At a networking event, catching up on people I hadn’t seen in a while, one invidual took time to talk about being an entrepreneur. His articulate point of view, personal assessment, about what the journey of an entrepreneur is about, was very insightful.
First, he had mentioned that the reason most entrepreneurs fail is they give up too soon. Being an entrepreneur, second, is more of a journey of Self than of building a business. Particularly in those first few years.
Turning the corner and becoming profitable takes time, a lot of hustle, and the desire to keep going in the face of adversity. This of course, did not mean to say that proper Market Research and Business Planning can be replaced by hard work. You do need a good idea, a needed product or service that the market will pay for and of course, location, location, location.
However, it does mean that once you’ve taken your great idea and hit the ground running with it, you won’t have customers beating a path down to your door. This is where the real work begins. The confidence is shaken, the workload is enormous, the ride is fast, rocky, and life feels very uncertain. This doesn’t mean to say that those “rare” instances of success cannot happen; they do, we hear about it al the time in the media.
What we don’t hear, is how many fail. So for those of you who are out there considering the journey, remember that it will require a lot of hard work. Don’t be impatient, never turn down an opportunity to bid – you’re never too busy to market – always book some time to market your business (a day per week). The first 6-12 months is the most critical. Have something that is easy to sell, service or product, something that can be bought quickly, with little hassle or decision-making. Make everything about what you do simple to the point that all obstacles to buy are removed.
Then work hard and think about the long road. If you can persevere, you’ll make it. I don’t know if there are others here who are considering self-employment, but I think many would agree with the stress experienced can be quite daunting.
Oh, yes, one last thing. The one other important thing this fellow mentioned last night. The entrepreneurs worst enemy is him/her self. The battle that rages in their own mind, their expectations, patience, faith, tenacity, confidence. Hang in there! You can do it!