You discover things you never knew about yourself. For example, you know how sometimes people play that annoying game and ask you what you’d do if you only had 24 hours to live? And so you sit there and scratch your ass, and then say something poetic like, “I’d go to the beach and let the wind whip through my hair one last time.” Alright, Robert Frost. Maybe you would and maybe you wouldn’t, but the fact is you’ll never know how you’d react to something until it happens. And it’s no different when you become a business owner. You’ll never know what kind of leader you’ll be, what kind of boss you’ll be, and even what kind of morals you really have, until you’re in the thick of it. And once you are? You learn a hell of a lot about yourself–like what kinds of things you do when nobody’s looking. (I PLEAD THE FIFTH ON ANYTHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH ME, MYSELF AND LEFTOVER PIZZA.)
You’ll learn a lot more about life than most people. Why? Because no matter how successful you become, every single day you’ll be kicking and screaming and fighting to stay ahead, and when the pressure’s on, you’ll have no choice but to figure it out. In order to do that, you’ve got to learn stuff. And by stuff I don’t just mean accounting and taxes, I mean important stuff, like how to relate to other human beings, and how to make things happen for yourself. Despite the way I probably just made that sound, this is a good thing.
You get insta-respect from anyone you meet. “I own a business” is one of those things that, whether you own a strip joint or a venture capital firm, you’re somehow viewed as more important, more intelligent, and more powerful. Now–that’s not to say it’s always a fair appraisal. But in general, you’ll be perceived as someone to be respected, and that? Can help you open doors when you need to. (Gracefully, and without having to bribe a guard. Wink.)