Seeing the ads on Facebook or other social media platforms about coaches who quit their day jobs, went through some brief hardship, and then made millions (supposedly) can really ruin your day.

My assumption has always been that most of these people got rich (if they actually did) by questionable email marketing and advertising tactics, selling the equivalent of snake oil to teach YOU how to do it.

Don’t get me started…

As you may know, my business has two service lines – getting people corporate jobs and fixing their solo consulting practices. What I can tell you from eight years of working with entrepreneurs and corporate employees is that there is no easy way to make a living.

Running your own business isn’t better than having a corporate job. Having a corporate job isn’t easier than running your own business.

Honestly? I could sell you on either any given day. I am pretty neutral about it.

What I will tell you is there’s an aspect to running your own business that can be brutal. I (and many others) call it “the grind.”

The Grind

The grind can make you feel like you hit the wall in your business. Entrepreneurs invariably tell me they are exhausted. Generally, this exhaustion is caused by having to hunt what you eat. What stresses people out is the time allocation needed between selling work and delivering work.

The grind for entrepreneurs is:

  • Remembering to market when you’re completely buried under a client project
  • Finding new and exciting ways to present content when you’ve been writing about the same topics for eight years
  • Doing whatever you need to be doing to keep the funnel full – networking, speaking, etc.
  • Performing more functions in your business than you should

Some days I kind of love the juggling act and feel invincible!

Some days it’s a total grind and I just have to get through to the next day. Ugh.

Sh*t Sandwiches

If you think someone else has it easier or better than you do, you should go spend a day with them and see what their life and business are really like. Chances are good you’ll happily come running back to your problems and your business.

EVERY type of business or job has good parts and bad parts. There will be aspects that you genuinely enjoy, and aspects that you kind of hate. NYT bestselling author Mark Manson calls these “sh*t sandwiches.” Can you enjoy, tolerate, or put up with the bad parts?

You will definitely have to eat one, the trick is to find the occupation that has the sandwich you are willing to eat. As Manson asks in this post, “What’s your favorite flavor of sh*t sandwich and does it come with an olive?”

I used to work at Deloitte before I started my business. I had a good job and was paid well. But it was incredibly stressful with insanely tight deadlines. The day came when the great salary and benefits just didn’t make up for the sandwich I had to eat. I gave my notice.

My current business has its own smelly sandwich buffet. Lumpy revenue stream? Check! Content churn? Check! Difficulty in unplugging? Check!

But, I will happily eat this sandwich every single day. The rewards make it worth it.

Other Inconvenient Truths

News flash: If there actually were an easy way, we’d all be doing it.

Is entrepreneurship the easy path? There are no guarantees your business will be successful. Tony Robbins always quotes the statistic that 90% of businesses will fail within 10 years.

Is corporate more secure? I was laid off three time in four years from corporate jobs – when my bosses loved my work!

There’s no sure thing and no one right way to work.

So, where does that leave us?

It leaves you doing your work, wherever you choose to work. Doing the grind.

Try to spend a larger percentage of your time doing tasks that energize you, and less time doing the things that drain you.

Show up every day and do the best you can. (But know that life will throw you curveballs just to keep things interesting.)

And also know that you will have some great days and major wins! (Please remember to celebrate every win and keep a record of it to review when things aren’t going so well.)

And, know there will be sh*t sandwiches to eat. May yours have an olive.