The truth you don’t want to know about being an Entrepreneur

You open Instagram and there’s a video of a young guy on a yacht, girls are bending over him, they are popping champagne. The video cuts to a smiling man in a suit and a Ferrari. Then text pops up: Live your dream, become an entrepreneur…

We see inspiring quotes of Richard Branson to say YES to everything and figure it out later. The quote is copied onto an image of him on his private island. We see images of Leonardo Dicaprio in his role as Jordan Belfort from the Wolf of Wall Street. Stuff everything, let’s live.

The world created such a warped perception of entrepreneurs and the lifestyles they live. Success. Money. Girls. Cars. Happiness. Freedom.

The reality? Hard work. Long hours. Failing businesses. Cashflow issues. Issues. More issues. And to some (maybe less than 1%): Success. Money. Girls. Cars. Happiness. Freedom.

Entrepreneurs became the rockstars of the 21st century. Everyone wants to be one. We admire the ones that made it and we don’t hear much of the ones that didn’t.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been travelling to the UK and Europe and have met some of the brightest and most successful young entrepreneurs. I’ve worked with thousands in South Africa. The stories are all the same. You want to spend time with your family, but you leave the office last to grow your business. You pay your employees, your suppliers and you hope to have enough for yourself – most days you don’t.

Most of your friends won’t understand this journey either. They work 7 hour days and warn you about burning out. They don’t get it why you can’t drink beer after work or join for the rugby match over the weekend. They call you names and think you are arrogant. Your business is your everything and you live it.

9 out of 10 businesses fail in the first year. Bad business idea? No. Lack of intelligence or knowledge? No. Under estimating the sacrifice that you need to make in order to succeed? In most cases, absolutely.

Don’t get me wrong, I love entrepreneurship and I’m passionate about small businesses but the world is painting a picture that is not even close to reality. If you decide to make this leap, at least know that you will give up many things in your life to chase that dream and be willing to go to your grave trying.

The great thing? When you give it your all, you will probably find more happiness and freedom but you’ll have many late nights, you’ll lose many friends and partners and you’ll devote the biggest portion of your life to this journey.

Just don’t be fooled.

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  • JC
    March 8, 2016 at 10:51 am — Reply

    Ah, the truth at last! Thanks for being real Marnus!

  • Heidi
    March 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm — Reply

    Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. Once the signs of success start popping up it is becomes rewarding…and with more work coming your way. When you start employing staff then there is no going back

  • pheello
    March 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm — Reply

    Eye opening article indeed, im really going to use few ideas from it and thank you.dont stop educating us

  • Keith Summerton
    March 9, 2016 at 5:40 pm — Reply

    So true. You lose family, friends as well brake relationships and even family. But if you are driven and disipled you are bound to make it. Through all the Red Tape and (pull him down) cheat talk.

  • NICO
    March 10, 2016 at 7:57 am — Reply

    I’m going through this right now, lost friends, wife impatient with me

    • Marnus Broodryk (Author)
      March 10, 2016 at 8:00 am — Reply

      All the best Nico, can imagine it is not an easy time. It is so important that our life partners understand and support our journeys fully.

      • Amukelani Hlangwane
        March 11, 2016 at 8:33 am — Reply

        100% True

  • Koketso
    March 10, 2016 at 8:43 am — Reply

    Story of my life

  • Koketso
    March 10, 2016 at 8:46 am — Reply

    No girlfriend, not because there is no interest. One just does not have the time. Almost drowning in debt, you definitely have to let go of a lot of things. It’s a huge adjustment compared to working in corporate. There is no income guarantee

  • peter mohlala
    March 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    I just started a company i really needed such words thank you.

  • Mpho
    March 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm — Reply

    Wow, this is spot on. No time for friends and family.

  • Lebo
    March 12, 2016 at 7:53 am — Reply

    Hi Marnus,

    Great article indeed. I’m in the middle of debt (bank calling making threats), car broken, no income and family and friends at the tipping point of getting tired supporting me. On your bio you mention that you are passionate about building great business. Can I schedule a meet with you to pick your brain about ideas on how to succeed this phase I’m in. My email address is

  • Phuti wa ga
    March 12, 2016 at 11:27 am — Reply

    Everyone goes through their own path. Of key importance is to master your product, your client base’s dynamix and relationships. Then you’ll see, success is truly within reach.

  • Thaddeus Riggles
    March 12, 2016 at 4:03 pm — Reply

    I want you to know that I think the whole fucking bunch of you are certifiably insane. This code of honor of yours makes me want to beat the shit out of somebody.

  • Mbali
    March 14, 2016 at 1:44 am — Reply

    I think it is better to suffer the consequences of pursuing an independent lifestyle then to be comfortable in a corporate plantation. From my observation, many people only have the desire to run/start a business, not the seriousness to see it through. It’s tough out there, and hard work, discipline, resilience and patience are some of the important requirements in any effort to bringing about a positive outcome, especially concerning long-term objectives.

  • Obel Sirrom
    March 16, 2016 at 8:23 am — Reply

    Hard life indeed and when those rewards finally show up, u just live a kings life. I am one of em but been learning how to bring family time in and work when they are asleep. Don’t ever sacrifice your family, that’s what motivate u to be best. Create their time and when they finally go to sleep. U carryon with your dreams. 24 hours a day. How many do u need to work. Is not about constantly being on your grind but what progress goes with being on that grind the time you have dedicated it.

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