Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person's "course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)". It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work (and sometimes also formal education).
Why many people think entrepreneurship isn't a career is beyond me. My theory is Entrepreneurship as a career usually starts around the age of 10. It starts when you sell your first bicycle or skateboard or something as simple as trading playing cards. From this moment on your work experience has started and puts you on a track towards your long and exciting career.
There are a ton of similarities between a "normal" career path and that of an entrepreneur. The problem is entrepreneurs don't see them, causing them to get frustrated quit and start a "normal" life. If they had just known that having their 2 year in the making business or idea fail was just a fast track path to their goal. Entrepreneurship has never been so easily accessible as it is today. With the internet booming and constantly changing these are exciting times and those who take advantage of it will prevail.
So let's make an example of the "Normal Career Plan" NCP and that of the entrepreneur.
1. Go to school, get good grades.
2. Maybe after school have a job, but nothing to serious because your parents wouldn't want it to interfere with your studies.
3. Apply for expensive school's so you can study what you think you want to do incredibly knowing only 4 years after hitting puberty.
4. Go to school party, learn your "passion" get out and get your dream job.
5. Realize it took 2 years to get a job and it's not even closely related to what you studied or a lower level job making you "over qualified".
6. Having this job for 10 years working your way up building your "resume" AKA credited knowledge that people determine solely on references, AKA network.
7. Get fired or quit to have your mid life crisis, where shortly after you start a new life, another job.
Now the way things are today these steps may move much much faster. I honestly believe that people will hold jobs for a maximum of 5-10 years before switching.
1. Go to school day dream get good enough grades to get through and possibly do very well in a few subjects that are of interest to you.
2. While going to school have a job or small business where most of your focus is.
3. Leave high school and think why would i want to go to college when I'm already making money?
4. Realize that college is a great business as people are applying.
5. Think your going to start a business and be a millionaire straight out.
6. Realize it's much more difficult than you assumed and take 2 years of trying different ideas for one to gain traction.
7. Think you have it all figured out to find yourself 1-3 years later 'getting fired" or failing.
8. Step and repeat.
Now entrepreneurship and the "normal" career path both have similar qualities in that both have huge misconceptions and both are very difficult. When the entrepreneur fails the NCP gets fired. They must learn from this and try to find another job. When one idea sticks for the entrepreneur the NCP gets a raise. When the entrepreneur gets a write up in the newspaper the NCP gets a promotion. So on and so on.
The point of this is don't look at you career as an entrepreneur as a chance to break out of your 9-5 and make a million dollars on your own watch. It's not that rebellious. Delayed gratification will pay off as much as it would for the the NCP employee. Stop looking at each business as the be all end all because you may just be working at the deli stage of an NCP. When your idea gains traction DO NOT think it's over because you may have just got a job as an NCP. Do you see where i'm going with this?
There should never be a time in an entrepreneurs life when he says "i guess i'm going to have to get a JOB like everyone else". Wrong you just have to move forward and look for a new idea like an NCP would look for a new job.
Entrepreneurship is NOT a hobby and should be taught to students in high school as an option to the NCP. So the next time you make it or break it as an Entrepreneur just remember it's just a chapter in the book of your long career. Slow down learn from your mistakes and you will move forward.
Most importantly if your do not START any projects you will be EXACTLY like an NCP that doesn't look for a new job. So get that "deli job" and get the ball moving.