There is a stigma out there that entrepreneurs are superior beings and that we know more than the general public so we create money out of thin air. While that may hold somewhat true for very well positioned and successful entrepreneurs, that is the complete opposite for those trying to earn their stripes. I always say that you’re not an entrepreneur until you have succeeded, so giving yourself that title early on gives you a false sense of belief and confidence which actually can prevent you from succeeding more than help you.
You become an entrepreneur once you innovate the world and help facilitate society. As described in Third Circle Theory, entrepreneurship is much more than simply learning to make money.
When I was leaning to be an entrepreneur and had yet to earn my stripes, I was in a very unique situation as I had already successfully launched two businesses and earned money through a great career along with a series of wise investments. You can learn more on how I made my first million here.
Regardless of how much money I had, I wasn’t an entrepreneur. Believe it or not, I was going through the same things someone in their first venture would go through; the anxiety, the stress, the loneliness – it was all there. That never changes because you are rich or poor because devotion doesn’t understand dollar signs, therefore the desire to succeed is universal even though the path to getting there isn’t.
I want to share with you a few of the things I went through to ensure that you do not feel alone as you go through them:
1) Strong belief that “Everything will be OK” overpowered by “What if I never make it?”
If you have been in business long enough, you certainly know that no great success lasts forever and no bad luck sticks around for good. Everything great eventually ends and everything bad eventually passes, but the whole goal is to capitalize on the great and survive the bad.
You will have times when a few days go by without much traction and you start questioning if all the sacrifices you’ve made or things you’ve decided made sense or if you will ever even make it. Doubt and judgment will clutter your head and prevent you from being at peace. At this point people experience so much doubt, re-enforced by society’s need to alienate them for choosing a path less traveled, that they eventually give up and go home empty handed.
However, you have to remember that it is not a question of if, but when. As long as you can survive and fight, you will eventually get there.
2) The fear of sacrificing for nothing.
What if all the sacrifices you made in both your personal and financial life were never actually worth it? What if you failed and gave up everything for it? The fear of failure is real and very much alive no matter how much money you have. The difference is its impact on your life and your ability to survive.
Once you have gone down this path a few times, you no longer wonder what happens if you fail as you no longer believe failure is real. Every aspect of what you do is a learning experience setting you up for what’s next. I no longer worry about investing time in projects even if nothing comes out of them, as I now know that what I learn along the way will be used for something else later even if at that moment nothing really happened.
3) You are alone and you will remain alone in the hardest parts of the journey.
While there will be plenty of people willing to help – especially after you succeed – there will be very few who will genuinely want to help you because of your cause rather than the money that comes with it. This will frustrate you when people ignore you, and even those you look up to may turn you down.
At first, you may not understand that and it will be very clear that you will want to help everyone once you become large enough. However, what you will learn is that it’s not that people don’t like you, it’s that there are millions of you and very few of them (eventually you too) meaning that everyone who is starting wants help, and 99% don’t last long enough to be noticed and receive it.
When I first started Secret Entourage I couldn’t understand why a larger website wouldn’t want to feature us or cross-collaborate. Later I learned that this world is filled with millions of blogs that come and go, and that many won’t even consider you real until you stick around for 3-5 years, and then, and only then, will they consider a cross-collaboration with your brand. This is normal, and once you get there you will realize why you must do the same. It’s important not to allow this to slow you down.
4) The mental stress.
The mental stress is real and it doesn’t get better – especially not on your first venture. Everything is a big deal and everything consumes you while it’s up in the air unresolved. That is a very common issue when you are new to self-employment or entrepreneurship.
While it wasn’t so much an issue for me because of my business experience, it is a huge issue for many who start. What will help that feeling stabilize is the ability to create processes and rules you can follow to ensure everything gets done a in a particular way, creating more stability, and therefore eliminating the need to attend to business 24/7.
So there you have it, a few things to remember that every entrepreneur goes through early on, and things that many people cannot survive therefore give up on. Don’t give up, and remember that nothing incredible is achieved overnight. In order to better succeed you are going to have to become your very own best.