You cannot really make it as an entrepreneur (or any endeavor for that matter) if you are not consistently motivated. Nevertheless, being motivated doesn’t mean staying out of touch with reality. If anything, motivation is likely to be much more meaningful and impactful if it is undergirded by a healthy dose of realism.
Whenever you read about successful entrepreneurs, chances are their stories will dwell on the positives and victories. However, many had to endure difficult times to get where they are today. By having an accurate picture of what to expect as an entrepreneur, you are likely to be better prepared to overcome the hurdles.
The following is a look at some of the things you won’t hear often about the life of an entrepreneur.
1. There’re Times You’ll Be Unhappy
Successful entrepreneurs are masters of anticipation. They are always on the lookout for the next market wave so they can make the right moves before everyone else does. When things work out, this can be powerful boost to one’s enthusiasm and self-confidence. But nobody, not even the most admired entrepreneurs in the world, hit the mark every time.
Alphabet (parent company of Google) is often viewed as one of the most successful businesses in the world. But think about the number of Google projects that have failed. When you do fail, it can suck the energy out of you and may leave you teetering on the edge of depression. It takes all the effort and motivation you can muster to get back in the saddle.
2. Your Social and Family Life May Suffer
Many employees look forward to quitting the 9-to-5 and running their own business in the hope of having greater freedom and control of their time. Those who do get to make the big leap from employment to entrepreneurship soon realize that this isn’t necessarily consistent with reality.
With the entire burden of the business’ resting on their shoulders, entrepreneurs have to work much harder than employees. Unfortunately, this can come at the cost of spending precious time with one’s family and friends. Going to work early and continuing late into the night is bad enough. But even when they are with family, their thoughts will dwell on the goings on at work.
3. You’ll Need Short-term Credit
Unless you have an extremely fat savings account or are the heir of a tidy fortune, going into business is going to strain your finances. Your cash-flow will be abysmal and living from week to week isn’t improbable. Under such circumstances, you can expect to call on your overdraft facility, credit card and other sources of short-term credit regularly.
You’ll form a close albeit love-hate bond with your banker. There will be times when you’ll have to make the difficult decision of choosing between your basic personal expenses such as food and clothing, and taking the train, bus or a cab for a client meeting.
4. You’ll Require Mental Fortitude
You’ve certainly heard about successful entrepreneurs who at one point, were down to their last penny then made one last ditch effort that paid off spectacularly. These stories are certainly inspirational but for many businesspersons, it’s a much longer and cyclical process of repeatedly falling and getting up.
You have to be prepared for the disappointments that await you. Among the investors or potential customers you approach, only a tiny fraction will be willing to give you an ear. Maintain a positive attitude and surround yourself with mentors who can guide you through the difficult times.
Making sure your processes work seamlessly also helps keep you sane since chaotic operations will only add to your stress. For example, think about streamlining and automating your invoicing process (Freshbooks for instance provide invoice templates on their own web site).
The key take away from these points is that entrepreneurship isn’t just a career or job but a lifestyle. You must have the right frame of mind both at work and at home if you are going to succeed.