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Updated 16 Jan 2021

The truth about being an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship can seem like an escape from the daily grind – not to mention the promise of greater financial freedom – but it can be challenging to be your own boss.

Nic Simmonds, 09 May 2018  Share  0 comments  Print

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There’s a yearning for creative freedom behind the mindset to become an entrepreneur. Most people do it because they’re simply tired working for someone else. They feel hindered by structure and confinement.

They feel they’re being creatively stifled – and they’re correct. But, creative drive is easy to channel. Exploring creativity is an immensely enjoyable activity, as is making your own decisions. This, however is only half the battle – and the other, far more unpleasant half is where most entrepreneurs are challenged. 

Related: 11 Entrepreneurial traits successful young entrepreneurs all share

Here’s the truth about being your own boss 

It’s a myth that you can escape the realities of the working world by starting your own business. Being your own boss means you have two jobs, not one. You’ll have the creative and executive freedom you crave. 

You’ll also have more discomfort to deal with than ever before in terms of the daily grind, frustration, stress, and admin. Entrepreneurship is equal parts self-love and self-harm, and only those who can strike a balance are likely to make it big. 

Be creative, but lead like a boss 

I don’t see myself as a classical entrepreneur. As a writer, enamoured with the freedom that freelancing offered, I was apprehensive about solidifying my skills into a traditional business model. 

Fortunately, my business partner and I are well-matched in our styles as entrepreneurs, and we have experienced amazing growth in the five years since we established our two-person operation.

Related: 4 Things no one tells you about entrepreneurship

Now in charge of an 80-person agency, I find that the secret to staying motivated is being good at showing up every day. Maintaining focus and keeping yourself engaged in your mission – even when things are overwhelming, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, boring – is crucial. 

An inability to tolerate discomfort is where many creative entrepreneurs fall flat – so rather choose to revel in it. We practice enjoying the repetition – the daily grind. We’re great at pushing through inconveniences and setbacks. It’s this grit that lets creativity shine.

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About the author

Nic Simmonds

Nic Simmonds is co-founder of Clockwork Media, one of South Africa’s best-known and fastest-growing marketing and communications agencies. Post-university, Nic cut his teeth creating online content as’s first employee. After a few years in publishing, he joined forces with current business partner, Tom Manners, to establish a small content production shop that is now five years old, boasting over 80 permanent staff and a portfolio including several big name brands. Today, Nic focuses on strategic oversight of the business, working internally with various business functions and externally with clients to drive the business forward.

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