If there was a best time to be an entrepreneur and start your own business, it would be now. These days, entrepreneurs are everywhere. They are highly praised and regarded as bold leaders, trailblazers, and forward thinkers. They are often creative thinkers who think outside the box. The idea of being an entrepreneur is sometimes glamorized by the look of a brand’s Instagram account, or how many followers or likes they have.
But the truth is, they are just people like you and me. The amount of work, hardships, and setbacks that entrepreneurs go through are often not talked about. Many say that starting your business is an emotional rollercoaster, and they are right.
As someone who started and now runs a sole-propriety business (in 2 locations!), I often run into setbacks and problems. I cry and stay awake at night, wondering if I made the right decision in starting my business. It just comes with the territory. But I wouldn’t trade being a business owner for anything.
My intention of writing this is to help others who are either starting their own business, or are already running their own, and help you understand what many of us entrepreneurs go through on a daily basis. You are not alone in this. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, but for those who are up for the challenge, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
5) You will outgrow people.
When you make the decision to be an entrepreneur, you make the choice to be a better version of you. As Mel Robbins so eloquently puts it in her book, The 5 Second Rule, “Every phase of your life and career will require a different you.”
And this different you? It may not sit well with others, especially those who don’t believe in your dreams. And that is okay. (Side note: "outgrowing" people does NOT mean believing you are better than them) You will just have to set boundaries with old friends or family members, because you will only want to surround yourself with like-minded and supportive people.
The best part about this? You will have the space to welcome new, exciting people who are enthusiastic about what you do and are cheering you on to succeed.
4) You will have to find a purpose that is bigger than yourself.
"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing" -Ron Swanson
There is no half-assing it, being an entrepreneur requires your full ass. This means your time, your whole heart, and your soul. Starting a business for the sole purpose of making money is a highly draining and unfulfilling way to be spending your energy. You will easily get burned out and want to quit.
And being an entrepreneur is a marathon, not a sprint. You are in it for the long haul, through thick and thin, until you reach the finish line.
By finding a purpose, a “why” that is bigger than yourself, you find the inspiration to keep going. You fulfill a void in the world that you feel passionate about servicing. You also get to make money while doing it.
My “why?” is to make the world a more beautiful and happy place for my family; my husband, and my two children.
Only you have to understand your “why”, and no one else needs to validate it. If it is important to you, pursue it, full force.
3) You will need a journal (trust me, it is a game-changer!)
Four years ago was when I initially dreamed of owning my own business and being my own boss. That’s right, four whole years ago. When did I start? The beginning of this year.
I had spent thousands of dollars on marketing courses and social media consultants, who were giving me more than enough information needed to start a business. So why wasn’t I able to start a business? Because I couldn’t figure out what the hell I wanted to do.
I was carrying this idea in my head for years and years, but never took the time to figure out why I needed to do it. It wasn’t until this year (beginning of 2017) that I had heard about how effective journaling can be for entrepreneurs. I bought an inexpensive journal and began writing out my thoughts.
At the time, I was lost and desperate. I didn’t really know where to start with my journaling, so I began writing a letter to my late loved ones.
I began with a letter to my late brother, Clyde. Then to my grandparents on my mother’s side. And then to my late grandparents on my dad’s side.
It wasn’t until I wrote to my late grandparents on my dad’s side, that I finally broke ground. I still have that journal entry, and still remember it like it was yesterday. This is what it said:
“Dear Grandma Marta and Grandpa Roger,
I also know you have always been with me. You’ve watched me and my kids. I know you want what’s best for me and you love me. I need your guidance to be successful in my career. I want to make money to provide for my family (my why) and buy a home for our kids to grow up. Please give me a sign. I’m willing to listen. I love you.”
I kid you not, right as I was finishing the last sentence of my journal entry, I got the sign. What was the sign? I’ll have to save that for a later blog post!
But for now, trust me when I say that journaling will change your life.
2) Just because you’re running your own business, doesn’t mean you need to do it alone.
In the initial stages of actually going through the motions of opening up my business, I didn’t share much of what I was doing with anyone. I gave my husband tidbits of what I was planning but didn’t fully share my plans, and even worse, didn’t ask for his input or help. I was very wrong.
Believing that I was able to do this on my own was a big mistake.
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D., is a book that showcases stories of different millionaires and pinpoints common habits or traits that lead to the success of these wealthy individuals. The one common thread between them all? A supportive spouse.
Now I am not a millionaire at all, but I am someone who strives to be successful as an entrepreneur. And I’ve learned through this journey that having a supportive spouse really is everything.
Just look at almost every model-ish girl or makeup guru on Instagram. Behind everyone of those successful bloggers is her partner, taking the photos and editing the videos.
You’ll need someone to celebrate your wins with you when you’ve had a great week. You’ll also need someone who will literally let you cry on their shoulder when you’re feeling helpless and just don’t know what to do.
My husband’s support really has been what has kept me going and growing. Asking for and accepting his help was very difficult for me in the beginning. But when I finally opened up to his input and support, it made a big difference in my business and in our relationship.
And in that same way, you can support your partner in his/her passions and be a power couple where you both can achieve success together.
My husband, for example, is passionate about beer and tech. So he made a podcast about it. I support him by watching the kids and putting them to bed while he records his episodes in the next room.
It can be as simple as that.
If you have a partner, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s better when you are in it together.
1) You don’t have to conquer the world, just conquer the task in front of you.
You know that one task that you’ve been avoiding? The one that has been hanging over your head all day, that you’ll just put off until tomorrow? Put that task on the top of your to-do list and get it over with.
It may be as small and life-changing as writing in your journal, or as difficult as sending a stern email to someone. Either way, be like Nike, and just do it.
Procrastination is a killer when you are working for yourself and setting your own deadlines. It can be very easy to push those deadlines back, to the point that you don’t ever get around to finishing the task at hand. Or in my case, it took me FOUR years to finally get my business up and running. Who knows where it would be now, had I started back then.
Conquer the hardest thing first, and you’ll find the rest of your to-do list is easily done. Just. Start. Now.
I hope this encourages you to take the next step in fulfilling your goals! Feel free to reach out to me if you want to say hello or have any questions.