A great idea, talent, continued education, lack of procrastination, sweat, tears, a shabby office, 80 hours a week and a 25.000 euro loan from your distant uncle on your mothers’ side, was what it took to give yourself a chance to become a successful entrepreneur. Thank god those days are over. Now all you need is a laptop, a beach and a free online seminar.

Meet Martha, a 67 year old woman who was barely keeping her head above water, but is now on a beach in Barcelona making 15K a month. My friend Alex was stuck in one of those 9-5 jobs. Now he is living his dream on a beach in Costa Rica with his hot girlfriend. Look at my laptop screen and see how I am making 1.5 million euro’s every month with my webshop by sitting on a beach and even though I’m loaded with cash, I believe the best way to spend all that money is on Youtube and Instagram ads to lure you into my free seminar.

Why aren’t entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Warren Buffet advertising their free online seminars. Well, because they are losers and chose many years of hard work, investment of time and money, perseverance and sleeping under their desk as the way to build an empire. While the only thing they should have done to live a life on the beach, was to take the drop ship and sail it to fantasy island where you can climb the pyramid scheme to success. If this overnight boost in wealth and freedom sounds like your cup of tea, then you are ready to become a swimsuit entrepreneur and I can do absolutely nothing for you.

But if you’re considering to start your own business. You don’t yet know if you should take the jump, but you want to get the real story. Read on and see if my 5 step checklist scares you or gets you even more excited.

Step 1: Appreciate your 9-5 job

Being an entrepreneur is hot right now. Students get drilled to start their own business, 9-5 workers get booed on their way to work and if you’re over 21 and don’t have a 2.4 billion dollar rated company, you pretty much failed. Starting, building and growing your own business is the thing to do. Stop working for a boss, leave your golden cage, the only thing waiting for an employee is burnout and depression.

I believe in most cases working for a company is completely the opposite. As a rookie, you get the chance to experience the business world and get guidance and training in a safe environment. Experience, knowledge and references that will make you twice as valuable when you someday decide to start your own business. How do you know what your client wants and needs as an entrepreneur if you never lived in that world? Working as an employee let’s you also focus on your work, delivering value and building something in an environment where you can focus on your core job, instead of worrying about book keeping, sales, marketing, investment, administration, networking,… Not everybody is made to deal with step 2 and that is perfectly fine. The majority of people will always be employed, so whatever you do, rock that job, own it, be an intrapreneur, be happy and know it doesn’t mean you can’t live your dream, because you are so called building someone else’s. Ask yourself. Do you want to become an entrepreneur because it gets glorified by social media and you are just in the wrong job? Or do genuinely want to become your own boss and build something from scratch in great uncertainty?

Step 2: Burst your bubble

I come from a big family and almost all family members run their successful business across different industries. I grew up seeing my family work day and night, taking risk, living in doubt, set back, victories and growth. People saw money and fancy cars, I saw late nights, weekends and holidays spend working. Now they pluck the fruits, but the journey towards it is not for the faint hearted. Being an entrepreneur is not having an office building, employees, investments, it’s knowing that everyday you need to wake up knowing that the only one responsible for your own professional and financial future is you. That you are there to solve the problem of your clients with your product or service and that everyday the clock gets reset to zero, so you will need to prove yourself over and over again. In good and bad weather. Find happiness in the journey, enjoy the freedom that you will have and keep going no matter what. Only then your day at the beach will come.

Step 3: No freedom without war

The most amazing thing about running your own business is the freedom you get. The power to decide when to work and when not. When you want to get out of bed. When to go on holiday. What projects to work on. You are completely in charge of your own life. But that freedom will come at a price. You will work twice as hard as you did as an employee. You will have to trade BBQ’s with friends for weekend administration. You will have to skip holiday’s for projects that pay the bills or because you just invested your savings. You will spend evenings at network events instead of the theater. You will watch training videos and listen to business podcasts instead of Strangers Things. It gets worse, before it gets better.

Step 4: You will always walk alone

When I first started out, a successful entrepreneur said to me: “Team or not, you’re biggest challenge will not be sales, marketing, earning money,… Your biggest challenge will be loneliness.” Having a great family, a lovely wife, 2 cats and already some clients, I wasn’t really sure what he meant at the time. Now a couple of years later I completely agree with him. No matter how many people you have around you, that love you, support you or work with you, you are alone in this. At the end of the day, you are taking the risk, investing, putting your name out there. Your choice in people, investment, projects, products,… will determine the outcome and you will have to deal with it. You will motivate and inspire others, but who will motivate and inspire you? Who will comfort you when you are in trouble? Who will help you when you haven’t paid yourself a salary for 4 months? People will support, understand and listen because they love you or work with you, but in the end, it’s you who will constantly have to fight a battle with yourself to bring your A-game every single day.

Step 5: Stop reading

If you decided after step 1 that you are a class A intrapreneur, happy to be employed and ready to rock your job. Good for you and happy to hear. Enjoy your work and your life and who knows what great opportunities will now be awaiting you within your company. If you read on and step 2 to 4 didn’t scare you, but felt like a challenge and something you could easily manage, great. Then my only question is: “Why are you still reading this blogpost?” I understand the fear, the doubt of taking that jump into the unknown, but a real entrepreneur knows it’s not about drop shipping, it’s about shipping in general that makes the difference. Executing your plans and your ideas. You will only really know if this life is for you when you actually try it. Take the jump and experience it. Let it no longer be a tempting or scary thought in your head. Turn it into action and start your journey. I started mine in 2016 after my family said the same to me and no matter if all the steps are a daily part of my life, I’m loving every minute of it, while writing this on a laptop from my kitchen table.