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An alien lands on Earth. After a few days she finds out that she is going to need some money in order to purchase food and shelter. Daringdo has a choice. Should she become an entrepreneur or get a job? Let’s examine the best and worst things about being an entrepreneur so we can help Daringdo make an educated decision.

According to InvestorForce co-founder Colin Wahl, the worst thing about being an entrepreneur is the loneliness. He says, "You are on your own and nobody supports you because it’s hard for them to see what you see and feel the excitement that you feel in the early stages."

I would have to agree with Colin on this point. It can indeed be lonely sometimes. One can also become de-motivated after working so hard and so long on something for which the reward may be months or years away or perhaps never to come at all.

KendallTodd, Inc. CEO Todd Ballenger says that the worst thing about being an entrepreneur is that you often work 80 hours a week as an entrepreneur to avoid working 40 hours a week as an employee. Posed with the same question, Inspire Pharmaceuticals CEO Christy Shafer says the worst thing is that you are constantly busy and stressed out and have less time for family. Best Friends Pet Care founder Randy Myer says that the worst thing is the impact on your health and your family.

With cash flow problems, having to lay people off, working eighty hour weeks, the possibility of not ever being paid for your work, and loneliness, why in the world would anyone want to be an entrepreneur? An extra-terrestrial coming to this planet for the first time would surely choose the safety and security of a job in Corporate America. Or would she?

Before we can be sure, there is another side of the coin we must examine. Along with the negative, there are a number of positive things that go along with being an entrepreneur. While being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, let’s examine the upside before you make your final decision.

So what is the positive side? Well, first you have freedom. You have the opportunity to use all your skills. Significant financial reward goes to he who succeeds. You have control over your destiny and will never have to worry you or your family’s financial security. Respect comes from your peers. You have the recognition of being a visionary. You have provided hundreds or thousands of people with jobs and they respect and thank you. You have provided value and efficiency to a market and improved the standard of living of many. Finally, there is no worry about being laid off or not being able to take care of yourself after the value of your 401(k) plan evaporates.

MCNC Chairman Dave Rizzo says, "You have control over your destiny, your calendar, and the vision is yours." Christy Shafer adds, "You are constantly challenged and have fun." Colin Wahl notes, "You have much more control of your own destiny and your entire life!’ Randy Myer states, "The best part is the rewards — financial and psychological."

So what will you choose? Well, in the end this lies with you. However, do remember that we only live once. If you have a good idea, the trust in yourself to execute, a basic knowledge of business, can bring together a good team, feel you are at the right stage in your life, and believe you can afford the risk, I’d highly recommend going for it. But you must get going and start moving.

There is a certain law of inertia that I often reference. A body in motion remains in motion. And while in motion finds new people and acquires new knowledge that it would not have come in contact with if it was not moving. Once you begin on a quest, that quest will lead you to things unbeknownst to you at the beginning. Once you start on your quest, many new events and pieces of knowledge will fall into place. Inertia will take effect as new knowledge and possibilities create a snowball effect up the learning curve as you come closer and closer to your goal. Therefore one should not wait until all the traffic signals are green before he starts his journey.

In the end, it may take awhile to reap the benefits of being an entrepreneur. And you may experience much of the downside along the way. But if you get moving today and are adaptive, persuasive, self-confident, and a visionary, and have perseverance, have a bias towards action, and can inspire others with your leadership, you may just be able to enjoy this upside. As Colin Wahl says, “Go for it, it’s an incredible chance of a lifetime – as the saying goes, better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all! The riskiest thing to do is not to try&ldots;then the chance of success is zero. The downside: even if things don’t work out you will gain amazing experience that will help you even if you end up having to go back to working for someone else.”

So what is the final decision? Will our alien friend decide to be an entrepreneur or an employee? Well, after thinking things over, she decides that she’d be better off applying for a few scholarships, going to school, working on her English and business knowledge, making some contacts, and developing some business plans while interning at a company in the field she is interested in, and then venturing off on her own. Smart alien.

This Young Entrepreneurship article was written by Ryan P Allis on 2/9/2005

Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar. [learn more.