The majority of us dream of one day becoming entrepreneurs and business owners. Forget the 9 to 5 and say goodbye to office politics and tyrannical bosses, the life of an entrepreneur is one for me.
However, for those of us who haven’t walked the path of an entrepreneur, we oftentimes fail to appreciate the sacrifices and challenges faced along the way. Most of the time, we think about earning stacks of cash whilst having the freedom to live the life that we’ve always wanted.
We’ve previously talked about how you can become a successful entrepreneur but today, we take a look at what many of the experts often don’t talk about, the various challenges, difficulties and hardships that you can expect to face as an entrepreneur.
Understandably, this is a less sexy topic that many would not want to talk about, but in order to truly succeed in the world of business, one has to face the harsh realities of life. Here we take a look at some of the harsh realities of entrepreneurial life.
- You won’t make much money (at first)
Most budding business owners make the mistake of assuming that the life of an entrepreneur is one of ease with plenty of disposable income. Unless you’re both incredibly lucky and absurdly skilled, this could not be further from the truth.
When you first head out on your own, your business will be rocky at best with only a limited number of clients. You’ll find yourself desperately trying to close any kind of deal that you can get your hands on; no job too small, no fee to low.
During the first couple of years, money is going to be incredibly tight and you may even find yourself without a steady source of income. It’s like betting on the Kentucky Derby: until you are a horse racing expert it is likely you won’t make much money immediately unless you get very lucky.
After all, bills need to be paid and there just isn’t enough left over for you. This can come as a culture shock to many during the early stages of a business and it is during this time that you’ll find yourself having to dig into your reserves. Furthermore, even if your business starts to turn a profit, you may end up being a long way off from your initial salary.
It is during this stage that many budding entrepreneurs falter and call it a day. However, if you’re able to persevere and push through, your efforts may be rewarded. Note that it’s just a maybe and not a guarantee for success.
- You’ll be more burnt out than ever
Entrepreneurial burnout is a major problem and one often overlooked by budding entrepreneurs. Some folks turn to entrepreneurship as a means of escaping a bad work environment only to find themselves in an even worse position.
From meeting clients and designing business proposals to preparing invoices and buying paper, the entrepreneur is a jack-of-all trades but a master of none. He/she is expected to shoulder the burden of leadership while still ensuring that goods or services are delivered in a timely manner.
Hence when you step into the shoes of an entrepreneur, it’s best that you fully understand what you’re committing to. Expect long, sleepless nights spent hunched over a laptop and stressful days securing clients and getting work done.
More than one entrepreneur has complained about entrepreneur’s guilt; a situation where business owners find themselves being unable to detach themselves from their work after-hours.
This is all perfectly understandable but more often than not many of us fail to properly address entrepreneur’s guilt and consequently this leads to extreme burnout.
- You’ll need to learn to delegate
As we’ve mentioned before, the entrepreneur is a jack/jill-of-all trades and a master/mistress of none. Hence in order for you to take your business to the next level, one needs to be able to delegate tasks to employees/contractors.
Oftentimes, the inability to let go can lead to excessive micromanagement and other irrational behavior. As a result, this stunts the professional growth of the organization’s employees and prevents them from taking the initiative in the future.
So, if you’re looking to start your own business, it’s best that you learn how to work with others. Instead of directing your staff, work alongside them while offering mentorship and guidance in order to realize your vision.
The path one takes as an entrepreneur is fraught with challenges and hardships. However, if you’re willing to push on through and persevere, the rewards that await are quite worth it.