also responsible for any screw ups that occur. I can no longer point the finger at other people.

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