5 Reasons Entrepreneurial Freedom is a Lie

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5 Reasons Entrepreneurial Freedom is a Lie

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When we hear about entrepreneurs and freelancers who cast off the shackles of the 9-5 and followed their own dreams for self-employment and creative license to do what they want, we can easily romanticize that these individuals are living a life completely free of societal rules. We envy the self-made millionaires living life the way they choose – without having to answer to anyone. That to be an entrepreneur or a freelancer is to live a life of complete freedom.

It’s all a lie.

Even Mark Zuckerberg is lying if he says he has complete and total freedom. For those who dream of life outside the cubicle, before you quit your job thinking you’ll be 100% free of all expectations and rules, be mindful that every individual – whether a company man or a self-employed business owner who creates books by the beach – has constraints by which they must live. Granted, these constraints may look different when you work for yourself versus someone else, but there exists constraints nonetheless.

While we here at Hummingbirdrcc work with individuals to pursue their dreams and go beyond their highest potentials, we do so with the understanding that each of us have limitations and constraints with which we have to acknowledge and honor. Pursuing and crafting a career path that is yours – whether as an entrepreneur or freelancer or within the structure of a traditional office – can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. But we must do so mindfully.

1. We live in a world with other people. Simply put, if you live, you live in a society. You can be a hermit off the grid – you are still part of the human world. As such, there are rules that everyone must abide by. As an entrepreneur or freelancer, your livelihood becomes even more dependent on others being dependent on your product or service. So although you may not have “the man” to answer to, you have your clients and customers.

2. We all have external expectations. Coaches and self-help books love to say, “live by your own rules.” “Don’t follow other expectations.” While these pieces of advice are all well and good, the reality is that no matter who we are, there are expectations external to us. Even the most successful self-made millionaires have some expectations to which they work towards, whether that is to the expectation to keep on producing new innovations or the expectation that they will continue to buck the system.

3. We all make compromises. While it may seem to others that entrepreneurs and freelancers live life by their own rules, even Richard Branson has to make some compromises in life. Making compromises doesn’t necessarily mean not getting what you want, but those who work for themselves and pursue their own passions have to still make daily choices and compromises – perhaps it’s the stability of a job title or health insurance, perhaps it’s going on a 2-week vacation every year. Regardless, everyone at some point has to make tough decisions.

4. We can’t be our true selves all the time. Be yourself, be yourself, be yourself. We hear this ad nauseum. It is important that we live authentically, be true to ourselves, and not live a life based on someone else’s expectations of who we are. However, it is also silly to believe that having entrepreneurial freedom means that you can be your true self all the time. There are certain times where we have to code shift and while not changing who we are, we need to be mindful that different situations may call for a slightly different versions of ourselves. We wouldn’t talk to our drinking buddies the same way we talk to our customer base the same way we talk to our shareholders (hopefully). Can you imagine if Donald Trump didn’t always censor himself (I know, it oftentimes seems like he doesn’t)? He wouldn’t be able to get too far with his shareholders or fan base.

5. We are constrained by parameters. There is this fantastical myth that entrepreneurs and freelancers have zero constraints and rules. However, that is a myth. Even the most creative and out-there entrepreneurs have certain parameters by which they must follow. Perhaps the parameter is to be a certain kind of outrageous to keep attracting a loyal customer or client base. Perhaps the parameter is to narrow the focus or meet shipping deadlines. Regardless, these rules and constraints are very real, even to the most free-spirited of entrepreneurs.