Life as an entrepreneur

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BY WILLIAM PONELA. ||

ENTREPRENEURSHIP is like falling in love. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not rational. For the most part, it’s the most idiotic and stupid thing to do.

Please don’t get me wrong; I am an entrepreneur and loving it. And that’s the reason I can tell you from my personal experience what it actually feels like.

Look; what sane and rational people do is to work hard and prepare for their future.
A comfortable and stable life, family, high paying job, enough vacations to enjoy and nice retirement benefits.

Along the way they strive and earn respect, friends and family love them and they enjoy it all. That’s what societies admire and teach; and schools prepare us for.

I am not talking about all, but most strive for that. Who gets what is a different matter altogether, but from the planning and expectation perspective at least, this way of life is reasonable and makes all the sense.

Now, lets look what an entrepreneur’s life looks like. And mind you, nobody is forcing you to become one.

It’s a personal choice.

I could any day turn the way around and live above life. I in fact for almost a decade lived it. And to be honest I enjoyed it too. But if you do chose entrepreneurship, here is how your life looks like.

First, for the most part of it you would be walking in dark. You would have no idea what you are doing and if this would result into something tangible at all.

Success is that dim and faded light at the end of this long dark tunnel and you cannot see it, only hope for it.
But you cannot sit and wait to die. You keep walking; stumbling upon and falling. But you walk; sometimes running and crawling too, but you don’t stop.

It’s more of a “have to” scenario rather than being a choice.

The thing is that you are too far down the tunnel that turning back is more dangerous than moving forward.

Second, you would be working super hard. Weekend fun; time with family and friends, all these would not even occur to you.

Even if sometimes you steal some of it; the “hustle 24X7 gang” will make you feel so guilty about yourself that you’ll promise to work extra so that you can do away with some of the guilt.

You will see your friends flashing their awesome life on social media making you feel like an idiot. You might as well be. And many a times you would want to leave everything and join them.

Third, it’s going to be absolutely isolated. You will be alone and feel insignificant. The feeling of nobody giving a shit about what you are doing is going to kill your soul. Self-doubt and thoughts of giving up will be an everyday recipe.

On top of everything you won’t have answers to those smiling yet sarcastic faces of family members and friends who ask “Zviri kufamba sei? (how is it going?)”. You want to say the truth of “Zviri kurema ndava kuzvisiya and I think I am gonna quit”, but for some reasons you don’t say it.

Instead you maintain a confident face and show as if you know what you are doing and you are in absolute control.

On top of this you won’t have money in your pocket. Surviving is a challenge. You cut down every expense. Family suffers.

And it feels really bad to see your loved ones going through hard times all because you are being a little selfish to pursue something as uncertain as your venture.

All this way, you know you could choose an alternate and an easy life anytime.

Quitting and going for more saner and rational way of life is definitely a possibility and very tempting one. And this is the ultimate pain making everything all the more difficult.

But then in spite of all these; some still become entrepreneurs. Just like some people do fall in love. I wont try to explain; that would be an insult to it.

You have to fall in love to know why people do it. It doesn’t make sense; but its all the worth. Its what makes life beautiful. Its what makes life worth living.

Happy entrepreneurship. Happy falling in love.

William Ponela is CEO of Zonful Energy, a renewable (solar) energy company with operations across Zimbabwe.


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