What Entrepreneurship taught me about Love
Our light switch was two exposed wires. I pulled them apart and crawled into my tent. A few of us tented in the main area of the church while others slept on the bed inside a small room adjacent to the main area. Water dripped from the roof when it rained. Some days our bathroom flooded. Some days the water ration went out in our village. Electricity and wifi access was volatile. I can honestly say I had never felt more loved than the month I spent in Honduras.
When we first arrived at the church, it struck me as strange that there were two random beds. Does anyone sleep here? The community was in quite an impoverished state, so it didn’t make sense to just have two beds that were not being used.
Every morning we met our pastor at their restaurant down the street. I had no idea where they lived. I assumed they were just private people and never thought anything of it.
One morning, when I went back into the kitchen of the restaurant to help Pastora cook gallo pinto. A pile of blankets were rolled up on the floor next to the wall. Quickly, we learned that Pastor and his family actually live in the church– the space where our team was currently occupying. It's their home. Even though it "wasn’t much," they gave us the best of what they had. Meanwhile, they temporarily slept on the floor of their restaurant for the duration of our visit. I’ve never felt more loved.
Sacrifice is proof of love. Pastor and his family had to make an active choice to give something up— their home and the little comfortability they had. In economics, opportunity cost is the principle that you have to give up something in order to have something else. Giving out of excess is easy. It makes us feel good to scrape a negligible amount off the top of whatever we have and give it to someone else, but when you have to make ta trade-off and choose to deny things for others— that is sacrifice and a level of love with significant meaning.
If there’s one thing I’ve realized through my entrepreneurial journey, it’s that entrepreneurship requires sacrifice.
Here are some examples of things you’ll need to sacrifice as an entrepreneur:
- Security- Although I would argue that the skills of an entrepreneur provide security, there’s a lot of uncertainty in starting up a business. In a culture that values security and safety, this can be tough.
- Free time- Start-ups require an insane amount of work. Inevitably, your work/life balance will be off-kilter for at least a season or two.
- Control- Don’t get me wrong, there are some areas where you have more control as an entrepreneur, but you can’t control the market, people, or unforeseen circumstances (like COVID!) that affect your business
- You can’t pass the blame- You have to take ownership for every action of your company, not matter the level of involvement in your actual action. If something goes wrong, you have to own up and fix it.
- A stress-free life- It can be mentally and emotionally taxing to start a business, and depending on your personality type it can come with a lot of stress. I know it does for me.
I’ve watched entrepreneurs make these sacrifices to impact those around them through their product, finances, or their labor force. Yes, there are ways to take advantage of people when in business, however, there are so many people out there who are taking on risk to make the world a better place. And, if you're starting a business, I hope you know that a lot of what you're doing probably isn't selfish like the world may seem. Instead, I hope you look at your job through a lens of sacrificial love for those around you.