What it is like to be an entrepreneur (self-employed) in Croatia


When you are entrepreneur (self-employed), you invest everything you have and sometimes even what you don’t have in something that mostly only you believe in, and everyone else looks at you blankly and asks: “Why doesn’t he find a real job? Why does he waste his time? If that idea was so good, someone else would have thought of it. It will surely fail him”, but you do not listen to voices from the side because you are driven by some crazy passion, an insatiable desire for self-proof because you know that you have something that others do not have and you see something that others do not see.

I remember the story of two shoe salesmen who came to explore the African market and when they returned to the firm to file a report, one said ” This is a desperate market. Nobody wears shoes here. ”, And another said ” This is a phenomenal market. Nobody wears shoes here. ” You’re that other salesman who sees opportunities that others don’t. An eternal optimist whose glass is always half full and never half empty. You have to be adept at words, a great psychologist, a phenomenal actor, funny, adaptable, a top negotiator because you have a new role every day. You are an artist even though no one is aware of it.

And it’s not a matter of racing for money, but of playing, creating, creating something out of nothing. You don’t want to be enslaved to social norms, you don’t want to be part of a system. You are looking forward to every little thing you made yourself and you want to share that happiness with others, so sometimes you are boring and people think that you are just bragging, but they do not understand that you are a little child who is happy with every little thing, and you want to show them the world where you make your own rules, a world where you don’t work from nine to five, a world where Monday is the most beautiful day of the week, a world where you can love your job because you don’t see it as a job, but as a game.

In this seemingly idyllic world, you often dance on the edge of an abyss and sometimes it seems that you will fall into it and there is no salvation for you. Those are the moments when you ask for support for what you do, but everyone has already written you off. You get into shit and people feel like you stink. You are looking for some famous advice to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, but the only thing you can hear is: “Stop being stupid! Get yourself a real job! We also have our problems. We don’t need to listen to your bullshit. ” At best, they will say: ”We are not afraid for you. You always manage”.

You are now slowly realizing that you could be left without everything you have been creating for years. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, your hands are shaking, you start to doubt yourself and you ask yourself: “Maybe all those voices from the side were right? Where did I go wrong? Why didn’t I leave the country when I could like others? No one here wants you to succeed. Why am I sailing against wind? ”

There is silence, grave silence, blackout …, and then you stop for a moment and see what you have achieved and created from nothing and say to yourself. ” Hey! Did I do all that myself? Well I can be proud of myself. I did something great, but not only for myself, but also for the community. Other people in this country live from my idea, from my work. If I succeeded before, why not again? Many others fell to the floor before me, but it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, but how many times you get up and move on. I have no right to self-pity. If I don’t believe in myself, neither will others.

At that moment, you are no longer afraid of losing property, you are no longer afraid of failure, you are no longer afraid of condemnation (we told you it would happen to you), you are afraid that you will have to live like 99% of other people around you. That moment when you know that you could wake up one morning to the irritating sound of a cheap alarm clock from Ikea, look at your watch and say, ”FUCK! I’ll be late for work again!”, awaken something in you. That childish shine in your eyes comes back and you suddenly remember why you decided to be an entrepreneur. You look in the mirror and say to yourself: I still have 24 hours before they turn off my cell phone because I haven’t paid my bills. I will dig through all the business cards I have, all the emails, all the phone numbers and I will contract something, I will sell something. It is enough for me to survive this day, this week, this month, and then I’ll move on to new victories. I will not give up and I will not listen to voices from the side. It’s their life, but not mine.


Author: Josip Novosel aka Dear Leader Joe 



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