It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but often does: Entrepreneurship is hard. Insanely hard. And demoralizing. You read the glossy covers about so-and-so who built x-app and just sold to y-company for 11 bajillion dollars. And you think: Hey, I can do that! So you try and start a business, only to find that traditional knowledge is a farce. Just remember: The. Struggle. Is. Real.
Example of some poor traditional advice: Go first to your friends and family for support. In theory, these are the people who should believe most in you, who should support you. But in reality, they’re the ones most likely to shoot down your ideas. Their whole goal is to divert you from your path.
This is the type of stuff they don’t typically teach in business school courses. You expect to be taken advantage of by a smooth-talking guy in a $5000 suit. But the reality is you are most susceptible to the people who are closest to you. Even if you prove wrong those closest to you, they’ll be the first to tell you why you should hire them, why you should help them. They’ll magically forget how they told you to forget about your goals. They’ll pretend they were there since Day 1. They’ll tell themselves you only made it because they were there to help see you through.
That’s another truth: People want to be part of the success, without doing any of the work. At this company, we’ve been approached by a number of people who want to “partner” or “join forces” which, initially, encouraged us. We felt people finally saw the greater value of what we are providing. But after a few conversations, it became apparent: They had nothing valuable to offer. Even worse, they wanted us to help drive them business, without a way to promote our efforts. In one-way relationships, the struggle is real.
We’re told to find funding, be it traditional or nontraditional. But what happens if you can’t secure a loan, or you haven’t built up a network large enough to find a funding source? What happens when your credit takes a large hit because you didn’t hit your monthly number and can’t make payments? What happens when the necessity to put food in your family’s mouth conflicts with your desire to accomplish something fulfilling?
This isn’t to say that entrepreneurship is all bad. There are a great many rewards that come with setting out for yourself. But too often we glamorize the journey and neglect to tell the whole story. Innumerable people, businesses, and schools are attempting to capitalize on the benefits of running your own business, but few truly speak to the harsh reality that often comes along with it.
Most people won’t be entrepreneurs. And truthfully, most people shouldn’t be. The economy thrives with an educated workforce, with employees who provide and increase the value of an organization. The struggle of entrepreneurship is real, indeed. If you’re considering venturing out on your own, be prepared for the psychological trauma, the financial strain, and the burden of failed relationships. In order to experience the success of entrepreneurship, you must be willing to experience and persevere through these, and many other obstacles by staying mentally strong.