This is a very common question many ask themselves prior to embarking on their entrepreneurial ventures and throughout the journey itself. It is a healthy question to consider and revisit from time to time. As a small business owner, I feel not only a responsibility to inspire, but also to tell it like it is without the motivational sugar-coating commonly seen in this space.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone…
You better be ready to eat “No’s” for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the snacks in between, and still wake up with the same appetite and energy as the previous day. You better be ready to sacrifice more even when you feel you’ve already given all that you had and you better be ready for those around you to not always understand those sacrifices.
You better be ready for hat hair because you’ll be wearing a lot of hats: the accounting hat, the legal hat, the strategy hat, the resolution hat, the negotiation hat, the family hat, the friend hat, the self-motivation hat, and so on.
You should be confident in your mental fortitude because you’ll have to compartmentalize like a seasoned veteran, as you’re bound for many failures prior to hopefully attaining your goals. If you let initial failures stain your personal relationships or sully your business conversations then you and your business better be ready to face plant on the road of life.
Can you handle failure?
The Small Business Administration claims that half of all small businesses tend to fail before reaching the 5-year mark. A Harvard Business School Study found that over 75% of venture-backed startups fail. The statistics on survival rates of actual projects within those businesses are likely even more grim. You may be able to deal with betting your own money on yourself and losing it, but are you ready to bet and lose the investments of your family, friends, and professional investors who believed in you?
To run a successful company you have to put forth your maximum effort and it’s hard to not have your brand and your business become a part of your identity. This makes it very difficult to overcome failures. You have to risk a lot of emotional chips that you put on the table, and if things go belly-up, you have to be mentally strong enough to handle the losses.
Having been heavily involved in the start-up ecosystem my entire career, I can attest to the existence of a very serious mental health epidemic among startup and small-business professionals. The unpredictable nature of it all places a lot of entrepreneurs into pressure cooker situations. Many silently struggle with anxiety disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts. You have to know your stress limits and be aware of which activities effectively allow you to blow off steam. You should be just as focused on growing your mental fortitude, as you are on growing your financial wealth.
You also better be ready for success…
Success is not always easy to handle. The more success, the more stress. Being in control of your livelihood, the livelihood of others, and your life is exciting, but also an enormous responsibility.
The more success you have, the more your competitors will take notice of you eating off their plate. They will resort to any tactics possible, often times unethical ones, to infringe on your growth. Do you have the insight to know when it’s wiser to take a small loss, and when it’s the right decision to awaken the dog in you and fiercely battle the competition?
So is it worth the risk and hardship?
This is a question only you are equipped to answer, but you have to understand the reality of the endeavor. You have to be ready for the possibility that despite doing everything correctly and giving your absolute best effort, things may still go very wrong.
The flip side can be a very fulfilling and rewarding journey even without large financial gains. The process of self-discovery, unlocking your full-potential, and taking control of your life are all beautifully embedded into the essence of entrepreneurship. Want to know how I feed off of the ugly, dark side of entrepreneurship? Watch the full video below…