As you’re considering casting your net into the entrepreneurship waters, it’s exciting to think about the prospects of not having to answer to anyone and making your own hours. You’ve probably read tons of resources about successes in your chosen field and believe that you’re ready to join them and make your own history.
There’s nothing wrong with this, provided it’s not all that you see. The journey through entrepreneurship is not without its dark elements. It takes long, arduous years of dedication and work for most people before they reach the success stories that you see. Every polished image you see came about due to hard work and behind-the-scenes sacrifices, sometimes checkered by despair and failure.
That's the real truth about entrepreneurship, and here are a few more, in case you want to walk down this path:
1. Money Won’t Come Immediately
It’s tough to raise the capital you need to set up a business, and the profits do not come that quickly either. For the majority of businesses, the first few years are about pumping more and more resources towards getting the infrastructure, meeting expenses and basically just staying afloat. You’ll spend much more than you make for several months, meaning that you should have another way to meet your daily expenses in the time before the business breaks even.
2. Your Personal Life Takes a Huge Hit
Your personal relationships will be affected by your journey into entrepreneurship. Many people imagine working for themselves as being able to work three hours a day at will. However, you soon discover that you’re working much longer and harder than you did when you were employed.
Be prepared to work at home, weekends, holidays and be on call 24/7 to deal with arising emergencies. Even when not working, you will probably be distracted thinking about something or other that is still pending in the business.
3. Realizing You’re Not as Good a Juggler as You Thought
Being at the head of your own business will require you to be many things. Sure, you’ll do what you love to do, but there’s also administration, legal regulations, technical work, HR management, supervision and marketing, which you will have to do until you’re big enough to recruit specialized staff to handle them.
No matter how exciting it is to be an entrepreneur, the constant hat-changing can and will get tiresome.
4. The Emotional Rollercoaster
There will be times when your emotions will run haywire, even if you take up meditation and try to find healthy ways to cope with the stress. The reason is simple: you’re fully invested in this enterprise, and not everyone will care about that.
Sometimes you may feel depressed at your progress or when things don’t work out as you hoped. Sometimes the financial pressure of bills in the absence of revenue will tear at you. During those times, you may make terrible decisions. But you will need to let them go, forgive yourself and keep pushing.
5. Nothing Goes the Way You Expect
You can write out a business plan and dot every I and cross every t, but few things about the first few years in business will go the way you imagined. You cannot predict everything, and small new businesses are more susceptible to external forces. To survive, you will have to adapt, sometimes in ways you are not prepared or skilled enough to effect. That’s just the way it is.