The Weight of Entrepreneurship

The Weight of Entrepreneurship

When I set out to be an online entrepreneur I imagined all the glamorous things. Living on the beach, traveling the world, making more money than I could spend, and making a difference with what I know.

Maybe you've had the same thoughts. Visions of life outside the confines of your cubicle. Dreams of impacting the world instead of selling just another widget.

Weight of Entrepreneurship

Photo credit: Brian Wilkins / Foter / CC BY-NC

We're a lot alike, you and I. We both wish for something better. We hope for a happier life and a legacy we can leave our loved ones.

But, just this past week, I realized there's a mental weight, a responsibility, we must carry if we're going to be successful entrepreneurs. There's a psychological cost to success.

Picking Up the Weight

The first time I noticed the weight of entrepreneurship was with my first coaching client. She was scheduled for four, one-hour calls.

After the first call I was nervous about the advice I was giving and the guidance I was providing. I knew the words I was sharing were good advice; I'd lived through the experiences I took them from.

But giving someone life or career advice isn't like selling them a computer. You can't swap out the lemons or offer a comparable replacement.

When you give advice, there's a psychological weight to it. You wonder if you're giving wise counsel. You wonder if what you're saying is what they need to hear and if it will get them closer to achieving their goals.

After our second call I started to see her implementing the changes we were talking about. Life changing decisions put into place because of the coaching I provided.

Wow! Humbling and scary at the same time.

The Weight Gets Heavy

And then it happened. Several months after our coaching time ended, I get this Facebook message –

T's Facebook_Message

That's awesome!


It is for her; absolutely! Following your dreams and doing something you've always wanted to do is a fantastic feeling.

But you know what I was going through my mind when I saw that message?

I was thinking to myself,

Oh, crap. What did I say!? I really hope I gave her good advice; she just made a huge change in her life.

Looking back on our coaching, I know two things.

  1. I gave her the best advice and soundest guidance I could possibly give in the moment. I trust myself.
  2. Her decisions and her actions were ultimately her decision to make. I trust she made the right ones.

The Weight of Entrepreneurship

When you're selling other people's books, tools, computers or widgets, the responsibility of quality falls to them. But when they're your books, services, widgets or advice, the responsibility falls to you. As the entrepreneur, it's on you. There is no backstop. You are the safety net.

It's not like taking your friends to a restaurant and finding out they didn't like the food. You can always go someplace else next time. No harm, no foul.

Pouring your heart and soul into a product or service that could change someones life is a heavy burden. The woman I coached has children, she has rent and bills to pay. There's a lot on the line.

Even when the stakes aren't as high, entrepreneurs have a responsibility to the people we serve. We owe it to our fans, our audience, our readers and listeners, whatever you want to call them, to be honest and trustworthy.

Our Responsibility

I recently published a blog post about creating a mobile podcasting studio. In that post I give away a checklist of items to create a mobile studio with several items I recommend to anyone with the goal of taking their show on the road.

After looking at the list, one of my readers, Steve, sent me a note. He told me he was going to print my checklist and give it to his wife as his Christmas wish list!

Not games or clothes, not a well-deserved vacation. He wanted podcasting equipment based on my recommendation.

That may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me. I love Christmas. I love getting new video games, new toys, and new gadgets to play with. I'm a big kid.

To have a reader exchange his fun for his future based on my recommendation is a big psychological weight to me. I know my podcast journey started when Ashley got me a Blue Yeti microphone for my birthday, but that's me, not someone else.

When Steve sent me that message my gut reaction was,

Uh, what was on that checklist?

Though my checklist included equipment I use myself, my first thought was questioning self-doubt. I did a mental review of the list and made sure what I recommended was right.

When you publish your blog post, share your video, upload your podcast, or release your product, you have an obligation to your audience. Call it social responsibility, call it “do no harm,” call it what you like. But we entrepreneurs must hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Every time you share something think about the weight your recommendations carry. Consider the responsibility that comes with people taking your advice and changing their life because of what you said.

It's a lot of pressure knowing your words can change the lives of the people who read them.

The Payoff

The coaching client who quit her job and started her own business?

Well, she's doing great! She's already making money and is working on building her business. She's got the support of her family and friends and she's building her legacy.

I couldn't be happier to have played a part in her journey.



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  • Mike Sutton says:

    This is a great article, Ellory. It’s something I know I’ve been experiencing myself and I imagine affects many of us. Thanks once again for your leadership and openness.

    • Ellory Wells says:

      Thanks Mike!

      I was kinda worried about sharing those one. No real life lessons today, just something that’s been on my mind lately.

      Mike, how do you stay focused and re-energized when it comes to teaching to your tribe?

      Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing Mike! You’re much appreciated =)

      • Mike Sutton says:

        For me, I have to continuously remind myself that it’s about them and not about me. I have to take care of myself, but my responsibility is to serve and not focus on the results.

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