Everyone at one point dreams about being their own boss. The feeling you get when you realize that you get to determine your income, the amount of time you put into your work and the output of your energy is one of euphoria at the endless possibilities.
With that said, starting a business can be a lot of work that requires fortitude and perseverance. Statistics show that as many as 90% of startups fail in the first five years. But just because those reports are backed by numbers and figures doesn't mean that your own business has to fail. There's always that chance that you can make it and be successful.
Being an entrepreneur is not as easy as business books portray. Here are 5 important lessons that I've learned from experience as a startup entrepreneur that you can take with you in the new year.
1. Starting is way harder than you think.
Everyone will tell you that starting your own business is hard and that makes sense.
You're starting from the ground up, laying all the necessary blocks that are required to make your business one day function as a profit making venture.
But no matter how hard you think it is to start, it's harder than that. You will have to learn to prioritize and focus on your business goals and learn how to deal with failure as you progress. That's a worthy skill to have.
When I started Magic Dust, a web development agency some years ago, It wasn’t easy. My team and I faced countless hurdles trying to get clients onboard.
After a few years, everything has drastically changed. If I had given up when things were tough, we wouldn’t have gotten and done jobs for the 6-figure clients we now have.
All it takes is to have the outlook that things will get tough when you launch out. That it won’t always go your way. With this mindset, you can surmount any obstacle that comes your way when you’re trying to reach your goal.
2. Failure will come but it’s not the end.
So you've started your own business and things are looking up for you. And then you encounter your first setback and you feel like your world has come to an end. Failure is a part of life that we must go through in order to build ourselves into being better.
With each failure that comes, you have the opportunity to notice the mistakes made, learn from them and make sure you overcome them next time. So in itself, failure is a learning process, and as an entrepreneur you're constantly pushing yourself to learn more and achieve more.
And the feeling of fulfillment that comes with achieving something you thought you couldn't shows that you are challenging yourself to be better. If you don't fail, how do you know you're doing the best you can possibly do?
3. Entrepreneurship can be very lonely
One of the perks of being an entrepreneur is being able to envision and outline an entirely different path for your life; better schedule, bigger control over time, profitable income flow.
But while you see these things, there's every chance that your family and friends can't. Not all of them will understand the vision that you can see, and many will question why you would want to drop the security of a steady job with outlined time slots and a comfortable salary. As humans, we're programmed to seek security and stick with it.
Your family and friends not understanding nor seeing your vision is okay. What matters is that you see it and you understand it. Actions speak louder than words and rather than trying to explain to them the significance of what you see, work on it. When success comes, they will cheer you on and celebrate with you.
4. Sometimes, quitting just isn’t on the table.
There are periods of crushing defeat that can leave you completely exhausted and fed up with everything. And then you start to think of quitting everything.
But then you realize that you've invested so much time and so much money into the startup that quitting would be ludicrous when compared to keeping at it.
At that moment, you realize that quitting isn’t an option and you have to get back up, tie your laces and keep moving forward with the plan. That’s what being an entrepreneur is all about, finding a way to make a seemingly insurmountable situation work.
5. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.
One of the major reasons you decided to start your own business is the freedom to use your time as you see fit.
Your time is an invaluable resource to you, and once it passes you can't get it back. There will always be ways to make more money, but there are no ways to make more time. Don't start your own business and end up working way longer than you would at a regular job. You will need to learn how to be more efficient with your time.
It's all about working smarter and not working harder, finding more efficient ways to get things done at the end of the day.
You can’t let your business drain you completely because that would defeat the purpose of having the ability to use your time as you want.
One of the beauties of entrepreneurship is the wealth of experiences that can be gained from speaking to different business owners.
And while these lessons have been of great importance to me, the lessons of another entrepreneur could be different. Despite the similarities of starting a business, each person’s experience is different. Hopefully, these lessons outlined will be able to help you to success on your journey to being an entrepreneur in 2017.