Entrepreneurs are considered to be role models more for the youth in today’s generation. You’ll see that media today encourages people to go out on their own and start up their own businesses. From blogs about how to be successful as an entrepreneur, to facilities such as incubators and accelerators. You get to choose your own working hours, you don’t have to report to anyone, you can pick out your own policies. It’s easy to see why everyone today wants to be an entrepreneur.
However, entrepreneurship has been overly romanticized. The temptation of freedom to work whenever and wherever, of being your own boss, and having financial independence are very strong. While all these things of course occur when you’re running your own business, it's not always easy like the stories make it seem. In fact, it's sometimes easier working for someone else than running your own business. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about being an entrepreneur.
1. It is physically and emotionally draining
No one really tells you how alone you’re going to feel. Regardless if you’re surrounded by family and friends. More often than not, you’re going to feel alone. Your thoughts will make you constantly doubt what you’re doing and whether you’re making the right decision. The effort it takes to fight these doubts and thoughts and the effect it has on you is unimaginable.
You’re also going to be putting in a lot of effort when you initially start out. You’ll be making pitches, phone calls, scheduling meetings, testing your product/ service, trying to keep an account of things’, and a lot more. Time management is going to be an important skill to have. The earlier you learn to prioritize and manage, the better things will go for you. But if you do or if you don’t, you’ll still end up being physically and emotionally drained. You can’t be prepared for what you don’t know is going to happen.
2. Not everyone becomes a mega-rich. Not everyone even gets rich
People think entrepreneurship is the shortest path to getting rich. That’s not even the slightest bit true. Most businesses tend to fail. And even if they don’t only a small percentage become mega rich. So before starting out a business, you need to know that success won’t come immediately. You also need to accept that your business venture might fail. Yes, you might have a phenomenal idea, but if you don’t find the right clients or investors, you probably won’t make much headway in the markets.
Movies and articles based on entrepreneurs often tend to do the impossible. Summarize a person’s entire life in a small time period or space. Most of these movies mention and show a small portion of the hardships these entrepreneurs went through. But there is still so much more you don’t know. No one really openly discusses what problems they faced or difficulties they encountered. It won’t make much sense to you until you’re in this position too.
Have a strong and solid reason for creating your business. Remember it and stick with it for as long as it makes sense. Have a long term plan that helps motivate you. And remember, we often overestimate what we can do in a year. So, play it safe and don’t overextend yourself.
3. You’re going to face a lot of rejections. Learn to accept it
The one unifying aspect every entrepreneur probably has is rejection. The fact that people are always going to say no to you until you prove yourself. But how do you do that when everyone keeps saying no to you?
You need to come to terms with the fact that a lot of people are probably going to reject your idea. And at times it will break your heart. Either because of them saying no, or because of the person who said no. But if you just focus on the no, you’ll miss out on the lesson. Try and understand or ask why they said no. For every rejection, find a way to receive some feedback for your business. This will help you do better and eventually reach a point where the no turns into a yes. Sometimes to run a business, you need thick skin.
4. Somebody else has probably already done your idea. You have to focus on selling it better than them
Most ideas people come up with have been inspired by some problem in society. But that’s the problem, everyone can be inspired from the same source. So, you may find that someone has already capitalized on the same idea and tried to make a company before you did!
However, an important part of being an entrepreneur is the ability to sell. That doesn’t just mean selling a product or service. It means selling your motivation, selling your company, and selling your brand. If you happen to be better at the product or service than the people who came up with the idea before you, then you’ll end up selling better than they did. Selling well. Learn how to sell well.
5. You’re probably going to work more hours than if you were employed
As the founder of the company, you’re going to have to bear a lot more of responsibility than anyone else. How successful the company will be is entirely dependent on you. The concept of separating or balancing work and life sort of becomes distorted at this point.
When you’re employed, you can sign in and sign out based on the contract you signed at the time of hiring. When you’re running a business, sure you set your own work time. But when you start off and you’re building a business, then you’re working all the time. In fact, you’ll probably end up working 100 hours a week. Before you can settle into managing your own work timings, your work will be managing you in an effort to efficiently and effectively set up your business. So be prepared accordingly!