It can be easy to look at the long list of self-made people who changed the world and think that the life of an entrepreneur is easy. However, what the public doesn't see when they look at the sparkling lives of rich, successful entrepreneurs are all of the disappointments and failures that greeted them early on in their pursuits. The bottom line is that there are countless hours of work, struggles and defeats behind every success story. It is easy to become lost or disillusioned along the way as you try to make the world as excited and impassioned about your vision as you are. Many entrepreneurs learn important business lessons the hard way. The good news is that you can keep a clear head while you build your brand if you keep some important truths in mind.
Entrepreneurs need to be prepared to meet the challenges and obstacles that await them. Here are six hard lessons you need to know if you're ready to chase your vision.
#1 Get Used to the Sound of Crickets Chirping
The one thing that takes many people by surprise when they decide to launch a business is all of the silence they'll encounter. The simple truth is that you won't constantly hear cheers and comments from the public during those long stretches of preparation and planning that go into launching a brand. In fact, the one thing you're bound to constantly hear is silence. Even negative feedback can be hard to come by when you're an entrepreneur. This is a big shock for many people who are used to getting short-term feedback from professors, mentors, friends and parents in their personal and academic lives. How can you get around this as an entrepreneur? Networking with peers you can trust for bouncing ideas back and forth is a great way to get honest feedback whenever you seek it.
#2 You Can't Make Deadlines That You Don't Set
The biggest problem with being your own boss is that you are your own boss. This can be a real problem if you're the type of person who needs the prodding of authority figures or peers to stick to deadlines and get things done. Many people don't realize just how difficult the task of staying motivated to meet deadlines is once you remove the external pressure of a classroom or corporate environment. Scheduling tools and planning programs can aid you tremendously if you need help visualizing when certain deadlines should be met.
#3 You're Going to Need to Get Your Hands Dirty
All of your skin is in the game if you're an entrepreneur. This can come as a big shock if you're used to being an employee. Many entrepreneurs get too comfortable with outsourcing tasks far too quickly. You really need to dig in and become familiar with every facet of the organization you're trying to grow if you want to be an informed and effective leader.
#4 Customers Won't Just Appear
Many entrepreneurs greatly underestimate how much effort it takes to attract customers. While a product or idea might be truly great, that's not always enough. Customers won't show up until they know why they need your product. It is important to remember that it takes a great deal of effort to get your product seen and noticed. In fact, the marketing and distribution aspects of launching a product are typically more challenging than developing a good product in the first place.
#5 You Need a Break From Your Passion
It's not unusual to hear an entrepreneur describe a product or business like it's a baby. Entrepreneurs truly love the process of growing and nurturing a business from the very first stages. However, there is still a need to relax and recharge once in a while. Stepping away for a bit to enjoy some time off before launching or growing a brand can help you gain perspective. Failing to separate yourself from your work can cause you to lose enthusiasm and become exhausted. Healthy boundaries are definitely worth establishing when it comes to creating a balance between work and life.
#6 There Is a World Outside of Your Business
Many entrepreneurs get extreme tunnel vision when it comes to their work. They will only view their company as being successful if it reaches certain benchmarks or attains certain levels of recognition. It is important to remember that the world is a very big place. It is entirely possible to earn a good living by running a low-key company that fits very comfortably into a niche market. Many entrepreneurs have led enriching, successful lives without ever making the covers of business magazines or owning private jets.
Overall, you should always be content with measuring success in terms that don't force you to compare your standing with others. Chasing status instead of doing your best to nurture your brand could cause you to drop the ball entirely.
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