For most people who consider entrepreneurship, starting a business, being your own boss and escaping the 9-5 rat race, working from home in your pajamas is the ultimate dream.
No idiot manager to deal with (how did he get that job anyway?), you call all of the shots, no office politics, no red tape. If you want it done, it gets done. You can finally feel passionate and fulfilled with your work and there are no limits on your income, when you need a raise you simply give yourself one. Right?
Well, sort of………in truth the dream and desire of running your own business is very often much different from reality.
You will have freedom, freedom to pursue you goals and ideas, freedom to do things your way, freedom to juggle your schedule or take time off. You will also have longer work hours, more responsibility and more stress.
Only half of start-ups and small businesses survive 5 years and only a third of those make it to 10 years. Starting your own business may seem like a great way to take control of your life, and it can be, but it is a lot of hard work and not without risk.
People tend to daydream about the upside of starting a business, but forget to consider the details.
#1 Follow your Dreams
We’re always told to ‘Follow Your Passion’, but you can’t just sit around all day thinking of new ideas, writing your book, running your website, making products or counting your ‘millions’. There are tons of other tasks to be done such as business planning, bookkeeping, packing and shipping, fixing the printer, learning new software, marketing, making sure you don’t run low on supplies, replying to emails, etc…
At your old job someone else; actually many other people handled these things……….now it’s all up to you. Instead of one job you are now doing five jobs.
#2 You’ll have to work a Lot
Many people envision themselves starting a business, hiring some employees, kicking back and running the show. Uh, uh, doesn’t work that way. You don’t have the money to hire anyone or do anything except work your butt off to get things off the ground.
If you do have extra income and it is necessary to hire an employee then you better do as much of everything else that you can do or pretty soon the money will be gone and your company will go under.
Most entrepreneurs will work 70-80 hours a week. If you can’t commit to that then you may want to re-think things.
#3 The Money isn’t always There
When working for an employer we get used to receiving a paycheck on a regular basis. When you have your own business it is ‘Feast or Famine’. Sometimes the money comes pouring in, at other times you may have very few sales for a week or even two. This can be very disconcerting when you are used to a regular income. You need to learn to budget and to cut out unnecessary expenses until the business is consistently bringing in revenue.
Vacations, new cars even small luxuries like expensive coffees, concerts, restaurants, may need to be curtailed and cut back. You need to sacrifice now so that you can live the life that you want in the future. Delayed gratification is very difficult for most people.
#4 Failure is an Option
Sooner or later you will have a failure of some type. The entire business may go under, your latest product or idea may not live up to your expectations. Failure is inevitable, essential and even helpful. Knowing this doesn’t make it any easier, but know that you are not alone. It happens to all of us. The important thing is to learn from it.
How you respond determines whether you have what it takes. You need to realize that you made a mistake regroup and go on. You can’t dwell on it or wallow in disappointment. Know that when something doesn’t work out you need to push on and try again, you can never give up. If you want to throw in the towel at every misfortune then you will have a difficult road ahead.
You read many stories of entrepreneurs who have had great success and make 5 or 6 figures a year, but you never hear of the struggles that went into getting to that point.
#5 You can start a Business while still Working
Many people think that it is an either/or proposition. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact you should NOT quit your day job until you find out if your idea is viable and has merit. You don’t want to give up your financial cushion until you know if you can make it or not.
Yes, this means that you will be working two jobs and putting in lots of hours, but as I stated earlier if you aren’t prepared for this then you may not be ready to start your business. I started working when I was 15 years old and my father worked 60+ hours a week his entire life. It’s not easy, but it can be done.