Entrepreneurship is NOT for everybody. You’ll run into challenges and obstacles that will convince you–to the point where you’ve never been more certain about anything–that you should give this dream up, that maybe indeed you aren’t cut out for this. If you do have it in you to press on, to keep charging forward no matter what, you’ll be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.
This journey usually happens in three stages. Despite what you’ve probably been told, entrepreneurship is NOT for every body.
WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
10 WARNING SIGNS THAT A PERSON ISN’T MEANT TO START AND RUN A BUSINESS.
If any of these “red flags” apply to you, you might want to reconsider your entrepreneurial goals and stick to your day job.
You can’t stand the heat. Before you jump into self-employment, make sure you’re very comfortable being uncomfortable. Every day, you’ll need to try something new for the first time. You have to be ready to put yourself out there and do things you’ve never done before — all with less financial security.
You have professional ADD. If you get bored and frustrated easily, or you’re the type of person who likes to go in a new direction every 60 days, business ownership may not be for you. Being an entrepreneur requires unwavering laser focus to achieve your business goals.
You get stage fright. As a business owner, you are the primary spokesperson for your company. You need to be ready and willing to take center stage and spread the word whenever possible. If you’re uncomfortable in the spotlight or you don’t like public speaking, you’d better master these competencies before you launch.
You hate roller coasters. As a business owner, you never know what’s around the corner. It could be a really steep hill or gut-wrenching free fall. There will be countless ups and downs, and you need to be prepared to hang on and enjoy the ride.
You think complexity is cool. Complexity may be cool, but it’s hard to create, market and sell. The simplest solutions are the most successful, and as a business owner, you need the ability to distill concepts to their simplest forms so they can be easily communicated.
You can’t explain the steps of shoe-tying. Tying a shoe is a complicated. So is running a business. You have to be able to delegate tasks and to direct others, meaning you need the ability to break big ideas into easy, actionable steps for implementation.
You don’t believe in marketing. Marketing makes the business world go round. If you don’t embrace it, you’ll never succeed. You need to be ready to dedicate effort and money to the task of marketing your company, and give it time to work using a variety of mediums. There’s no silver bullet.
You’re easily winded. Once you get past the adrenaline rush of starting your own business, you’ll encounter a portion of the journey called the “middle mile.” This is where you face challenge and drudgery. Your feet will hurt and your breathing will be labored. Despite these inconveniences, you must be able to place one foot in front of the other and press on.
You’re a problem passer. In business, there are problems that must be decisively resolved by the owner. Sometimes customers and employees will be unhappy with your decisions and that’s OK. Successful entrepreneurs never postpone difficult choices.
You’re on the quest for quick cash. Profit shouldn’t be the reason you are in business. You are in business to solve problems and to serve others. If you find a way to deliver a better solution or service than your competitors, you will make plenty of money, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
THE THREE COMMON STAGES OF ENTREPRENEURIAL GROWTH
Stage 1: The Curious Stage
Maybe you’re sick of your job; sick of being broke; sick of having to answer to someone above you. Mingled with that are the material aspects: a nicer house, cars, money, jewelry, traveling, freedom, etc.
That means in this stage most people are still working a job, but they daydream about what it would be like to work for themselves. They may have bought some books or even taken some courses, but they have not actually taken consistent action to actually start a business.
The qualities “wantrepreneurs” need to go from desire to form is really about deciding these two things: Be realistic about where you are in your life. For example, if you took the risk of just quitting your job to really take entrepreneurship seriously, what kind of impact will that have on your family, if you have one? Your marriage? How many people will be affected by that decision? Also decide that if you commit to this, you are committed. You have to be at the point where going backwards is not an option.
Having mentioned being realistic about your life’s situation, I had to learn the hard way that it’s not all about doing the reasonable, rational thing. The very spirit of an entrepreneur is that he or she just don’t fit in; don’t want to fit in, can’t fit in, with the rest of society. You have to be a little loco. So of course use common sense, but don’t be bound by what appears undo-able.
Stage 2: The Serious Stage
Things are happening. You’ve put some skin in the game by investing in a company or product creation. You may perhaps still be working at a job, but at the very least you’re taking consistent action daily, and actually seeing some money start to come in. Maybe not profits, but at least revenue. You’re having an effect.
To get to the next stage, the beginning entrepreneur must be willing to work their asses off. Maybe you’ll get a day off per week, maybe not, but this ain’t the 9-to-5 grind. It’s long hours doing everything from customer support, to sales and marketing, to cleaning toilets. No opportunity to put your name out there is beneath you. It’s a humbling stage, a crucible that separates the contenders from the pretenders.
Stage 3: The “Scale and Multiply” Stage
You’ve gone from a leak to a full-scale break in the dam. You’re generating signiﬁcant revenue and beginning to make a proﬁt. You’re looking for ways to expand your reach, either by speaking at or hosting events, etc. Now the goal is going from 5 and 6-figure profits to 6 and 7-figures, or beyond.
To move and grow through this stage, the entrepreneur must realize first and foremost they can’t do everything or be everywhere. By now you must identify the skill set you have that is the most profitable, and focus on that. Outsource or hire key players to execute other jobs and tasks within the business that need to get done.
To close, I want to stress this: the difference between entrepreneurs and those we aren’t? We use failures as motivations to keep going. It’s a mindset, a way of being. You have to be hell-bent on your mission to see your vision become reality. Obstacles are opportunities.
For us there’s this blurred line between work and play. The reason why I work so much is that I love what I’m doing.
There’s a lot of BS out there about what it means to be an entrepreneur, so some go into it only to discover years later that it’s not for them, or they go into it with these incredibly unrealistic expectations.
I’ve tried to lay out as simply as possible what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, but at the end of the day, it’s like the Matrix: are you are red pill kind of person, who knows only experience will reveal truth, or a blue pill, who doesn’t want that kind of responsibility?
Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re ready for the ride. You’ve come this far. Keep going!