Entrepreneurship is a game that must be played by finding the balance between taking risky actions today and being patient in the long-run. Those just starting out in business, though, are pretty eager to see their big win as soon as possible. But they don’t realize that itself is keeping them from finding what works and working more on the right things.
So, let me share some truths entrepreneurs learn only after they’ve given their first business idea a chance. The points below might help you avoid some of the common mistakes of new business owners, reconsider your plan and strategy or find a way to put your eggs in more than one basket.
1. Your first business will most probably fail.
One thing is sure. It won’t be the business that will make you loads of money and allow you to transform the rest of your life.
But that’s okay. You need this first failure (and even a few of them) to learn more about your industry, customers, competitors, the psychology of business, the challenges, the money management, and more. All this isn’t something you can just read (although that helps too). Instead, you need to learn from experience.
So whoever you are, whatever industry it is that you’re entering, give one of your business ideas a chance. But don’t expect it to be your big hit. Most of the successful entrepreneurs have many failed ventures behind their huge success. Even the legendary Elon Musk didn’t succeed with PayPal — or with launching his first few rockets, for that matter — from scratch.
2. Easy money isn’t worth your precious time.
I’ve seen so many aspiring digital entrepreneurs entering a niche only because it’s profitable. Or partnering with someone because the person is making big promises. Or investing all their initial capital into a marketing channel that’s given quick results for one of their competitors. Or making their first money from free online surveys.
None of that works, though. You want to build a business that provides value, can grow over time, will become a brand and make a difference in people’s lives. And for that, you need all your focus, attention, time and energy.
If you invest these into dealing with issues (which will be inevitable if you decide to go for the ‘get rich quick schemes’), you’ll be distracted and not motivated to work more on the business.
3. Be ready to make some sacrifices.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone as there are some big sacrifices to be made. Such is the case with being available to clients 24/7, dedicating all your free time (mornings, evenings, weekends) to get the business off the ground, saying ‘no’ to vacations, big purchases or nights out with friends for a year or so until you start making money from your new project.
Are you ready to do all this? Set some time aside to imagine your life once you’re an entrepreneur.
There’s also the fact that you won’t see any money coming in from day one, or the first month, or even the first year depending on what industry you’re in and what your business model is. Be ready to do all that before you dive in. You don’t want to end up giving up after having invested your time for so long.
4. The learning will never stop.
If you want to be self-employed because you’re tired of being told what to do or having to learn things all the time related to your job, you’re on the wrong path. Because as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to also become a lifelong learner.
That means getting to know your industry inside out. Constantly reading about new trends in it. Building new skills (as each of them will contribute to the mindset you’re forming and the business decisions you’re taking). Understanding difficult concepts about sales, finance management, leadership and more. Meeting with people, finding mentors and learning from their advice. Listening to podcasts while you’re commuting or in the gym so you can engage your mind and learn stuff even in your free time.
That’s what happens once you get into a business. Is it something you can do with a smile on your face instead of complaining about it all the time? If the answer is yes, go ahead and get to know your market. Then take an online course on building traffic to a blog or using Facebook ads to drive sales.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. The responsibility only increases once you own a business. You won’t necessarily need to scale and get others on board or enter new niches if you don’t want to. But the points above apply to every situation.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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