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Entrepreneurship has become a hot trend; Everyone will tell you how starting a business is the road to wealth. More than ever, students are setting up businesses straight out of school, and more people are giving up their 9-5 jobs for start-up life. It seems like everyone is either an entrepreneur or aspiring to become one.
Entrepreneurship has become so romanticized that many people assume that it is the easiest or only route to financial independence and freedom. But being your own boss isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as many would-be entrepreneurs are soon discovering. What would entrepreneurs tell you if you sat down with them long enough?
1. It is not the easy way to make money
Many would-be entrepreneurs (who want to become entrepreneurs) are seduced by the idea of making huge sums of money in a short period of time. This is the idea often sold in the media by “rags to riches” stories. But the truth is, starting a business is likely to put you in a worse financial position than if you were at least initially employed. They stock products, pay out loans, pay for an office, pay employees, spend on marketing, and absorb business losses and many other expenses that you probably weren’t planning on. If you quit your job, you will no longer have any insured income at the end of the month.
Before your business breaks even and makes good money, be prepared to stay for a while without paying yourself as you will have to reinvest to make the business grow. Because of this, it is important to have at least six months (or ideally a year) of wages saved before quitting your job to start a business. Studies have shown that it takes an average of 7-10 years for a start-up to be truly successful. As a popular saying goes, overnight success takes about 10 years.
2. Your relationships will take a hit
Starting a business is an act of juggling that involves spending more time outside of your family and friends. Despite your best intentions, you will find yourself skipping, rescheduling, and canceling friends and family to meet your startup’s needs.
Entrepreneurship is also a lonely road as you will likely feel that most of the people around you don’t really understand what you are going through as a budding entrepreneur. And by the time you make friends with other entrepreneurs, they are likely too busy or engaged in their own struggles to hang out with you. Therefore, becoming your own boss can put a strain on your personal relationships. It’s imperative to learn how to use your time and prioritize your goals. The truth, however, is that nothing can prepare you enough for how demanding a start-up can be.
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3. Rejection is the name of the game
You are excited about your business idea and convinced that everyone has been waiting for it. However, the reality on the ground is that most people don’t care about your idea until it starts making money. If you’ve watched the Shark Tank TV show, you’ve seen some entrepreneurs make millions after their ideas were ruled worthless by millionaire investor Sharks. You have to develop thick, hard skin because you keep hearing “NO”. But to be successful you have to keep going. Sometimes rejection can be an indication that you need to change something about the company or your approach. Learn the lesson and grow.
4. Ideas are nothing, selling is everything
As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. Don’t be surprised that no one seemed excited about your “revolutionary idea”. While an idea is a good starting point, the real test is turning your idea into reality. In business, your sales ability is more important. This includes selling your idea, vision, services, products, and yourself. However, you don’t have to invest a lot of money in marketing to sell more. When you start out, you need to invest more money perfecting your products and services. Use free or inexpensive marketing such as social media, influencer marketing or media interviews.
5. You will work more, not less
Are you finding your 9-5 job exhausting? Then entrepreneurship is not the answer you are looking for. When starting a business there is a lot of responsibility right on your shoulders. You are the CEO, the caretaker, the accountant, the receptionist, the messenger and so on. While you may no longer have to work 9-5, you will likely be working around the clock or something nearby. You’ll work late at night, work early in the morning, sneaking out of family time to answer work emails and calls, spending weekends preparing for the week ahead, and not having time for vacation.
You will be working more hours than ever before, but that’s fine because it will all pay off at some point. However, remember to make time for yourself and your family. You should not fall into depression or otherwise harm your health and well-being from being overworked. Instead of doing everything, you can outsource certain tasks to people who are really good at them. In the long run, this can cost less and allow you to focus on what you are really good at or enjoy doing – which is why you made the decision to become an entrepreneur.