By Monica Eaton-Cardone
No one ever said that starting a business would be easy. However, even if you understand there will be challenges when you first start to develop entrepreneurial aspirations, you can’t be completely prepared for what lies ahead.
Before they reach success, every entrepreneur finds there are certain lessons which can only be learned the hard way, Here are a few of them:
- If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward
The world is a dynamic place, and nothing is ever standing still. You have to constantly push forward and advance just to avoid falling behind. Change along with your environment or exert the strength necessary to change your environment to suit your needs. Either option will require a commitment to innovation.
Unwillingness to change doesn’t necessarily equate to perseverance; it just means that you’re going to follow your set path regardless of whether it leads to success or failure.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
- Some people won’t like you
Setting a goal to avoid having any enemies seems like a really nice idea. However, it’s not a particularly realistic one.
The truth is, some people simply aren’t going to like you. Bending over backwards to please everyone will only strain your quality relationships and exhaust energies on people who won’t appreciate the effort. When you are faced with someone who is committed to disliking you, it’s best to just come to terms with that fact and move on.
- Your priorities will probably change
Many people assume entrepreneurship and ‘being your own boss’ means exponential amounts of free time. In reality, your new business venture will likely demand more of your resources than your previous work life. As a result, some of your priorities will need to change. It’s important to recognize early on what you are and aren’t willing to sacrifice.
It’s also important to realize that just because relationships and activities change, doesn’t necessarily mean the change is for the worse. For example, occasionally, a Saturday morning with the kids might be an all-family envelope-stuffing party rather than lying on the sofa watching cartoons. That’s ok. Look for ways to maintain quality time in light of your new situation.
- If it were easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun
Yeah, it’s going to be tough, but that’s what makes entrepreneurship so great! If the path to success were a gentle, consistent upward incline, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge. And if it weren’t a challenge, you wouldn’t feel the sense of accomplishment or self-worth.
Remember that concept when you’re confronted with the constant highs and lows. When the going is good, take the time to look back and see how far you’ve come. When you’re feeling down and out, focus on the inevitable highs that will accompany your determination and perseverance.
- Your ability to be a team player is one of your most valuable assets
Personal development author Brian Tracy said, “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
Teamwork is essential for success. Look for opportunities to connect with other people and strengthen both your efforts. That might mean mentoring someone, attending local networking events, presenting at industry conferences, or spurring on your co-workers and employees.
You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you accept the fact that two minds are better than one.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
- Consider ‘expert’ opinions, but stay true to what you know
New entrepreneurs often follow the advice provided by ‘experts,’ then later realize that advice is faulty or impossible to implement. When that happens, entrepreneurs often blame themselves. Could it be that they’re simply not good enough to make a fool-proof strategy work for them? Not necessarily.
Taking advice is not a bad thing, however, you shouldn’t blindly follow what someone else says simply because they have more years’ experience than you. Take your own experiences, capabilities, and preferences into consideration. Then, use your own personal insight to evaluate the effectiveness of any suggestion before you put it into practice.
If you know something is true—whether based on your own past experience or a gut feeling, act on that knowledge. Don’t disregard what you know for what someone else says. Your own intuition, first-hand experience, or hunch got you into this situation; don’t disregard everything you’re passionate about on a whim.
There are probably hundreds of realities you’ll uncover during your entrepreneurial adventure. However, you’ll only make those revolutionary discoveries if you take a chance. Don’t sit on the sidelines, afraid and guarded, just because you are uncertain of what the future holds.
Get out there and experience life. Make your own mistakes along the way!
What did you learn about entrepreneurship when you jumped into it?