As many of you know, I am on vacation in Lucca, a small town in the Tuscany region of Italy. On our second night here we met a British couple who had sold their house in England and moved to Lucca after buying a Gelato shop here. Entrepreneurs are every where – I just can’t get away! And why would I want to? The common experiences led to a lengthy and enjoyable discussion. We talked for a long while about how hard owning a retail establishment was and how they feel like they are never able to get away. The way they look at it, they are able to take a couple of months off in the rainy Tuscan winter when the tourists decrease in numbers, so working long, hard hours the other times of the year seem worth it (a hard job that seems worth it…sound familiar to anyone else?)
A couple of days later I met a woman who, like me, has her first book coming out this summer. She is an American living in Lucca but is begrudgingly preparing to move back to the U.S. in October. After talking to her for a while, she shared with me that she and her husband owned several medical clinics and then sold out a couple of years ago. Since then they have been traveling while her husband tries his hand at first living the traveling-consultant life and now is making his first attempt at going back to work for someone else. I shared various cautionary tales I have heard about entrepreneurs cashing in their independence and working for someone else, but it seems they have found a company that values flexibility as much as they did. That would be the only way. After all, once you get used to not counting your vacation and sick days, it gets really hard to go back.
I guess what this whole experience confirms for me is that entrepreneurship is empowering but contains the same types of challenges no matter what continent you’re on. It is STILL, the hardest job you’ll ever love!