The Economist ran a good article last week about the enormous difficulty of being an entrepreneur. In particular, the piece emphasizes the importance of doing away with the mythology of entrepreneurship as a life of romance, adventure, and the heroic pursuit of greatness. In reality, entrepreneurship is grueling and unforgiving, and can destroy not only an entrepreneur’s finances, but her mental and physical health as well.
Now, there’s irony in the fact that the article appears on The Economist’s Schumpeter Blog, given that Schumpeter himself helped popularize the romantic view of entrepreneurship. But the article rightly points out that thinking about entrepreneurship in idealistic terms glosses over the harsh truth:
It is fashionable to romanticise entrepreneurs. Business professors celebrate the geniuses who break the rules and change the world. Politicians praise them as wealth creators. Glossy magazines drool over Richard Branson’s villa on Lake Como. But the reality can be as romantic as chewing glass: first-time founders have the job security of zero-hour contract workers, the money worries of chronic gamblers and the social life of hermits.