What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur?

I started Mahon Digital in 2010, after spending the previous decade working for some of London’s leading digital agencies. I wanted to focus on the aspects of the sector I love most — digital marketing, and specifically paid search marketing — but I also wanted to be in control of my own destiny and led by nobody else.

More people than ever before are turning their backs on a “steady job” and starting their own businesses — becoming entrepreneurs. Public image, which tends to lag behind the reality, is still largely in the 1980s, the days of high-powered businessmen (mostly men, back then) competing to flaunt their immense wealth and power. But does this really have any place in today’s business world? What can we really get out of being an entrepreneur?

Independence & balance

Starting my own company has allowed me not only to do exactly what I most want, but to do it my own way, and this is one of the aspects that attracts me most. It’s an achievable and sustainable goal, and I’m beholden to no-one else. Well, except the taxman, of course.

It takes work, though, to make a business succeed — a lot of work. There’s no way around that, though it shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve chosen something that you love. The problem is that pressure of work can become an ingrained habit, and you can end up ignoring your family and interests, till your life is nothing but your business.

It takes work to make a business succeed — a lot of work.

However much we might enjoy running a business, most of us also want to enjoy being with family or friends. Failure to get that work/life balance right can result in dissatisfaction with both, and it’s something that needs to be planned right from the outset.

Setting realistic goals

I mentioned having an achievable and sustainable goal, and this is perhaps key to success as an entrepreneur.

It’s all very well to have a goal of becoming the richest business person in the world, but the chances are it’s not going to happen. That means, even with considerable success, you’re never going to have the pleasure of achieving your aims — all the struggles and none of the satisfaction.

So what are realistic goals? It’s entirely up to you, but it’s important to be clear about how you measure success. A bigger house? A yacht? Or a good standard of living for your family, where you can meet their needs without having to stop and do some agonised arithmetic first? Whatever you aim for, make sure it’s a goal you have a good chance of achieving with hard enough work, and make that your definition of success. And enjoy success, when you reach it.

What is a business?

In the end, starting and running a business is saying something about yourself — a vision and a journey, and most of all about the impact you want to leave on the world. My business and my journey will be my legacy, and I want it to be a positive legacy, to have a happy outcome for everyone. That drop in the ocean, five years ago, will hopefully turn into waves that will help to change lives.

Entrepreneurship isn’t a job. It’s a life.


About the writer: Saija Mahon is the founder of Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd, an international digital media agency that helps growing global businesses to achieve their sales targets. Saija has also launched a business networking Events Company in Scandinavia called The Caviar Club to enable the digital world to meet with the physical.


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