The entrepreneurial life is one of the most challenging, stressful and risky avenues to success you could possibly choose. The issue with doing it alone in business ventures is exactly that; you’re alone. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be driven, thick-skinned, and ready for any curve balls.
Here is a list of 10 ‘brick-in-the-head’ moments you’ll need to overcome on your path to becoming a market leader:
1. Letting criticism get to you
The ways society deals with ambition and success is very odd, and you may feel like you’re unfairly criticised by your peers regularly. The reality is that you’ll encounter plenty of jealousy and bitterness during the course of your career.
This isn’t to say that all criticism is malicious – constructive critique can go a long way. But remember that nobody understands your vision better than you. Remember that the art of good entrepreneurship is to delve where nobody else is willing to go.
When Bill Gates decided to offer his Internet Explorer browser as a free package with his Operating Systems in 1995, it was considered a counter-intuitive move by some, but ended up being the cornerstone for Microsoft’s resounding dominance.
2. The temptation of ignoring constructive criticism
While it’s worth adopting a thick skin to allow unjust criticism to bounce off of you, it’s also important to know when to take it on board and consider constructive comments. As you’re taking the leap into controlling your own business, sometimes it can become too easy to concentrate on the nuances of your work and miss the bigger picture. Take the time to consider advice that you are offered – if it fits in with your vision, then it may be worth taking.
3. Keeping on top of your cash flow
Making sure you’re focused on your finances is one of the biggest parts of being an entrepreneur – after all, it’s all about making money.
If you’re worried about your cash flow, then it’s probably a good sign. All entrepreneurs struggle with money at times in their careers – and so if you don’t keep an eye on your figures then you risk showing signs of complacency. If your figures are really getting to you, then it might be a good idea to skim through your finances and start saving cents here and there.
4. Facing the unknown
One of the most anxiety-inducing moments is being kept up all night wondering which way your venture’s going to go. Entrepreneurship is a volatile career, and coming to terms with the unknown is a big part of the life that comes with it.
Prevention is better than a cure when it comes to dealing with the uncertainty of building businesses. Try to manage your resources well – it could save a lot of worrying a little bit further down the line.
“Many times, the thought of fear itself is greater than what it is we fear.” – Idowu Koyenikan
5. Abandoning your previous career or education
Often the first step on your path to success can be the most difficult and stressful. You could be leaving a comfortable job, or abandoning your studies to go and pursue an idea that, no matter how good, is not guaranteed success.
Here it’s once again advisable to make sure only you have the final word on the route you take in life. Be sure to listen to the advice that those close to you have to offer but just remember that the choice is yours.
6. Time management
Difficulties with time management can be a big cause of stress when setting up your own business.
The most stressful aspect of this could be that you neglect other parts of your life in order to oversee the successful running of the company.
Juggling your time is perhaps the primary problem that is faced by entrepreneurs. You have to make sure you focus on your output, marketing and networking all at the same time, which can get overwhelming.
Here, the best remedy is to keep records of your tasks and goals using available tools. One should set rotas of where to invest their time and attention over the course of a coming week. It might not seem like much, but it could lift a heavy burden off of your head.
7. Making the right decisions
As an entrepreneur, the significance of the decisions you make could mean life or death for your business. This burden can weigh you down heavily. Remember the very best in the industry make the wrong decisions, and many of the greatest entrepreneurs today have gotten into the position they’re in through trial and error.
The markets are often volatile, and extraneous circumstances which could never be accounted for can come into play. One must find a way of coping with the process of making company defining decisions, and once you’ve become confident enough to take big decisions in your stride, you’ll be well on the way to industry success.
8. Staying true to your vision
Things have a habit of changing very quickly in business. You’ll need to adapt to the ever-shifting sands and stay true to your vision. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Construct a mission statement for your business that you can refer back to in order to hold on to the reason you decided to pursue your idea in the first place. Sometimes seeing what you’re working towards written down can be enough to keep you focused on your goals.
“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
9. Team building
Here it’s important to recruit not only the most skilled candidate but the candidate that’ll best fit into your vision for the office culture. Sometimes finding a confident and engaging candidate is a critical factor in recruiting for a job that requires plenty of teamwork and client interaction. The best course of action for lowering the stress of team building is to look for candidates that express themselves in a way that fits the business work ethic best.
10. Dealing with failure
Virtually every entrepreneur has to face the prospect of failure at multiple points in their career. The best way to avoid becoming bogged down by an unsuccessful business is to see it as an exercise in trial and error. Learn from your mistakes, and if your startup has failed, what caused it to fail?
Welcome failure as a valuable learning tool, and jump back into the industry you desire to improve. Improve your original idea or find another one because the life of a successful entrepreneur is built on plenty of experiences and lessons – many of which were learnt the hard way.