Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, but few people understand what it really takes to be successful. There are tons of perks to running your own business, and there’s no better way to make a fortune.
However, before you quit your job and hit the ground running with your business idea, you need to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. In this article, I share five things about entrepreneurship that you have to accept, even if you don’t want to.
1. Building a Business Takes Longer Than You Think
You know the feeling.
The excitement and nervousness of launching a new business.
The start of any new venture is always fun and exhilarating. You have ambitious goals and all of the desire in the world to accomplish them.
Do you know what happens next?
Not much for a while. Once the initial buzz wears off and reality sets in, you realize this is going to take a lot longer than you originally anticipated.
Forget the overnight success stories you’ve seen. The reason we’re so amazed by overnight success is that they’re incredibly rare.
Unless you’re starting a freelance business in an area where you already have the skills and possibly a network, you shouldn’t expect to make a profit in the first year of your new business. Realistically, you shouldn’t even expect to earn a full-time living within the first couple of years.
Keep your day job and build your business in the evenings and on weekends. If you can push through the times where you feel discouraged, you will eventually make it work – or you’ll figure out a better business to create.
2. You Won’t Always Get Support from Family and Friends
Some people are fortunate enough to have family and friends that support their entrepreneurial ambitions. That’s awesome for them.
However, most people aren’t so lucky.
You’re going to hear a lot of the same doubts and criticisms:
- Why don’t you get a real job?
- Are you sure this is going to work?
- You’re wasting time on these silly dreams
It can be extremely hurtful and discouraging, but don’t let it get you down. They usually don’t mean any harm.
If you think about it, do they really have any reason to believe your business will be wildly successful? Have you started any other successful businesses?
The best way to deal with this problem is to brush it off as the cost of doing business.
When your business takes off, you’ll find that everyone around you changes their tune pretty quickly.
3. Entrepreneurship Can Be Lonely
Building a business occupies all of your free time. Even if you have a business partner, most of your time in the first few years is spent grinding out the work necessary to grow.
All of those hours of focused work are hours you’re not hanging out with friends, your significant other, and your kids if you have them. Eventually, you will start to feel like you’ve fallen off the map.
While your business definitely needs to be a top priority in the early stages, don’t forget to make time for your loved ones every so often.
The real struggle of loneliness isn’t from not physically being around other people – it’s from the mental aspect of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs constantly struggle with self-doubt and fear, wondering if they have what it takes to be successful. When you start a business, all of the risk of failure falls on you.
Something you have to accept is that the people in your life most likely will never understand the mental challenges of entrepreneurship – and that’s the loneliest part.
Fortunately, you are NOT alone. There are tons of online communities, such as this one, where you can connect with like-minded people who know what you’re going through.
4. Nothing is Final Until Money Changes Hands
Before my first run at entrepreneurship, I assumed that most people in business were looking for a win-win outcome and generally tried to stay true to their word.
Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I remember specifically with my first business in the oil industry, I had a signed contract on a deal that would’ve made me tens of millions of dollars.
I was ecstatic! I was already picking out a new car and looking at homes I could buy.
I thought for sure this was a done deal because the other guy was legit – he had the money to do the deal and he even paid a non-refundable $100,000 down payment.
I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
He backed out and took his loss on the down payment. Bye-bye mansion and dream car.
Since then, I’ve learned that people will commit to all kinds of things that they’ll never do. They’ll even invest a lot of their own time into something, only to change their mind.
That doesn’t mean you should have a negative attitude and get defensive about everyone trying to rip you off. It simply means you shouldn’t get your hopes up until the deal is done and the money has changed hands.
5. There’s No Such Thing as “Working for Yourself”
Many of us are drawn to entrepreneurship because we’re in love with the idea of “being your own boss” or “working for yourself.”
It’s true, all of the struggles of entrepreneurship are still better than taking orders from a crappy boss. However, you still aren’t working for yourself.
Unless you are buying your own product or service, you don’t work for yourself. You work for your customers or clients or readers or viewers or whatever you call them.
The quicker you realize this important fact, the better off your business will be. The good news is while some customers can be extra demanding, most of them will treat you better than any boss ever did.
How has your experience as an Entrepreneur been so far?