When you think about entrepreneurship, you imagine how amazing it would be to become wealthy due to the opportunities you get as an entrepreneur. You have dreams about making a lot of money, having a flexible schedule and enjoying pleasures that the average person will never get the chance to experience. But for all these great things that can occur, there is the brutal reality of entrepreneurship that most people ignore.
Entrepreneurship is a daunting lifestyle. Not every entrepreneur is successful. The successful entrepreneurs you see on television and on your favorite publications represent a small percentage of entrepreneurs who make it big – majority fail.
You may be trying to decide if it is worth the effort to start your own business. You will have to be willing to suffer in the short-term if you want to build long-term prosperity. Be ready for these psychological burdens that entrepreneurs have to deal with:
1. Being accountable
As an entrepreneur, you are the person who has sole responsibility for the success or failure of your business. Even if you have a team, the accountability that lies with them is minimal compared to the weight that lies on your shoulder. As the leader of your organization, you are the individual who has the final word on most decisions, and you are the one who will be most affected by the outcomes of those decisions. This can be difficult for a person who is easily rattled, to deal with. If you are the type of person to point your finger at others instead of taking responsibility, then entrepreneurship is not for you.
You will also be expected to make many decisions and some of these decisions can cause your business to either sink or swim. Some individuals cannot process decisions logically and end up freezing in the moment or making emotional decisions. Decision-making can also increase your levels of stress, and increased stress can lead to poor decision making, which gets you caught in a relentless cycle. Cultivate a stronger mental mindframe if you want to succeed in being accountable for both your actions and the actions of your team.
2. Financial stress and uncertainty
Never base your startup off of the success of someone else’s business. Some businesses are able to develop quickly with little to no investment. There are also the businesses that have millions of dollars in the capital before they are able to become operational. The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that the average small business requires at least $30,000 to open its doors for business. This a pretty hefty price tag for an entrepreneur and would likely require you to spend your savings or take on large amounts of personal debt.
Therein comes the decision of quitting your job or operating a part-time business. Choosing to operate a part-time business would mean you are still able to earn a steady paycheck while building your business. However, since you only get a few hours to spend on your business each day, growth can be slow. On the other hand, the problem with being a full-time entrepreneur is that your business might take time to generate revenue. This puts you in a precarious position. You will most likely be forced to survive at least a few months without any income.
Another problem that you will have to deal with is if you take money from family or friends. They will likely have the expectation that you will return the money borrowed, which can put a great deal of pressure on your shoulders when your business is not doing as well as predicted. Learn how to create manageable expectations not only for yourself but also for the people who invest in your business.
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3. Having a hard time trusting
If you believe you can build a business by yourself, you will constantly be frustrated when you cannot elevate your business. This is because all great businesses are built with a great team of people and not by the greatness of one person. Still, you have entrepreneurs who find it hard relinquishing responsibilities to their team because they trust no one else but themselves. This puts their business’s growth at a standstill, giving a competitor the opportunity to capitalize on this resistance.
If you want your business to be successful, you will need to delegate tasks, have faith in your department heads and trust in the fact that your partners and vendors will fully support you in making your business successful. You will also have to be willing to listen to the advice of entrepreneurs who have more experience than you. You do not know it all, no matter how smart you believe yourself to be. The guidance of others can cut your learning curve in half and propel you towards success.
4. Work-life balance
Like it or not, being an entrepreneur would mean you putting your personal life on the back burner to work towards the success of your business. When you first get started, this sacrifice would not be hard to deal with because you are passionate about chasing success. Your enthusiasm may begin to wear off though as your business grows – you see your friends enjoying their lives and having fun while you are stuck in the workplace toiling away day and night.
You will see your family and friends less, getting a few hours of sleep every night will become the norm, and your eating habits will worsen since you are working long hours with minimal breaks. This creates an opportunity for depression and burnout to occur. You would want to avoid this scenario at all cost because not only is it bad for you, it is also bad for your business.
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Entrepreneurship can be an incredibly lonely journey to be on. What is even tougher is that your family and friends will likely be unable to relate to you because their lifestyle is completely different from yours. You will learn the employee and entrepreneur lifestyle is nowhere near the same. You will have to be the boss and the ultimate professional to all your employees – showing weakness is not allowed, even if your company is dangerously close to failing.
You will not have many peers and likely not make a lot of friends along the way. You will make professional contacts but true friends will be a rare occurrence. The never-ending feeling of loneliness will complicate all other problems you face as an entrepreneur, even further.
If you are an entrepreneur struggling with these mental issues, try and seek help. While it is great that you are dedicated to your company, you need to take care of your mental wellbeing too.
Take some time away from your business, even if it’s for a few hours. Spend quality time with your friends and family. Talk to other entrepreneurs to find out how they cope. Prioritize your mental health, or both you and your business will suffer the consequences.
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