My Take on Entrepreneurship and Business Owning: It’s NOT for Everyone

Do you still remember when you were a child and asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What were your answers? It’s probably “Astronaut!” or “Doctor!” or “Architect!” or even “Soldier!” and you answered with full excitement, right?

Mine: “… Architects (maybe)” 😆

Yes. The truth was, I never knew what kind of career I’d like to have when I grow up. I thought, be an architect is pretty awesome. I like to build things, though. My dad taught me how to do men’s job in the garage—like changing the car’s tires, or even built a tree house! I was always taught to be strong and independent with his pretty strict rules. But he was an awesome man, too. So I’d never complained. Ever.

My dad never pushed me to be something he wants. He just suggested that I have to be a person who can add values to other people or living being in this world. In Indonesia, there’s a proverb that said:

Gajah mati meninggalkan gading, harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama.

Basically, that proverb tells that everyone should leave something good to the world when they died. That was what my dad suggested.

However, as we grow up, we continue to evolve. Our personality evolves as we gain more and more life experiences. We conciously—and unconciously—influenced by our family, friends, communities, positive and negative life experiences, fear, anxiety, and including current societal norms. Our choices in how we live our life will also evolve. And that’s just the way it is.

For me, being an entrepreneur and living this way of life is based on my idea of “Be a more valuable human being, and maybe leave something good when I die someday.”

Entrepreneurship is the catalyst of changes

While some people really love to emphasise on this statement, I choose not to do the same. In some cases, yes, entrepreneurs can initiate new things that potentially bring major changes in the life of many people.

We know the story of how Google or Facebook changes the way we interact with the internet. Or how Microsoft and Apple make us able to work from anywhere we want however we liked it with their products. In the local level, there’s GoJek—a ride-hailing super app 1 that can help us do the things we don’t like to be doing, such as do the laundry, clean the house/office, or even buy meds—and there’s also Traveloka that made buying airline tickets and then change the date the next hour become very easy and less hassle.

All of those great products/services born from the great minds of people with an entrepreneurial mindset. After all those years of hard works, going through all the difficulties and tears, they can bring significant changes to the lives of many people.

But let’s not forget those people who have to climb a lot of towers to provide good 4G/LTE service on our smartphones. Or the people work in computer manufacturers who assemble our MacBook Pro. Or even the people work in banking who make us able to transfer money to our peers just by input their usernames.

They’re also the agents of changes, too.

Entrepreneurship and Business-Owning is Just Our Vehicles

For me, owning businesses and be an entrepreneurship is just a vehicle for thriving on the social and personal level. By their natures, vehicles are meant to take us somewhere. They’re NOT the end goal. It’s an infinite game —that will never have the end in themselves.

Small business and entrepreneurship give us and many other people the opportunity to build the environment and arrangements as we like it—conditions that make us thriving better in terms of professionally or personal level. But for people who have different priorities and values as they grow up, having their own business can sometimes lead to a miserable journey.

These vehicles, provide us the opportunity to make contributions to our society. But again, something that I see as an “opportunity” can be seen as a problem for other people.

And that’s NOT a conducive state for growing and thriving.

Freud’s Pleasure & Pain Principles

Human tends to follow these principles—where they will move towards things that bring them pleasure and try to avoid things that potentially bring them pains.

Many people were taught to believe that they will be safer by going to college and get a job that can give them steady paychecks and perks, rather than trying to start their own business, which could bring them pains that they want to avoid—even if they don’t really fancy their job. While other people—like me—are so motivated to bring my own pleasure by building my own business. The pleasure far outweighs the pain that we would stop at nothing and do whatever it takes to get us there.

Just like anything else, career choices are influenced by current norms in society, economic status, cultural influences, trends, and many other factors. It’s important to remember that just because we enjoy a particular career choice, does not mean that everyone will feel the same as we do. They may not have the same threshold for the responsibility and anxiety involved, as well as the financial and time freedom in building a business.

We should try to be less subjective thinkers that have the difficulty imagining that anyone else would feel differently than us, especially in career choices.

My point is …

Just because I think that entrepreneurship is a good fit for me, does NOT mean that it will also be a good fit for you. We can still make changes and leave something good to the world through our chosen career, be it a business owner or an employee.



  1. Go-Jek Super App ↩︎

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