7 Hard Truths About Being An Entrepreneur
The glitz and glamor of a successful entrepreneur’s luxury life can be very misleading. It paints a picture that if you start a business, you’ll attract money, fame and happiness.
But what isn’t revealed is what really goes on behind an entrepreneur’s life when the doors are shut.
Family and friends think that I have it easy, that I’m lucky to live this lifestyle and that I’m flexible with my time.
Flexible, I am.
And easy? No way.
What they don’t see is the long hours, criticism, sacrifices, failures and financial stress that I went through to get to where I am today.
An entrepreneur’s journey when looked at in a graph, is never a consistent incline.
It’s more like the following:
From the time I did very well in my online business to times of hardship when I was in $100,000 worth of debt from making bad decisions in my business, it all shaped the person I am today.
In this post, I want to lay some truth about being an entrepreneur because entrepreneurship is never smooth sailing.
1) There’s No Guarantee You’ll Succeed
You can aim to be the next Elon Musk or Richard Branson, but with all businesses, there is no guarantee your product, service, app or idea will be a hit.
As self-fulfilling as it is to create your own product or service, there’s no guarantee all those hours you’ve put in will bring you any results.
On the contrary, when you have a job, you know you’re going to get paid for the work that you have done.
2) You’ll Get Criticized
You want to pursue your idea. You believe in your idea more than anyone else. So only you understand what it really means to make your idea work.
When I started, my friends and family were skeptical of the whole idea of making money online and that you can work from home. They assumed I was a bum who sits in front of his computer not wanting to go and look for a proper corporate job and wear a suit.
No one understood, no matter how much I explained to them. I learned you just have to stick to what you believe in and not care what others (especially non-supporters) think of you.
3) You’ll Never Scale Your Business if You Try To Do Everything Yourself
The truth is, you are only one person and you have 24 hours in a day. When you start your business, your intention may be to just be a solopreneur. That’s fair, but if you want to grow your business, the only way is to build a team.
As a business owner who completely bootstrapped his business, I wasn’t just limited in my budget to spend on business expenses but I also felt like I couldn’t trust others to handle the day-to-day work. I thought that no one could do it better than me.
So for many years, I was working 60+ hours a week and eventually got burned out. I didn’t hire a full-time staff for 8 years.
I now look at hiring people as leverage and an investment into the business. It’s my way of buying time. I’ve cut down my hours from 60 hours a week to just 20 as a result of hiring staff.
4) You’ll Be Forced To Learn How To Lead and Run a Business
I learned the hard way. I was in my early twenties when I started my online business. I was young, naive and had no clear business plan. I just knew I wanted to make money online.
I felt a lot of what I have learned to date was from modelling those I admired. I watched what they did and “modelled success”. I wanted to learn their thought process and how they got to where they are.
The overriding theme I see with my own coaching students who are getting results are those who always see their glass as half full, they are disciplined, know that they need to get out of their comfort zone and have a deep desire to succeed.
5) You Have To Learn How To Manage Your Time
When you have a business, it can take over your life. Your relationship with your spouse can ruin because you no longer prioritize it or anything else for that matter. It may feel like you have to constantly work on your business. There will always be excuses.
As a new parent, it took me many months of trying to juggle work and life. With a proper routine and schedule in place now, I’d like to say I have a good balance.
Procrastination will also get to you, especially if you’re working from home. You have to be insanely self-disciplined.
That’s where time management comes in.
My work days are Mondays to Thursdays, and that’s when I make sure I put in 200% into those days. I use the “64/4 Principle” and Parkinson’s Law to make sure I get tasks done, and not just any task but tasks that grow the business.
6) You Can’t Get Too Comfortable
You could have a product that sells like crazy one minute and completely bust the next.
As an entrepreneur, you need to stay on top and innovate to be a leader in your industry.
You have to be open and willing to change.
You can complain that “the industry’s changed” and that “it’s not what it used to be back in the day”, but all that talk isn’t going to grow your company.
You’ve got to put your ego aside and take that next step to implement a new idea or whatever opportunity that may arise to help you grow your company.
The moment I got comfortable is when my business stagnated.
7) You’ll Need To Make Sacrifices and Compromises
You’ll be making some sacrifices in life as a compromise of pursuing your venture one way or another.
It may mean that you’ll need to put in more hours than you did at a regular 9 to 5 job or to invest your money into the business than buying the latest MacBook Pro.
Just think of all those hours and money you put into your business as an investment to move it forward. Never feel sorry for the lack of.
Starting a Business isn’t For Everyone
Some days I think “why am I taking on all these responsibilities when life could be so much easier if I just worked for someone?”
In times like this, I constantly remind myself why I’m doing it—to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that my business eventually brought me so that I can spend my spare time with my family, travel the world and live life on my terms, not dictated by someone else.
I hope this post hasn’t dithered you from pursuing your venture. I wanted to distill some of the misconceptions you and many others may be thinking, because having your own business doesn’t exactly mean you’ll be successful.
A business will test you.
It will challenge your limits to the extreme.
It will test your patience.
It will also test you to see if you can get back up from failures.
There are many pros and cons to being an entrepreneur but to me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My view on it all is that you either control where you want to go in life or someone else will.